Tag Archives: Middle Grade Fiction

Day 13 of the YEAR OF SHADOWS Blog Tour – Double Whammy!

3 Sep

Hi, y’all! I’ll be putting up quick posts every day of the Year of Shadows tour, reminding you where the post is that day and what it’s about. You can see the full tour schedule here.

Also, if you haven’t already, please check out last Tuesday‘s post, in which I thank you for your support of me and The Year of Shadows. In addition, I want to note that the book will NOT be available in Barnes & Noble stores — at least not for a few weeks — so in this post I also tell you where you can find the book if you want to purchase it, and what you can do to support The Year of Shadows in other ways!

Today, the blog tour resumes after the Labor Day holiday with a double whammy – two stops at two fantastic blogs!

First, at From the Mixed-Up Files, author Amie Borst interviews me about The Year of Shadows, with questions geared specifically toward writers, readers, teachers, and parents!

Second, at Nerdy Book Club, I explain why I write books for children — and why I read them, too!

Don’t forget to fill out the Rafflecopter forms at each post for two chances to win a finished hardcover copy of The Year of Shadows from Simon & Schuster!

You can check out previous tour stops here:

  • Friday, August 30 at The Mod Podge Bookshelf: how I named the characters in The Year of Shadows!
  • Thursday, August 29 at Teach Mentor Texts: my virtual mood board for The Year of Shadows!
  • Wednesday, August 28 at Novel Sounds: the final part of my playlist for The Year of Shadows! Plus a review!
  • Monday, August 26 at The Midnight Garden: an interview with my brilliant editor, Zareen Jaffery! (They also posted a beautiful review of the book!)
  • Sunday, August 25 at Unleashing Readers: I discuss the literary elements of setting, characterization, and language in The Year of Shadows — a great post for educators!
  • Saturday, August 24 at Read Now Sleep Later: the second part of my playlist for The Year of Shadows!
  • Friday, August 23 at Cuddlebuggery: an adventurous interview with blogger Steph — inside my brain! (Trust me, it works.)
  • Thursday, August 22 at Foodie Bibliophile in Wanderlust: I talk about my musical past and share clips of me playing my trumpet!
  • Wednesday, August 21 at The Book Cellar: the first part of my playlist for The Year of Shadows!
  • Tuesday, August 20 at Mundie Kids: a character interview with Olivia and Henry!
  • Monday, August 19 at The Book Smugglers: review + guest post “Why I Believe In Ghosts”


Jaime Lannister, hottest man on Game of Thrones* official tour sponsor, approves this message

*With the possible exception of Jorah Mormont, amirite?

I HEART BAND by Michelle Schusterman Cover Reveal Part II: Meet the Illustrator!

4 Jun

Welcome to Day Two of the cover reveal week for Michelle Schusterman’s I HEART BAND!, a new MG series about the thrills and spills, crushes and crises of middle school band geeks.

On Monday, Shannon Messenger featured an interview with Penguin Grosset & Dunlap Designer Mallory Grigg, and be sure to tune in tomorrow for the cover reveal on KidLit Network! Today we get to reveal the illustrator and share some of her amazing work. And the illustrator is…

Genevieve Kote!

genevieve-koteself portrait 2

Genevievself portrait 1e is an illustrator drawing lively ladies, kids and teens from her studio in Quebec, Canada. Her work has appeared in newspapers, parenting and lifestyle magazines, children and tween magazines, puzzles, books, educational manuals and online video games. A few of her clients include Highlights Magazine, American Girl, Nickelodeon Magazine, Today’s Parent, Scholastic, and National Geographic School Publishing.

 Genevieve was nice enough to share some of her work for American Girl with us, as well as answer a few questions about working on the I HEART BAND! series. You can see more of her work on her website and her Tumblr.

Voicing a Dream American Girl

1. Tell us a little bit about your design process. Do you typically go through several revisions or drafts on an illustration?

I illustrate a lot of stories for magazines, and more recently, I’ve started illustrating comics, too. First I read the story, and spot any descriptions of the clothes the characters are wearing or the hair. I am also looking for the dramatic part of the story, the important twists, the emotions the characters are feeling. Sometimes the art director will already have chosen the parts of the story to illustrate.

For each illustration I draw a couple of thumbnails first, and then choose one that I prefer and work on a cleaner/more detailed version to send to the art director. The art director then tells me the changes needed on the sketch. If the changes are small I will go straight to final, making the changes then, but if the changes are more intensive I will send a revised sketch. When the sketch is approved I work on the final in Photoshop.

An Unlucky Halloween American Girl

2. You have a lot of experience with illustrating books, manuals, and magazines for kids. What and/or who inspires your particular style?

I am inspired by so many artists and styles! I love vintage kids book illustrations, animation art books (The Art of Tangled, The Art of How to Train Your Dragon…), and the comic series Monster Allergy. When searching clothes for the characters I like browsing the J. Crew kids website. Probably the best way to see my inspirations would be to visit my Pinterest page.
Character Study Holiday Hijinks
3. What has been the most fun/challenging part of illustrating the covers for the I HEART BAND! series so far?

I loved reading the story – I think Holly is a very interesting, nonconventional girl. The fun part for me is always drawing the main character! This was a bit different than the illustrations I usually do. The designer, Mallory Grigg, had the whole cover designed, including rough sketches of the items needed and Holly’s posture, etc. So my work was mostly to develop Holly’s design and draw the different objects in my style.

Holiday Hijinks American Girl

Thanks Genevieve, and thanks so much to Claire for hosting this interview!



Michelle Schusterman is a former band director and forever band geek, starting back in the sixth grade when she first picked up a pair of drumsticks. Now she writes books, screenplays, and music in New York City, where she lives with her husband (and band mate) and their chocolate lab (who is more of a vocalist). Her debut series, I HEART BAND!, will be released on January 9th, 2014, including both the first and second books (FRIENDS, FUGUES, AND FORTUNES COOKIES).

New Story at the Cabinet of Curiosities!

4 Apr

Just a quick note to let you know that yesterday I posted a new story at the Cabinet of Curiosities! It’s called “Quicksilver and the Stranger,” and it is my response to the theme this month at the Cabinet: tricks.

And for anyone who might need a reminder, the Cabinet of Curiosities is a site run by myself and three other middle grade authors: Stefan Bachmann (The Peculiar), Katherine Catmull (Summer and Bird), and Emma Trevayne (the upcoming Gearwing). Once a week, one of us posts a dark middle grade short story inspired by that month’s theme.

We’ve had a lot of fun with it so far, and hope you do too! Head on over and check out my story, if you’d like — and then catch up with the other stories, if you haven’t already done so! After all, what better way to start off your day than with a healthy helping of the strange and creepy?

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