Today I am excited to share my interview with Sylvia Liu who I met at a writing conference in 2018, back when in the good old days when in-person events were the norm and we never could have imagined anything else. Before that, I knew Sylvia as one of the co-founders of KidLit411 which helps promote authors, illustrators, and shares important information regarding publishing. I highly recommend as a writing resource if you aren’t already a subscriber to the weekly newsletter and a member of the Facebook group. Sylvia’s new MG book, MANATEE’S BEST FRIEND, with cover art by Scott Dorman and design by Stephanie Yang, swam into the word last week! I am a big fan of cows and as a child, I was informed that manatees are also called sea cows, so of course, I love them too and cannot wait to read Sylvia’s book!
Sylvia is offering one very lucky winner (US Only) a signed copy of MANATEE’S BEST FRIEND and a bookmark. Comment on the blogpost to enter the giveaway.
What were you like at the age of your target audience?
When I was 10 to 12 years old, I was a quintessential bookworm. I loved reading fantasies and mysteries. I don’t have a photo of myself as a child at that age, but here’s one of my teen reading my book!
What inspires you?
I’m inspired by nature, especially the ocean; my family; and by other authors. Whenever I read books that move or thrill me, I find myself trying to figure out how they did that. So many amazing middle grade debut books have come out the last year and a half: THE VERDIGRIS PAWN (Alysa Wishingrad), A PLACE TO HANG THE MOON (Kate Albus), JOSEPHINE AGAINST THE SEA (Shakirah Bourne), CECE RIOS AND THE DESERT OF SOULS (Kaela Rivera), LUPE WONG WON’T DANCE (Donna Barbra Higuera), ALONE (Megan Freeman), THE LAST SHADOW WARRIOR (Sam Subity), TAKE BACK THE BLOCK (Chrystal Giles), CLUES TO THE UNIVERSE (Christina Li), GLITTER GETS EVERYWHERE (Yvette Clark), EVA EVERGREEN, SEMI-MAGICAL WITCH (Julie Abe), STAND UP YUMI CHUNG (Jessica Kim), THE GILDED GIRL (Alyssa Colman), COO (Kaela Noel), PAWS (Kate Foster), THE CIRCUS OF STOLEN DREAMS (Lorelei Savaryn), and THE TOTAL ECLIPSE OF NESTOR LOPEZ (Adrianna Cuevas). I could go on and on!
What’s something you hope readers take away from your book?
My middle grade book, MANATEE’S BEST FRIEND , just came out from Scholastic on August 3. It’s the story of a 12-year-old girl who overcomes shyness to find her voice to protect manatees in her Florida community. I would love readers to feel empowered to advocate for causes they believe in around their communities. If the book sparks an interest in manatees or dolphins, or ocean conservation, that would be wonderful.
What’s next for you?
I’m very excited about my middle grade science fiction novel, HANA HSU AND THE GHOST CRAB NATION, coming out in June 2022 from Razorbill, set in a high-tech near future. I’m also working on a new middle grade fantasy novel and continuing to help run the kid lit resource website, Kidlit411.
You can learn more about Sylvia and her books by visiting: