Created January 26, 2024 by Tanja Bauerle
SCBWI AZ E&I AUTHOR SPOTLIGHT
Fast Five Interview Questions:
What is one thing we should know about you that's not in your bio?
Many, many moons ago I was a spoken-word poet. I opened locally for some incredible performers including Malcolm-Jamal Warner, Jessica Care Moore, Sheryl Lee Ralph, and Talaam Acey.
What should we know that will make us want to run out and get our hands on a copy of your book?
This story takes a popular trope (magic schools!) and explores it from a completely different angle than we're used to seeing. The idea of "broken" magic is explored and hopefully gives young readers another lens through which to view how our society interacts with tech and the environment. Lastly, Keynan is an absolutely hilarious kid and I think any readers who love to laugh will bond with him, even when he's doing the most.
What is one thing you learned/discovered about your writing process or the publishing industry while you worked on this book?
Establishing a solid life rhythm was key for me weathering the ups and downs of the industry. My debut year was wild. Building in time to defrag and cool down my brain after a deadline push--those good habits sustained me when it felt like everything was due all at once. And somehow it's always all due in the same week.
If you live in a scene in your story, what moment would that be and why?
When Keynan first has a realization about his poetry--that scene definitely lives rent-free in my head. It's such a singular moment for his character (hard to say more without spoilers!) and changes everything he thinks he knows about the Peerless Academy.
Finish this sentence: I could never have written this book had it not been for...
My village! So many people, fellow authors, and family helped me see this story through. I wouldn't have even dipped my toe in the middle-grade water without some very special peers in my life, and my own twins (currently nine years old) are a constant source of inspiration. The entire team at Inkyard (whom I miss so dearly) was a dream, and I couldn't imagine the process without the care and love they wrapped around this project.