Monday, July 26, 2010

Featured Blog: Rose Cooper Talks About From the Mixed Up Files...of Middle Grade Authors

There seem to be a ton of blogs out there run by groups of young adult authors, but not much in the way of blogs which focus on the wonderful world of middle grade. In early June that all changed with the inception of FROM THE MIXED-UP FILES...OF MIDDLE-GRADE AUTHORS.

MIXED UP FILES "is the group blog of middle-grade authors celebrating books for middle-grade readers. For anyone with a passion for children’s literature--teachers, librarians, parents, kids, writers, industry professionals."

Debut author Rose Cooper is one of the 30 plus voices behind the blog. Here she talks about their philosophy, keeping things organized, what they post, why she signed on, and why she writes for the MG crowd. 

How did MIXED UP FILES come about? How did all these middle-grade authors get together? Why a blog focusing on MG?

Elissa Cruz is the brilliant brain behind MIXED UP FILES. She told me that, as a blogger and MG author, she felt alienated in a world of YA and she longed for a group of like-minded bloggers. It took her nearly a year of thinking about it before taking the plunge and hoping for the best.

Elissa put a call out on her blog and started a thread on Verla Kay's message boards asking for a few who might want to join her. Only expecting a few responses, she had more than 30 people wanting sign on in less than a week. Elissa is not one to shy away from a challenge so she took all offers and thought bigger. It was at that point she realized "something magical was happening."

What's the mission for the blog? What kind of audience are you hoping to reach?

Our mission is to come together as group blog of middle-grade authors celebrating books for middle-grade readers. We offer regularly updated book lists organized by unique categories, author interviews, market news, and a behind-the-scenes look at the making of a children's book from writing to publishing to promoting. Our audience is for anyone with a passion for children’s literature--teachers, librarians, parents, kids, writers, industry professionals.

How/why did you personally get involved?

A friend from my online critique group, Mindy Weiss, gave me a heads up on what Elissa was planning. She thought I would be a good fit for this new blog since I since I just recently had an MG book deal. I absolutely loved the idea once I heard about it and I wanted to get involved because I felt the same--that not everyone realizes what MG is all about and we need a larger online presence.

There are a lot of you participating in the blog. Is anyone "in charge?" How do you keep things organized?

While Elissa is the backbone, Wendy Martin is in charge of the technical aspects of the site. As far as content goes, it really is a group effort. Each member is in charge of a section of the site as well as their individual posts, so it always runs smoothly. To keep organized we have the forums which help with communication and a calendar that allows us to keep tabs on the rotating topics.

The blog has only been up-and-running for less than two month and you've had posts featuring interviews, new releases, giveaways, even defining the MG reader. What else is in store?

If check out our very first post you can see what our plans include. And it’s a pretty long list! We definitely have something for everyone and you can always count on more contests and giveaways! Currently we are working on a For Kids Page, where the website mascot will be hanging out. In the fall there’s a plan for a special MG giveaway to one lucky school or library. We are always thinking up something bigger, better, or more interesting to share with our readers. We love hearing what readers want to know, so we always take their comments into consideration.

What draws you to writing for the MG audience? Tell me about your upcoming books.

MG is the age I can really relate to, as I remember those in-between years and how difficult and awkward they can be. As you try finding your place in the world, it seems like there's always conflict, drama, and unavoidable situations and I like to draw humor from those. The voice just clicks for me and I’m drawn to it in a way that’s hard to explain.

My debut humor middle-grade series, GOSSIP FROM THE GIRLS' ROOM, A BLOGTASTIC! NOVEL  will be released January 11, 2011 and RUMORS FROM TEH BOYS ROOM, A BLOGTASTIC! NOVEL will be released spring 2012 by Random House. I am lucky enough to be both author and illustrator of these books. You can visit my website for more info on my books at

Can you offer some advice for those writing for the MG audience working toward publication?

Remember who your readers are--you don’t want to sound like an adult writing for tweens. Tap into your inner child and remember what it's like to be in their shoes. The words shouldn't sounds forced or fake. It's also a good idea to spend time around that age group to get an idea of the latest trends and slang.

Lastly, don't give up. It can be a difficult and often frustrating road to publication, but the end is so rewarding. It took me six years of rejections, revisions and pity parties, but you need to remember to believe in yourself and your writing. Without that, you can't have success.


Amie Borst said...

What a fantastic post! It's been a blast to contribute to The Mixed-Up Files with Rose and get to know her better! Thanks for giving our site a shout-out!

Matthew MacNish said...

Great interview! Thanks ladies.

<- New follower. Nice to meet ya!

Natalie Aguirre said...

Great post. I love your blog. As a middle grade aspiring author, I'm so glad you did it. So many of the blogs are focused on YA. Thanks for sharing about your years to publication. It's encouraging as I move closer to querying.