As soon as I learned about THE KATE IN BETWEEN by Claire Swinarski, I had to feature it, even though it doesn’t come out until May 18th! Have a look:
Kate McAllister is desperate for a change. Something to hit refresh and erase the pain of her mother leaving town without her. So when a group of popular girls folds Kate into their clique, it feels like the answer to all her problems—even if it means ditching Haddie, her childhood bestie.
But when Kate’s new friends decide that Haddie is their next target, Kate becomes a passive participant in a cruel incident that could have killed Haddie…had Kate not stepped in, at the last minute, and saved her. The next day, a cell phone video of the rescue goes viral, and Kate is hailed a hero. But Kate knows the truth—she was part of the problem—and it’s only a matter of time until the full version of the video is released and everyone knows it too.
With so much at stake, Kate must decide who she wants to be: a liar, a follower, or someone greater.
Do you think Wisconsin has the best cheese? Why or why not?
100%. America leads the world in cheese production and Wisconsin leads America, so… 😉 When I signed my first book deal, I sent my agent a huge box of Wisconsin cheese! That being said, I’m hoping to travel to France this year for the first time, so I’ll give the Frenchies their shot at wowing my dairy-loving palate.
And now I’m craving cheese! I love how THE KATE IN BETWEEN takes an inside look at bullying from a bystander’s point of view. What do you hope readers glean from Kate’s story?
A few things. First of all, I wrote THE KATE IN BETWEEN with today’s teens in mind, especially after chatting with a few of my babysitters about how tech and social media are so often used as weapons in middle school. So much of the mean-girl attitudes we dealt with in person are now being dealt with over apps and vlogs. I’m a firm believer that kids really, really, really don’t need to spend as much time on social media as they are, and hopefully the book reminds them that things online aren’t always what they seem! It was also important to me to stay away from stereotypical archetypes like The Bully, The Bulliying Victim, etc. People are so much more complicated than we want them to be, and especially when we’re talking about kids. No 12-year-old is pure evil. In fact, “the bully” is one of my favorite characters in the book! Lastly, I really hope kids take away the idea of doing what’s right even when it’s lonely. It’s *hard* to go against the grain. It’s *hard* to speak up. But it’s essential to becoming who you’re meant to be.
Very well said! In addition to being an author, you are also a podcaster. What inspired you to join the world of podcasting, and can you tell us more about your newest podcast, “Making a Middle Grade”?
I was a full-time podcaster for four years, and absolutely loved it. It was my dream job in so many ways. So when I was brainstorming ways to market my first novel, WHAT HAPPENS NEXT, I knew I wanted to create some type of podcast about it. I’m from small town Wisconsin where *nobody* understands the publishing world. I don’t have a wide network of industry friends. So MAKING A MIDDLE GRADE is a miniseries that’s meant to help people understand how a book goes from an idea to a bookshelf. It walks listeners through getting an agent, working with an editor, how book covers are made, how much marketing work is dependent on the author–pretty much every single step of the road to publication! I got to interview other phenomenal authors, my agent, school librarians, and more. It was a blast to create.
I’ll bet! What are some of your current projects?
I’ve been dipping my toe into the world of ghostwriting, which has been a lot of fun! I was hoping to find some more “steady” writing work and was able to land a middle grade series that’s been delightful to work on. I’m also working on another middle grade novel under my own name–hopefully I’ll have more info to share on that soon! 😉