Thursday, May 19, 2011

7 Questions For: Author Barbara Dee

Barbara Dee is the author of the tween novels Just Another Day in my Insanely Real Life, Solving Zoe (2010 Bank Street Best Children's Books of the Year), This Is Me From Now OnTrauma Queen, and The (Almost) Perfect Guide To Imperfect Boys

Click here to read my review of Trauma Queen.

She lives with her family in Westchester County, New York. You can visit her on the web at

And now Barbara Dee faces the 7 Questions:

Question Seven: What are your top three favorite books?

Gah. I hate this question! I love so many books—it’s impossible to limit myself to just three! But okay, if you insist: The Catcher in the Rye, Pride and Prejudice, and The Great Gatsby.
Question Six: How much time do you spend each week writing? Reading?
Reading? Another toughie. The truth is, it varies a lot, depending mostly on how many events I’m doing. I’m not the kind of author who can do a school visit, then plop down in front of my computer and write a chapter. When I have a relatively calm week, I’ll write for four or five hours a day, and read for an hour or two. The rest of the time I’m doing author-related stuff, like answering reader emails.
Question Five: What was the path that led you to publication?

I was an English teacher, a lawyer, then a stay-at-home mom of three kids. But I always knew I wanted to write, so when the youngest started full-day kindergarten, I decided to give it a shot!

Question Four: Do you believe writers are born, taught or both? Which was true for you?

Well, I think it’s probably different for everyone, but I wrote my first “book” at age five—you can see it on my website,, and also on (It’s about a naughty boy who had a robot who ate Spanish rice. I think it’s cute—my kids think it’s hilarious!) I took a poetry writing class in college, but that’s the extent of my creative writing education. Most of what I know about writing I've learned by reading!

Question Three: What is your favorite thing about writing? What is your least favorite thing?

The best thing about writing—other than the fact that you’re spending your day in front of your computer, dreaming up characters and playing with words—is that you ‘re connecting with kids. Nothing is better than getting an email from a reader that says, Your book is exactly how I feel—the main character is just like me! Tweens can’t always articulate their emotions, but they’re going through major changes, and it’s so moving to me when I hear that something I've written makes them realize they aren't alone. I also love it when I hear I've made them laugh!!

My least favorite thing? How long the whole process takes.

Question Two: What one bit of wisdom would you impart to an aspiring writer? (feel free to include as many other bits of wisdom as you like)

Get used to reading your work aloud. I know it sounds weird, but your ear will pick up things that your eye won’t. I think this is especially important to do when you’re writing dialogue.
Question One: If you could have lunch with any writer, living or dead, who would it be? Why?
Hmm. I’d like to say Jane Austen, because I’m sure she’d be funny and charming. But I bet she’d have scary-perfect table manners. So I’ll say Charles Dickens, because there wouldn't be any awkward silences, and I’m pretty sure he wouldn't care if I used the wrong fork.


  1. What a fun interview (love the bit about the robot/Spanish rice story!)! Thanks Barbara and MG Ninja :)

  2. Great interview. I always love to meet other lawyers who made the switch to being an author. Thanks.


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