Author Interview & Book Giveaway: Stealing Popular by Trudi Trueit

Welcome to Author Trudi Trueit

Ever since writing, directing and starring in my first play in the fourth grade, I dreamed of a career in writing (I was a bit of an over-achiever). In my life, I’ve been a television news reporter, weather anchor, public relations specialist, and freelance writer. But writing books for children tops them all! Now, I write fiction and non-fiction full-time (when I am not obeying the commands of our cats, Bernadette and Kira).


Please tell us in one sentence only, why we should read your book.

If you’ve ever felt glossed over, trampled on, or under-valued then you’ll cheer on Coco Sherwood in her quest to take from the ‘have-it-alls’ and give to the ‘wanna-bes.’

Can you see yourself in any of your characters?
I see pieces of myself in almost every character I write, even the villains (insert evil laugh here!). I don’t think anyone is ‘all good’ or ‘all bad;’ we all have beauties and faults. I do have more in common with some characters than others, of course, but even the ones that are completely the opposite of me, like Scab McNally in Secrets of a Lab Rat, have snippets of my personality. Scab, a budding inventor, causes plenty of mischief as he creates things like sister repellant spray and parachutes for squirrels , but in the end, he is devoted to his sister and family. I share an indignation over selfishness with Coco Sherwood, my main character in Stealing Popular. It gets under my skin to see one person step on another for their own gain. There is no glory in bringing others down to elevate yourself, which is what Coco comes to discover for herself when she turns the tables on the popular kids. The great thing about being a writer is you can right the wrongs on the page that you can’t always repair in life.

How did you know you should become an author?
For as long as I can remember I have adored storytelling. When I was in the second grade, my teacher, Miss Gustafson, praised one of my ghost stories. However, my handwriting was so poor that she told me I’d have to re-write it before she could post it on the bulletin board for Open House night. I ended up re-writing the story a few times, making plot improvements along the way (my first glimpse into the world of revision!). By the time I was in the fourth grade I knew my destiny was to be a writer. I started writing plays. I cast my friends in the roles and we’d rehearse at recess. My teacher, Mrs. Zielinski, was so encouraging. She let us perform the plays in front of the class and sometimes, we for the whole school. When I saw the audience laughing at lines I had written, I realized words could have a profound effect on people. In my career, I have been a TV news reporter, a freelance writer, and, finally, a children’s author – all are very different jobs, yet all revolve around the one thing I have always loved: storytelling.

Tell us your most rewarding experience since being published.

Any time I get to meet or work with young readers is a delight. I love doing writing workshops with students and watching their imaginations take flight. Teachers and librarians are doing some amazing work inspiring kids to read and write, and I am blown away when I see how creative, articulate, and innovative today’s students are. Virtual author visits are now a regular part of my routine, which is wonderful. In the past, my heavy writing schedule didn’t allow me to visit classes often, but thanks to Skype and Google I can spend a half hour with students 3,000 miles from home and go right back to work when we are done. I’ve Skyped with kids from Albuquerque to Wisconsin to Florida. It’s the next best thing to being there in person!

What is your favorite flavor of ice cream?
Mint chocolate chip, but honestly, if it’s ice cream that’s all I need to know.

Skittles or M&Ms?
M&M’s. I’m a big choco-holic!

If you were a bird, which one would you be?
A Great Blue Heron. I got hooked watching the Cornell University Ornithology Lab’s Heron Nest Bird cam this spring/summer! Herons are graceful, yet strong and resilient. They are also very attentive parents.

What is your favorite Quote?

“There are no shortcuts to anyplace worth going.” – Beverly Sills

Writing is a narrow, difficult road, but the rewards are great. One of those rewards is knowing that you survived the narrow, difficult road!

What’s one piece of advice you would give aspiring authors?

You’ll laugh, but my advice is not to take too much writing advice. It’s wise to learn as much as you can about the craft of writing, but in the end, you need to express yourself in your own way. You don’t need to be flowery or complex. You just need to be honest. Good writing rings clear and true. Just read Charlotte’s Web or Jonathan Livingston Seagull– powerful stories simply and beautifully told.

How do you react to a bad review?
I’ve learned not to let reviews – good or bad – affect me. As a writer, some people will get your work, some won’t. That’s the risk you take when you put your heart out there, but you have no choice. You have to do it!

What is something people would be surprised to know about you?

I’m shy. I took debate in high school to help me feel confident speaking in public. I still get really nervous when I have to give a talk, but I know once I focus on my message and not myself the jitters will go away. I actually used this in Stealing Popular. When Renata, a shy, quirky girl, has to give a speech in class and is terrified, Coco tells her to “just start,” and the butterflies will disappear.

Trubin and Truffles (from my school days).

Finish the sentence- one book I wish I had written is….

Winnie the Pooh by A.A. Milne. Friendship, love, forgiveness, heartache, loss, hope – it’s all there with a silly, old bear.

Favorite quote from a movie?

I am and I will always be the one who loved you without limits.” ~ Steve Martin in Roxanne. It expresses exactly how I feel about my husband, Bill.

I also love when Steve’s character, C.D., runs down the street after the guys on the fire truck yelling, “Boys, the ladder is up. The. Ladder. Is. Up!” My husband and I whisper this to each other whenever we find ourselves in an awkward or difficult situation in public.

Pet Peeves?
Rudeness. We all need to be a little kinder to each other given all that we have to be thankful for.

Any other books in the works? Goals for future projects?

You bet! I have a number of books in various stages of production. Some are just ideas scribbled on scraps of paper, while others have a number of completed draft chapters.  Sometimes, I will pause a project to do more research, mull over a plotline, or backtrack to develop the characters or story a bit more. As for goals, I plan to do more realistic fiction for tweens along the lines of Stealing Popular. I would like to write a good love story for the 11 to 14 age group where the heroine isn’t boy crazy or emotionally unstable. Also, I enjoy the dystopian genre and would enjoy writing a futuristic novel for young readers. I have a few things brewing for elementary-age readers, too. One of them re-teams me with my favorite illustrator, Jim Paillot, who drew my Secrets of a Lab Rat series. I can’t reveal too much, but suffice to say wackiness will ensue.

Stealing Popular

Tired of the popular kids at her middle school getting all the breaks, twelve-year old Coco Sherwood is on a mission to steal from the fabulous and give to the freaks. Suddenly, girls who rarely get noticed are making cheer squad and morphing into beauty queens. But when Coco takes on Dijon Randle, the most popular girl at school, her quest to fulfill the dreams of others just might turn into the biggest nightmare of her life! Can Coco get away with Stealing Popular, or will the high and mighty win again?

Giveaway Details:
1 copy of Stealing Popular
Open to US only
Ends 9/25/12

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