Today I am sharing my interview with PJ McIlvaine who writes picture books, middle grade, and young adult. We met in our picture book debut group in 2019 and since that time, PJ has been hard at work creating middle grade fiction that I’m excited to share with all of you. Her recent book, VIOLET YORKE, GILDED GIRL GHOSTS IN THE CLOSET set in New York combines historical fiction, mystery, and ghosts! Did I mention the Titanic? What’s not to love? PJ is generously offering one lucky winner a paperback copy of VIOLET YORKE, GILDED GIRL GHOSTS IN THE CLOSET and a picture book, query, or first chapter critique. Comment on the blogpost to enter the giveaway.
What were you like at the age of your target audience?
I was a voracious reader as a child. I was raised primarily by my grandparents and luckily they subscribed to Readers Digest Condensed Books, which I read from cover to cover. And during summer vacation, my grandfather would take me to the local library and I checked out dozens of books. I had a vivid imagination even then, but I was also shy and lonely and teased mercilessly by school bullies. So reading was my escape.
What inspires you?
Anything and everything. Watching movies and TV, listening to music, social media, other books, newspaper articles, my family, and the catch-all “things”. A passing comment, a look at the grocery store, a fleeting moment–in other words, life.
What’s something you hope readers take away from your book?
I hope readers empathize with my poor little rich girl, Violet Yorke. Yes, she’s rich, but being rich has been a curse. And being able to see ghosts is only the tip of the iceberg. Even though Violet existed in a much different age, her problems and dilemmas are universal. She could easily be in 2022. And doesn’t everyone love a rebellious orphan with tons of mysteries to solve?
What’s next for you?
Currently I’m juggling multiple books in several genres while trying to write as much as I can while looking after my grandchildren who are on summer vacation. I’m also knee-deep in the querying process and waiting on agents and publishers. Come the fall and winter, I’ll be laser-focused on revisions for my upcoming debut Young Adult alternate history adventure THE CONUNDRUM OF CHARLEMAGNE CROSSE (Orange Blossom Publishing, September 2023.) I’m very excited about that! And I also have four picture books slated for publication (hopefully) in 2023-2024. So lots going on!
To learn more about PJ and her writing: