March 5, 2012

March of Middle Grade Author Interview: Trudi Truet

Today I have the pleasure of welcoming Trudi Truet to The O.W.L. 

Trudi is the author of the Julep O’Toole middle grade series (Penguin), the Secrets of a Lab Rat middle grade series (Aladdin), a whole bunch of middle grade nonfiction (75 books), and the tween novel, Stealing Popular (Aladdin) coming Fall of 2012.

A bit about the Julep O'Toole series
Confessions of a Middle Child
Stuck between her colorful siblings like egg salad on pumpernickel— which, by the way, you should never eat right before PE class—Julep feels squashed and invisible. Then the most popular girl at school invites her to the biggest party of the year. Julep can hardly believe it. Finally, her chance to see and be seen! But a disastrous event forces her to choose between the popular girl she longs to be and the plain old middle child others need her to be. . . .Will Julep get her chance to shine, or is she doomed to be Invisible Girl forever?
Trudi Trueit introduces an endearing new character whose hilarious hijinks, snappy dialogue, and inner angst are sure to win hearts everywhere.
And also Stealing Popular

Tired of the popular kids at her middle school getting all the breaks, twelve-year old Coco Sherwood is on a mission to steal from the fabulous and give to the freaks. Suddenly, girls who rarely get noticed are making cheer squad and morphing into beauty queens. But when Coco takes on Dijon Randle, the most popular girl at school, her quest to fulfill the dreams of others just might turn into the biggest nightmare of her life! Can Coco get away with Stealing Popular, or will the high and mighty win again?

Now for the interview! Welcome Trudi!!! 

Thank you so much for agreeing to be interviewed on The O.W.L. My pleasure!

One Answer Questions

Point of View: 1st or 3rd - First 
Boy or Girl main character – Girl
Genre - Reality
More boy or girl book (stereotypically) Girl, but I love writing for boys, too.

The Serious Questions!

Why MG instead of any other age level?
I have vivid memories of the turbulence of middle school, like the crush that didn’t know I existed or the Mt. Krakatoa-sized pimple that chose photo day to explode from my chin. You are at the top of your game one minute, and in the depths of despair the next. It’s the time in your life when you are figuring out the world, and trying to find your place in it. You are becoming an adult. I guess it’s that ‘becoming’ that fascinates me so much. In middle school you make choices about the kind of person you want to be and what you want to do with your life. The possibilities are endless, and all of them make for extraordinary fiction.

For you MG novels what part are you most excited about? What part do you think they'll enjoy reading the most or was the most fun to write?
My upcoming novel is called Stealing Popular (Aladdin). The story is about Coco Sherwood, an eighth grader, who gets frustrated at seeing the popular kids get all the fame and glory, so she decides to steal from the popular and give to the misfits. She’s a modern-day, middle school Robin Hood. I love championing the underdog! At one point in the book, one of the outcast girls, named Renata, asks Coco, “What’s wrong with me? Why don’t people like me?” That was my favorite part to write, yet it was also challenging, too. Because the truth is, that nothing is wrong with Renata. She is just different, and in middle school, different is the kiss of death. The best that Coco can do is say, “I’ll be your friend.” And once Renata realizes she has someone she can count on, her whole outlook changes. Her changes on the inside spur changes on the outside. I think readers might enjoy it when Renata shows up to school with a make-over and the mean girls are completely stunned! The book will be out this September so I hope your readers will check it out.

When you were in middle school kind of student were you? 

Picture a 7th grader with enormous tortoise-shell plastic glasses and thick, curly hair lugging a clarinet, an alto saxophone, and a colossal backpack. That was me. I wasn’t popular but I was a good student, and had a strong core group of friends. We supported and loved each other through the trials and tribulations of school. Everyone needs that.

Did you write then? Did you read?
Absolutely! I started writing stories and plays in the fourth grade and I always had my head in a book. I decided in middle school that I wanted to be a journalist, and I did grow up to be a TV news reporter. See what I mean about possibilities?

And because it's the owl my standard question always is: WHOOO do you admire when it comes to writing? OR WHOOO do you like to read or really enjoyed in HS or middle school?
As a child, I adored E.L. Konigsburg’s books. Beverly Cleary, Lois Lowry, Richard Bach, and Judy Blume were all favorites. Now, I like Barbara Dee and Mary E. Pearson.

The Fun Questions! (based on what 7th graders do!)
Do you chew gum? Yes! My favorite is watermelon Bubbleyum.

Do you text? Yes, but I’m really slow. It would be faster for me just to walk to your house and chat with you then to text you.

Was school lunch just as yucky then as it is now?! Oh, yeah! Probably worse. If you didn’t want to eat the runny sloppy Joes and lumpy mashed potatoes, the ‘healthy’ option was oily sausage pizza. If you tipped your slice of pizza the wrong way you’d end up with a lapful of grease! Seriously.

Thank you so much Trudi!  I love what you said about writing Stealing Popular and how being different can be the kiss of death in middle school.  I see that a lot and applaud the kids that stand up and just don't care and still be who they are!

If you want to know more about Trudi and her books check out her website.


  1. Thanks for drawing my attention to this author - I haven't read any of her books, but I'm going to now!

  2. Awesome interview. Stealing popular sounds so good. I love the idea of a middle grade Robin Hood and all that it sounds like Coco learns about herself.

  3. Great interview! I was unfamiliar with her and her works, but I will definitely be making a trip to the library to check her out now!

  4. Do you know the Interview Wednesday meme? It's a collection of links to interviews in the realm of Children's literature. I am the host for tomorrow's. Would you mind if I included a link to this interview? This book looks great and the author is really engaging.