Welcome Author Claudia Mills – Giveaway Alert

Today’s guest is both a wonderful writer and a very dear friend. I met Claudia at a local Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators (SCBWI) when I was new to Colorado. To be honest, didn’t have many friends at the time, so when Claudia was introduced as the guest speaker and called ‘someone anyone would be lucky to call friend,’ my heart was hopeful. Well, I am lucky, because since that time we’ve become very good friends indeed. Claudia has generously offered to give the first three books in her series AFTER-SCHOOL SUPERSTARS to one lucky winner. Comment on the blog to be entered to win and Retweet and share on Facebook for more chances.

What were you like at the age of your target audience?
The After-School Superstars series is targeted to third-grade-ish readers. When I was that age, I loved school. I really, truly did. I loved school so much that I even crossed off the days of summer vacation until school would start again in September. It wasn’t so much that I loved learning, though I did and still do (I grew up to have a day job as a philosophy professor, after all). I loved all the side adventures of school: intense friendships, comic misbehavior, field trips (ooh!), and recess play. With the last name of Mills, I acquired the nickname, inspired by the cereal company, of General Mills, so I created my own playground army with only one other member, my friend Kimmie, who had to serve as private under my command for my planned skirmishes with the boys. I loved it all! As a result I have published dozens of school stories, so many that I decided it was time, with this new series, to branch out to after-school stories, set in an after-school program of my own invention that offers much of what I loved about school, (minus tests and grades!).

An adorable Claudia Mills in third grade

What inspires you?

In crafting stories, I am inspired so heavily by memories of my own intensely remembered childhood experiences: a best friend who betrayed me by liking someone else better (the seed of Nixie Ness, Cooking Star); fears of disappointing my mother’s expectations of me (the seed of Vera Vance, Comics Star); irritation when my one-year-younger-than-me sister “copied” me in any way (the seed of Lucy Lopez, Coding Star). I remember these feelings as if they happened yesterday and write to find my own way of working through them decades later.

What is something you hope your readers take away from reading your books?

Of course, first and foremost I hope young readers just have fun vicariously engaging in the after-school camp activities I’ve created: cooking and baking, making their own comic books, and exploring the challenges of computer coding. But I always hope they will learn some small-but-important truth about the world, and about themselves. I share only truths that I myself had to struggle to learn: that it’s all right to have more than one “best” friend (Nixie Ness); that it’s worth it to try to find a way to help others understand what you love and why you love it (Vera Vance); or that you are allowed to love what you love even if someone else (such as a bossy big sister!) thinks she has first claim on loving it (Lucy Lopez). 

What can we look forward to next?

I’m excited that the fourth and final After-School Superstars book comes out in August of this year: Boogie Bass, Sign Language Star. But I’m REALLY excited that after publishing several chapter book series over the past decade (including Franklin School Friends, the Nora Notebooks, and now After-School Superstars), I ventured into completely new territory for me by trying the literary form of the verse novel. My first verse novel – The Lost Language – will be published this October by Holiday House. I have fallen head over heels in love with learning how to write verse novels! So I guess, like my childhood self, I do still love learning new things. 

Claudia can be reached at: Twitter:  @claudia_cmills Facebook: Claudia Mills

Instagram: claudiamillsauthor Website: claudiamillsauthor.com

Published by authorlaurablog

I'm a reading specialist from Chicago, now living in the beauty of the Roosevelt National Forest in the Rocky Mountains of Colorado. My first book "Aliana Reaches for the Moon" features a creative and curious girl who loves science, her little brother, and her very patient parents. I'm currently writing a MG novel and several picture books with STEM elements and dogs.

43 thoughts on “Welcome Author Claudia Mills – Giveaway Alert

  1. Wow! This is an inspiring post. I love books for third graders and have just begun venturing into the world of writing for them. I can’t wait to get my hands on your wonderful chapter books to use as mentor texts and as fun reading for my third grade grandson. Oh, and for me too because who doesn’t love a good book? Congrats on your novel in verse! Thanks for a wonderful interview.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Ellen, thank you for reading! Yes, these 3 books are excellent mentor texts for writing for this age group. They’re a masterclass in finding the little things that matter the most to this age group. Good luck in the giveaway and thanks for sharing on Facebook!

      Like

    2. Thanks so much, Ellen! I’m cheering you as you embark on the adventure of writing for this age group. My two granddaughters are in first grade and preschool, but I’m eager to be able to lure them into chapter books!

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Always heartwarming to read about Claudia and her work — I’ve read the first 3 in the series! SO MUCH FUN!!! Can’t wait to read her novel in verse.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks so much, Jolene! I just checked out your Goodreads page and ADORE the idea of book with guinea pigs named Mac and Cheese!!!! Best guinea pig names ever!

      Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks, Susan. I may have exaggerated my tendency to dive into new things: the verse novel was my first new thing in LONG time. But I did love writing it so!

      Liked by 1 person

  3. I was fortunate enough to hear Claudia speak at the fall SCBWI conference a few years ago. She was so motivating. I love the “endearing” characters she creates.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Great interview. Thank you Laura! And also thank you Claudia. I loved the line, ” I share only truths that I myself had to struggle to learn.” I will carry that with me as new little nugget of wisdom:)

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks, Stan. There are so many fabulous children’s book creators here in our Rocky Mountain chapter that we all can only do what we can to keep up with their astonishing output! I loved your interview on Laura’s blog, too!

      Liked by 1 person

  5. I can relate to loving school so much that I had my mom buy me workbooks to complete over the summer. I loved that sense of accomplishment. I have read several times that we should write about what we know and what we have experienced. Thanks again for that reminder. And best wishes on your new endeavor! Trying new things brings so much delight.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. It sounds like we are kindred spirits, we school lovers! I have a lot of brilliant, brainy, amazing friends who say they hated school, all of it, mostly middle school and high school, but elementary school, too. But I loved it all. I really did. And I can tell you did, too. Shush! This can be our shared secret!

      Like

  6. Childhood or school days are always exciting and unforgettable to everyone. It was like a back to school feeling when I read your post. Mam truly it is amazing as memories of those days came into my mind. Also the friendship we have those days is everlasting. I wish All The Best for your new edition mam. Thank you.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks so much for reading and taking the time to post a comment! I’m with you in cherishing those childhood friendships even now fifty years later!

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Thank you Mam , I have also started a new blog site koloursoflife.in , please visit my site and put your comments and support.

        Like

    1. Thanks for reading, Melissa. I’m a big fan of this series and can’t wait for the fourth one!
      Also, today Claudia’s first novel in verse was announced and it will be out in the fall. It’s sure to be fabulous.
      Good luck in the giveaway.

      Like

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