I’m just tickled to be part of Trudi Trueit’s blog tour to celebrate her newest book. You can meet Trudi and learn more about The Sister Solution tonight from 7-8 pm at the University Bookstore in Mill Creek Washington!
When I was a girl, I desperately longed to be Jo March from the book, Little Women.
Like Jo, I dreamed of someday being a published writer. I spent many nights hunched over the antique desk that had once belonged to my grandmother, penning tales of tormented ghosts haunting lonely castles and swashbuckling pirates sailing the high seas. Like Jo, I also had siblings—an older sister and a young brother. Together, we’d create all kinds of adventures, acting out stories with our dolls in grand style. It wasn’t uncommon for us to get so carried away with our make-believe world that a whole Saturday could come and go and we wouldn’t notice until Mom called us for dinner.
My new book, The Sister Solution, is one I’ve been wanting to write for some time and, like Little Women, has its roots in sibling relationships. It’s the story of two sisters, thirteen-year-old Sammi and eleven-year-old Jorgianna, who are as opposite as the sun and moon. Sammi is soft-spoken, thoughtful, and kind. She longs to be accepted into the popular group of girls at her middle school. Jorgianna is gifted, artistic, flamboyant, and often speaks before she thinks. Still, they get along fairly well, until Jorgianna is moved up two grades into Sammi’s class. Knowing her sister’s gregarious nature and frustrated that her world is being infringed upon, Sammi’s comes up with a ‘solution.’ She presses Jorgianna into signing a contract that stipulates they will not acknowledge each other while at school. Each girl will go her separate way, securing her own friends and her own space. Jorgianna, who idolizes her elder sister, is stung by this but agrees. Naturally, things don’t go quite as either girl anticipates. Sammi’s dealt another blow when the very clique she has been working for so long to get into accepts her sister! Jealousy soon turns to concern when Sammi begins to discovers the popular clique isn’t as wonderful as it seems (is it ever?). To best the queen bee, each sister will have to put her sister first. Can she? Will she? Of course!
In writing this book, I did something I’ve never done before: tell a tale with alternating narrators. Originally, I’d planned to write the story from Sammi’s point of view in first person, because she was the one who was being encroached upon and, I felt, had the most to lose. However, I’d only gotten a few chapters in when extroverted Jorgianna tapped me on the shoulder and said, “Don’t you want to hear my side of things?” I realized that, like real siblings, each sister had her own perspective on the situation and if I was going to do the story justice I had to let both girls speak. At first, I didn’t want to do it. I wasn’t sure I could do it. I’d read my share of books with alternating narrators and found many to be muddy with confusing plot lines and indistinguishable characters. The last thing I wanted was readers flipping back and forth to try to figure out who was talking. Even so, with Jorgianna’s urging, I forged ahead. I laid a foundation so that each girl had her own way of rationalizing, speaking, acting, and I think—I hope—the end result works well. Writing the book reminded me that taking risks is important for a writer. Stretching yourself creatively is how you grow, and even if a gamble doesn’t pay off, you almost always learn something along the way. Also, it is rather exciting to take a leap of faith and see where you land, isn’t it? When I think back, I realize it’s the reason why I spent all those late nights writing at my grandmother’s antique table and so many Saturdays acing out plays with my siblings, because letting my imagination run free in childhood was, simply and purely, fun. I’m pleased to say it still is.
A former TV news reporter and weather forecaster, Trudi Trueit has written nearly 100 fiction and nonfiction books for kids. She is the author of the Secrets of a Lab Rat series (Aladdin) & Stealing Popular (Aladdin M!X). The Sister Solution is her second release from Aladdin M!X. Born and raised in Seattle, WA, Trudi still lives in the Pacific Northwest with her husband, Bill. She loves the three c’s: cats, chocolate, and cupcakes!