Today, we are delighted to have YA and MG author Shelli Johannes with us for an interview and giveaway of her new MG novel ON THE BRIGHT SIDE.
PM: Welcome Shelli! Would you tell us a little bit about ON THE BRIGHT SIDE?
Shelli: Gabby is a disgruntled tween angel who has just been assigned to protect her school nemesis and ex-beffie. Problem is her ex-beffie is dating Gabby's longtime crush. Instead of protecting Angela, Gabby pranks her (since when is sticking toilet paper to her shoe or spinach in hr teeth a sin?) Soon, Gabby gets out of control and is put on probation by her SKYAgent, who has anger management issues of his own. Determined to right her wrongs, Gabby steals an ancient artifact that allows her to return to Earth for just one day. Without knowing, she kicks off a series of events and learns what can happen when you hate someone to death.
PM: Gabby sounds like such a quirky and fun character! We'd love to know more about her.
Shelli: Gabby is a disgruntled Bright (aka guardian angel) who is not happy being dead. Not only is she cursed to wearing her white fat pants for eternity, but she has also been assigned to cover her frenemy and fencing rivalry, Angela. To make matters worse, Angela is now dating her was-supposed-to-be boyfriend.
Can you imagine? I would say Gabby is grumpy and brutally honest. She is not what you would expect an angel to be and struggles with her mischievous side
in a world with a billion angels. She has always watched her weight, so let me just say she is not happy to find out that Brights only eat Angel Food Cake and Angel Hair Pasta. The carbs alone would kill her (if she weren't already dead). ;) She loves to prank and when no one can see you - do you blame her?
PM: Cake and pasta for every meal sounds pretty heavenly to me - haha! In middle-grade novels, finding the right tween voice can be challenging. Did you call upon your own experience as a tween when you were writing ON THE BRIGHT SIDE?
Shelli: I was just like Gabby. Bad, right? I was kinda grumpy - partly wanting to be
on my own and for my parents to let me be, yet still kinda wanted them to take care of me. I have always been snarky, so Gabby is my inner tween. I even had a pair of white fat pants my mom would make me wear to special occasions (because all I had besides them were jeans.) So for Gabby, I pulled on myself. In addition, I think I had to learn the
lessons Gabby did. Only I wish I had learned them at fourteen instead of thirty. :)
PM: This makes me want to see a school photo of tween Shelli - ha! Pretty please? ;) The tween years can be equal parts wonderful and horrible. What drew you to writing for this audience?
I decided to do ON THE BRIGHT SIDE as a tween/middle-grade book because first - I wanted to have a funny book about death (I know, sick, right?), and I don't think funny death works in the dark YA realm today. Also, I don't there are enough fun books for tween readers. Thirteen and fourteen-year-olds don't necessarily want to be in the kids' section anymore, but their parents think they are too young for the books and issues discussed in YA material. So I wanted to write a fun, cute adventure for those readers.
PM: Well, here at Project Mayhem, we're also big fans of middle-grade readers, so we love hearing about authors trying to write stories for that sweet spot between children's and YA. We're thrilled that ON THE BRIGHT SIDE will be finding its way into the hands of eager readers in the next few weeks. To get your paws on a copy, pop on over to Amazon or Barnes & Noble for the Kindle E-book, and the paperback version will be available in February.
Thanks so much for joining us today, Shelli!
For an entry into the ON THE BRIGHT SIDE giveaway, please follow Project Mayhem and leave a comment below telling us your favorite MG comedy! The giveaway will run through midnight EST on 2/6. We'll choose a winner through random.org, and then the winners will be posted on 2/7. Good luck!
S.R. Johannes is the author of UNTRACEABLE (a teen wilderness thriller) and ON THE BRIGHT SIDE (a tween paranormal). She lives in Atlanta Georgia with her dog, British-accented husband, and the huge imaginations of their little prince and princess, which she hopes - someday -w ill change the world. After earning an MBA and working in corporate America, S.R. Johannes traded in her expensive suits, high heels, and corporate lingo for a family, flip-flops, and her love of writing.