Tuesday, May 30, 2017

Author Interview + Giveaway: CALL ME SUNFLOWER by Miriam Spitzer Franklin

Happy Tuesday, bookish friends! I'm hoping you had a chance to recharge during this long weekend, and hopefully get some reading done as well! I know that I did.

Anyway, I'm here today to share with you a fun spotlight on Call Me Sunflower by Miriam Spitzer Franklin! If you follow my bookstagram account, you might have noticed that this book arrived for my review recently. Well, guess what? Now you can read this wonderful book right along with me! Yes, that's right. Not only is Miriam Spitzer Franklin here with an interview, but she's also offering up a gorgeous signed copy of her book for giveaway. Read on friends, because this isn't something that you want to miss!

Sunny Beringer hates her first name—her real first name—Sunflower. And she hates that her mom has suddenly left behind her dad, Scott, and uprooted their family miles away from New Jersey to North Carolina just so she can pursue some fancy degree. Sunny has to live with a grandmother she barely knows, and she’s had to leave her beloved cat and all her friends behind. And no one else seems to think anything is wrong.

So she creates “Sunny Beringer’s Totally Awesome Plan for Romance”—a list of sure-fire ways to make her mom and Scott fall madly in love again, including:

Send Mom flowers from a “Secret Admirer” to make Scott jealous and make him regret letting them move so far away.
Make a playlist of Scott’s favorite love songs—the mushier the better—and make sure it’s always playing in the car.
Ask them about the good old days when they first fell in love.

But while working on a photo album guaranteed to make Mom change her mind and rush them right back home, Sunny discovers a photo—one that changes everything.

Sunny’s family, the people she thought she could trust most in the world, have been keeping an enormous secret from her. And she’ll have to reconcile her family’s past and present, or she’ll lose everything about their future.

I know, I know. Now you desperately want to read this, am I right? Doesn't it seem like the sweetest, most perfect summer read ever? I thought so too.


* If I had to choose one word to describe myself, it would be determined.

* My favorite color is blue.

* I'd describe my "currently reading" bookshelf as mostly MG contemporary with some YA thrown in.

* Diet Coke with lime is something I definitely need while writing. Chocolate is something I need when facing revision letters AND rejections!


What was your favorite part about writing this book? What kind of research did you get to do? 

That's a hard question! I loved the animal rights scenes since it's an issue close to my heart, and I enjoyed the scenes that explored the different relationships between Sunny and her family. Incorporating Odyssey of the Mind themes into the book was fun, too!

As for research, I've participated in many animal advocacy groups over the years and have been to my share of protests so I was able to write those scenes based on my experiences. My daughter has participated in Odyssey of the Mind for the past six years and I've coached the last four years so this was something I knew a lot about. However, I did a search for the actual long term problems from a few years ago because I thought the themes worked in well with my story.


Was there anything that you learned while writing this book that really surprised you?

I was having difficulty getting all the subplots of the book to fit together, and had been advised by some critique partners and potential agents that I needed to streamline the story and downplay the animal rights aspects. My very first draft of this book focused on Sunny and her grandma's fur store and I felt strongly about the issue, so I knew I had to find a better way to incorporate it into the book. So I put the manuscript aside for a while, and like all good inspiration, the solution came to me when I was totally focused on another project. There were definitely times during this journey where I felt I was trying to cover too much, but it was amazing when I figured out the connections and the pieces actually fit together like a jigsaw puzzle!


Were there any moments that made you really emotional while writing them?

The scene with Sunny and her grandmother when they're dealing with the injured cat was definitely an emotional one for me! Also, I have a soft spot for the scenes with Sunny and Scott because I feel they have a really special relationship.


Finally, what would you say to readers who are looking at picking up your books?

My characters aren't perfect and they make plenty of mistakes, but they are full of heart. So if you're looking for books that show real kids trying to navigate the real world which is sometimes messy and unpredictable, full of ups and downs, but always has moments of joy and laughter, then please take a look at CALL ME SUNFLOWER or EXTRAORDINARY!

And if you enjoy my books, please let me know. There's nothing better than receiving a letter or email from one of my readers!


Much love to Miriam for taking the time to answer these questions!

Click here to visit Miriam!
I live in North Carolina with my husband, two daughters, and two cats.

I am thrilled about my debut middle grade, EXTRAORDINARY, finally making its way into the world. It has been a long journey, and I have learned so much every step of the way.

Here’s one important lesson I’ve learned: If you quit when you feel discouraged, you’ll never find out what you could have done if you’d stuck with it instead.

Or, even better: The ONLY way to fail is to quit!

Besides reading children’s literature and writing, I love to teach. I’ve taught from kindergarteners up to eighth graders in public and private schools. My favorite subject to teach? You guessed it– reading and writing!

Currently, I’m teaching language arts classes to homeschoolers. I also coach my daughter’s Odyssey of the Mind team, which is an amazing amount of fun. I love watching creativity at work.

In addition to homeschool classes, I love to work with students in schools or other community groups. If you’re interested in workshops, please see my page about Author Visits.


Giveaway is for U.S. Mailing Addresses only! Ends on 6/4.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

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