I got acquainted with Niki Lenz and her books through a Facebook group we are a part of. Her newest Middle Grade book, THE STEPMOM SHAKE-UP is due out on June 16. Have a look:



After Grace’s mom died, she and her dad grew extra close. They have special nicknames and are always busy with new projects-like building a puppy condo for their dog, Potus- and they love learning random facts about the US presidents. Grace thinks her little family of two is perfect.

Then some committee members at church suggest it’s time for Dad to start dating again. And Dad agrees! Grace knows that adding a new member to the team will end in disaster.

No problem! She and her best friend have a plan: Operation Stepmoom Shake-Up! But what if a little shake-up is exactly what Grace’s family needs?


How did you figure out that you are a hardcore Ravenclaw?

Wit beyond measure is man’s greatest treasure and nobody is wittier than me telling jokes to myself! Ha. At the heart of a true Ravenclaw is a love a books and learning and deep felt belief that you are truly smarter than most of the people around you. And have you ever wondered if Hermione would have normally been a Ravenclaw, but the Sorting Hat knew that Harry would need help since he is rather dim at times, so he put her in Gryffindor for that reason? Anyone else?


That’s definitely a fair point! I watched the book trailer for THE STEPMOM SHAKE-UP and it was fabulous! What recommendations, if any, do you have for authors looking to have book trailers?

Well if you find yourself, like me, lacking the extra cash it costs to have one made for you, my advice would be to learn how to make one yourself. I just googled “How to make a book trailer for free.” There are lots of options out there. I was able to just use a template, plug in some stock photos, and write the text. I think it’s a great way to give people a taste of your book in a short, visual way.


Fabulous! And I love the premise of your other book, BERNICE BUTTMAN, MODEL CITIZEN. How did you know that Bernice, a bully, needed her own story?

I wanted to write a main character that didn’t sound like any other middle grade character that I’d heard before. That was the first thought that sparked this book. So I wondered what it would be like to write from a typical antagonist’s point of view. Bernice came to me fully formed after that. She was based somewhat on a student I’d had back when I taught kindergarten. She does what she wants and doesn’t slow down to ask the author’s permission, that’s for sure.


Sometimes those kinds of characters are the most fun to write! What are some of your current projects?

I am always working on different projects in various stages of “doneness.” My agent is reading a few new middle grade manuscripts I’ve sent her, and I am on submission with a picture book project. I have an idea for a brand new shiny and also two other drafted manuscripts I need to get around to editing. I also had a lot of fun filming some writer’s workshop videos for teachers to use with their classes while distance learning (available on my website). It was really fun to see the response to that, and to hear from so many students and teachers who were writing along with me.

Buy: Bookpassage ~ Amazon ~ Barnes & Noble ~ Indiebound



Buy: Bookpassage ~ Amazon ~ Barnes & Noble ~ Indiebound

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