Friday, January 23, 2009

Enchanting Interview: Leslie Margolis

1. What sparked the idea for BOYS ARE DOGS?

My husband and I adopted our dog, Aunt Blanche, from an animal shelter back in 2005. She was four months old and not housebroken and really sick and afraid of everything ¨C including us. I got pretty obsessive when it came to her training and read at least ten books on the subject. So many of them said the same things. And so many of their training methods worked on people, too¡ It seemed like a natural transition.

2. What made you decide to write Middle Grade?

I didn't necessarily set out to write middle grade fiction. When I'm in the early stages of developing ideas I'm not thinking in terms of age group or genre. I just came up with this character and this story and it seemed to fit. Annabelle appeared as a sixth grader, and her story was set in junior high school. The transition was organic and I'm so glad it happened because the junior high school years are such an exciting and dynamic time. There's so much material there.

3. What do you like best about Annabelle?

Annabelle is straightforward, honest, and strong and she's not afraid to speak her mind.

4. Did you have a favorite scene to write?

Yes, the first time Annabelle makes the connection between puppy training and boy training -- when she finds her voice and things start to turn around for her ¨C that moment of recognition was very exciting to write.

5. Did you ever have to deal with any of the same situations Annabelle does?

Sure, junior high school was torture! Like Annabelle, I once got stuck in a lab group with two boys. I wish I'd been able to take control the way Annabelle learns to. I suppose that scene is mostly fantasy with a pinch of revisionist history tossed in.

6. What's next for you?

I just finished Girls Acting Catty, the sequel to Boys Are Dogs. In it, Annabelle has some problems with a group of girls and she finds they're too complex to handle with puppy/boy training techniques. It'll be out in the fall of 2009.
I'm also working on a middle grade novel set in Brooklyn. It's about friendship and aliens.

Interview by Lisa
January 2009

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