Saturday, May 15, 2021

Author Interview with Liz Braswell

About the Books:


Everyone thinks that Clark is too old to still play with stuffed animals. He's almost eleven! Bullies target him at school while his mother tries increasingly un-subtle ways to wean him off his toys and introduce more "normal" interests. But Clark can't shake the feeling that his stuffed friends are important, even necessary. Sometimes they move around in the night, and sometimes in the morning they look a little worse for wear, as if they've engaged in battle. And it turns out . . . he's right.

Clark's dad is under attack by a nefarious, shadowy monster called a King Derker, and only Clark's stuffies are able to fight him off. The problem is, no one believes Clark, and when his mom attempts to rid the house of stuffed animals to try to get him to grow up, she's actually putting Clark's dad and the entire household in mortal peril. Now it's up to Clark's grandma-made sock animal, Foon, to save the day. Luckily, being handmade by a loved one gives Foon extra battle points, but he's still a brand-new stuffy. Does he have what it takes to rid Clark's house of all its monsters?

Told through both Clark's and Foon's points of view, Stuffed confirms every kid's dream: that stuffed animals do have a life and a purpose, and that sometimes the most unconventional friendships are also the most valuable.

Stuffed Into Darkness:

Clark can’t wait to go away to camp this year. For the first time ever, he has actual friends to hang out with. Catherine-Lucille and D. A. will both be at Camp I Can with Clark, and C. L. has already promised to induct him into her exclusive camp club—the one for campers who know everything there is to know about the world of Monsters and how Stuffies protect kids from them. 

But once Clark gets to camp, he and his friends discover things are off. There are strange, gooey findings in some of the bunks, the adults are acting weird, and, worst of all, their Stuffies and dolls go missing right at the moment they need them the most—when they go on the intersession camping trip and end up trapped in a creepy old cabin. 

About the Author:

She lives in Brooklyn with a husband, two children, a cat, a part-time dog, three fish and five coffee trees she insists will start producing beans any day.

Chatting with Liz:

Did you have a favorite stuffy as a kid (and is that the same stuffy you sleepy with today?)

 Oh I always hate this question!  What if my other Stuffies are listening?  Raccoony was my girl, a strong racoon with (sustainably imagined) sharp teeth who could rip any Monster to shreds.  There was also Duckie, who could change into any other type of bird, and Mousie, who was kind of a wizard.  My mother made Mousie and all of these cute little outfits for her that were kept in a bureau made from matchboxes.  

The Stuffies I sleep with today are mostly my husband, my cat, and occasionally Gorilla, when he falls off the window ledge onto the bed. 

I have one called Honey Bear that's been with my forever. A little worn out with love, but still adorable.

What were your adventures like in the woods with your stuffy? 

Wish I had pictures of my adventures to show you, but I don't think the dragons and unicorns (and vampires) show up on film.  We would catch (real) frogs, build little dams in the stream, and save magical kingdoms from shadowy evildoers.  I had this one climbing tree that was tall enough so that balanced precariously at the top I could see far away hills in the sunset; I always imagined if I could climb just a little bit higher I'd be able to see dragons gliding along the horizon.

Sounds like a lot of fun!

I love this book idea - how did you come up with it? (Is it based on your childhood adventures)

When I was little I used to sleep with all my stuffed animals on either side of me, facing away from me so they could see the Monsters coming.  This was just reality and not anything I felt like I made up.  

Many years later when I was working in the video game industry I had an idea for a game in which you played a stuffed animal who had to defend his Boy at night...then I re-conceived it as a graphic novel, and finally it lives where it belongs: as a book.  The first Stuffed took over twenty years in the making!

What are your favorite and least favorite parts about summer camp?

My favorite parts of summer camp are living in the woods, archery, and canoeing.  My least favorite parts are the food and the occasional bully (see: Kris, in Into Darkness).

Are there more books in this series? And if not, what are you working on now...

There is so much left to explore in the world of Stuffies (and Darkness).  Can't reveal anything yet, but along with continuing Foon and Clark's adventures there are other tales to tell, starring other kids and other Monsters...Plus I address the very important question: Where do cats fit in?  They can be sort of like Stuffies, right?  And they often see things that aren't there...

I am also finishing up copy edits for What Once Was Mine, a retelling of the movie Tangled for Disney's Twisted Tales series. And writing a short story for a secret Disney book. Um, and finishing up the first book in a new midgrade series.

Whew, having just read that I think I'm gonna need a bigger cup of coffee.  Much bigger.

That does sounds like you're very busy!

No comments: