Wednesday, December 31, 2014

The Gossip File by Anna Staniszewski with Guest Post and Giveaway

The Gossip File by Anna Staniszewski
January 6th, 2015; ISBN: 9781492607854; $6.99; Trade Paper
Sourcebooks Jabberwocky– Juvenile Fiction, Social Issues
Ages 10-14, Grades 4-8

The Gossip File:
•Chandra lets little kids pee in the pool.
•Melody stole $ from the café register.
•Ava isn’t who she says she is…

Ava is cool. Ava is confident. Ava is really Rachel Lee who is lying her butt off.
Rachel is visiting her dad at a resort in sunny Florida and is ready for two weeks of relaxing poolside, trips to Disney World – and NOT scrubbing toilets. Until her dad’s new girlfriend, Ellie, begs Rachel to help out at her short-staffed café. That’s when Rachel kinda sorta adopts a new identity to impress the cool, older girls who work there. Ava is everything Rachel wishes she could be. But when the girls ask “Ava” to help add juicy resort gossip to their file, Rachel’s not sure what to do...especially when one of the entries is a secret about Ellie.

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Guest Post: 

What was the hardest thing about writing The Dirt Diary Series?

I’m starting to suspect that in order to write a trilogy, you need to be both creative and sickeningly optimistic. Writing the first book is a challenge, but it’s also fun because you’re exploring the characters and getting to know their world. With the sequel, it’s nice to revisit the characters (who are starting to feel like old friends) even though it’s tricky to find new and interesting conflicts for them to deal with. But the third book, for me, seems to always be the hardest. That is where the sickening optimism comes in. I have to trust that I’ll figure it out, even if I have no idea how.

With the third book, you want to make things exciting for your readers, but you also want to show how far your character has come. With The Gossip File, I had to work hard to find this balance for Rachel. She’s a little more confident than she was in The Dirt Diary and a little less impulsive than she was in The Prank List, but she still has many of the same insecurities she did at the start. And it doesn’t help that trouble seems to follow her wherever she goes.

While I worked on finding a believable amount of trouble for to get into while she’s supposed to be on vacation, I also spent a lot of time developing Rachel’s relationships with her family and friends. If she could work things out with the other people in her life, then they wouldn’t be a source of conflict for her anymore. Ultimately, I wanted readers to sense that even if Rachel’s life will probably continue to be a medley of embarrassing moments and funny mishaps, she’s strong enough now to survive whatever comes next.

There were times when I didn’t know if I could get Rachel to that point, but I had to keep plugging away (and revising and revising and revising) until things finally came together. I had to keep challenging myself to keep coming up with creative solutions, but I also had to trust that I could do it…even if there were some days when I was totally stumped. I’m glad that after all that work, Rachel and I finally figured out how to wrap up her story. And I guess I must be a really optimistic person because I’m hard at work on another trilogy as we speak!

About the Author:

Anna Staniszewski lives outside of Boston with her husband and an adorably crazy dog. She was named the Boston Public Library's 2006-2007 Writer-in-Residence and a winner of the 2009 PEN New England Discovery Award.  

Born in Poland and raised in the United States, Anna Staniszewski grew up loving stories in both Polish and English. When she’s not writing, Anna spends her time teaching, reading, and eating far too much chocolate. She is the author of the My Very UnFairy Tale Life series, the Dirt Diary series, and the forthcoming Switched at First Kiss series, all published by Sourcebooks. Visit her at


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