Lisa Schmid author photo

I’ve featured Lisa Schmid before, with her middle grade mystery Ollie Oxley and the Ghost. When I heard the premise of her newest book, HART & SOULS, it pretty much blew me out of the water. The book has an expected release of July 23, 2024 and I can’t wait to read it!


Hart & Souls coverAfter getting bullied at Figueroa Elementary, Stix Hart wants nothing more than to fly below the radar at middle school. He’s heard all the horror stories, but none involved ghosts.

On Stix’s first day of sixth grade, his anxiety is off the charts. It doesn’t help when he spots a kid who reminds him of his old bully, Xander Mack. Soon after, he encounters two other students who take a keen interest in him. He quickly learns the spooky truth—the trio are lost souls in need of a solid. When the ghosts tell him they’ve been stuck in middle school for decades, it’s up to Stix to figure out how to help these not-so-normal new friends.

Solving this paranormal predicament will take some serious sleuthing and a tremendous act of courage. Can Stix solve this mystery and help these spirits move on before it’s too late?


In our last interview, you said, “Folsom is rich with Gold Rush history. It’s the perfect backdrop for my ghost stories. I’m constantly stumbling upon interesting facts or settings that get my creative juices flowing.” In addition to this, what else do you do when your creative juices run dry?

I am a very slow, methodical writer. I always know how a story will begin and end, but I have no clue what will happen in the middle. I work chapter by chapter, figuring out the plot points as I go. It makes for a painful process. I wish I could outline, but I don’t possess that superpower.

As a result, I am often stuck and in need of inspiration. When this happens, I always pick up a book and read. I study other authors’ pacing, transitions, etc. More often than not, ideas spring forth as a result, and it helps me look at my work-in-progress from a different perspective.

My advice to anyone who wants to write . . . . Read. Read. Read. It will make you a better writer.


Definitely agree. I even have a book on hand by my computer in case I get stuck while drafting. As I said, I absolutely love the premise of HART & SOULS. What was most challenging about setting up a world where ghosts have been stuck in middle school for decades?

I had three ghosts from different decades with very different problems to solve. The challenge wasn’t necessarily creating the characters or the world; the real challenge was figuring out how to wrap their stories into the main character’s (Stix’s) arc. They all had to serve a purpose in helping him navigate middle school while working through his anxiety and facing down his past.

In the end, everything came together perfectly. But I must admit, the last ghost (Dante) to crossover was the most complicated puzzle piece to figure out. I didn’t know for sure what his unfinished business was until I wrote the last chapter. And yes . . . I cried.


Ooh, definitely intrigued about Dante! I saw on your website that you are also available for school visits. What kinds of presentations do you do, and how do you accommodate large groups and different ages?

I love school visits. I wish I could bottle kid’s energy. They’re so enthusiastic and joyful.

I typically tailor my presentations after speaking with the school and learning about their goals. If it’s an assembly, I have a PowerPoint that focuses on storytelling and writing what you know. For small groups, like classroom or library visits, I’ll read the first chapter of my book and answer questions.

The smaller sessions are my favorite because I get more of an opportunity to connect with the kids. While writing HART & SOULS, I came to a complete standstill. I was halfway through the book when I lost all motivation.

After visiting a fourth-grade class, I walked away feeling inspired and ready to return to work. The students had read OLLIE OXLEY AND THE GHOST and were excited to meet me and ask questions. It was a great reminder of me of why I write.


Amazing! What are some other new and upcoming middle grade books that you’re excited about?

So many wonderful books are hitting the shelves this year, but three are at the top of my wish list.

WANDER LOST by Laura Martin (6/25/24): I’m a huge Laura Martin fan. GLITCH was an action-packed, time-traveling adventure. I have no doubt I am in for another thrill ride with this book. Who doesn’t love a story where kids can battle bad guys and save the day inside board games?

THE SHERLOCK SOCIETY by James Ponti (9/3/24). I am a HUGE Sherlock Holmes fan. When I saw the title, I immediately contacted my local indie to pre-order. I love a good mystery, and this one checks all the boxes.

NIGHT TRAIN by Lorelei Savaryn (8/20/24) scratches that spooky itch. It has a real SMALL SPACES vibe, which I absolutely loved. I’m obsessed with ghost stories, so this is one I am counting down the days until it arrives. Just in time to get me in the mood for Halloween.





For more about Lisa Schmid and her books, go to

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