Questioning AUTHORity is a weekly blog feature here at Bookish Serendipity involving—you guessed it!—YA and MG author interviews. This week’s featured author is Natalie Standiford, author of multiple MG and YA books (How to Say Goodbye In Robot, Switched at Birthday, and The Secret Tree) Thanks so much to Ms. Standiford for participating!
About The Author:
Natalie Standiford, author of “How to Say Goodbye in Robot,” “Confessions of the Sullivan Sisters,” and the popular “Space Dog” and “Dating Game” series, has written picture books, nonfiction, chapter books, teen novels, and even horror novels for young adults. Standiford also plays bass in the rock band Tiger Beat, with fellow YA authors Libba Bray, Daniel Ehrenhaft, and Barnabas Miller.
Find out more at her web site,
ME: Your new MG novel, Switched At Birthday has such a fun story. Can you tell us about what inspired this novel?
NS: SWITCHED AT BIRTHDAY was inspired by my memories of middle school, especially my sense that, although I seemed like a fairly normal girl on the outside, I was a secret weirdo on the inside, a girl with strange thoughts and odd tastes that I had to hide in order to keep from becoming an outcast. Both Scarlet and Lavender are based on parts of myself.
I also remember envying girls like Scarlet who seemed to have perfect lives; only later, when I got to know them better, did I realize that they had problems of their own.
Another inspiration is, obviously, the great FREAKY FRIDAY by Mary Rodgers, in which a mother and daughter switch bodies. It’s such a fun idea to play with: What if you could find out what someone else’s life is really like, from the inside?
ME: You also recently wrote one of the 39 CLUES books. Can you tell us a little bit about that experience?


 NS: It was a lot of fun and a great challenge. Some wonderful writers have worked on the series, which was a bit daunting, and integrating and absorbing all the books that came before mine was not easy.
I did some research on Mayan culture, which was fascinating. My favorite part was taking those complex Cahill kids, who have grown a lot over the course of the series, and watching them grow even more, delving deeper into their characters while putting them through some pretty tough experiences.
ME:  Where do you like to write? What does your routine look like?
NS: I have a little office in my apartment that I love. Even better, for the past couple of years I’ve spent the summers writing in a room overlooking the ocean. I have to fight the urge to run out to the beach and dive into the water until my work is done for the day. I usually get up around 9 or so, have coffee and something to eat, and start writing until mid-to-late-afternoon.
ME: What advice would you give to teen and aspiring writers? 
NS: Read a lot! And when you start working on a project, don’t give up too easily. There will always come a point when your story or novel looks like it’s not working and will never work, but often that’s just your resistance flaring up.
Try to keep going, push past that, and write at least one full draft of the story before you give up. Read it over and if you still think it won’t work, it might be time to try something new. But write every first draft all the way through to the end. You might be surprised, when you read it later, how much good stuff is in there.
ME:  Can you tell us about any upcoming/ current writing projects?
NS: I’m working on a new middle-grade novel now but it’s too early to say much about it. Sorry! I think it will be out sometime in 2016.
ME: Whatever it is, I’m very excited to read it. Thanks so much to Ms. Standiford for stopping by!

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