It is a genuine delight to host Suzanne Selfors today. She is practically a neighbor of mine, a mere ferry ride to the west away. She is a gracious hostess, fellow dog lover and a wonderful writer whose sense of joy and sense of humor shine through her work. Enjoy your visit with Suzanne as she tells us all a bit about Wedgie and Gizmo, illustrated by Barbara Fisinger, (Katherine Tegan Books/Harper Collins). This early middle grade is the first in a new series and it comes out August 22, 2017 but it’ll be worth the wait! (You can also pre-order it now)
Here is what others are saying about the book:
“Readers will love Wedgie and Gizmo’s distinct and hilarious voices and Barbara Fisinger’s adorable and eye-catching illustrations.” Mr. Schu
“Selfors has written a hilarious tale of two families becoming one—from the point of view of the pets. This peek into the secret lives of pets will be irresistible to animal-loving early readers.” Tegan Tigani, Queen Anne Book Co
“A delightfully fun read that will leave you in stitches.” Dan Santat
Now let’s sit back and hear what Suzanne has to say.
Handling Serious Issues with Humor
On the surface, my soon-to-be-released book, Wedgie and Gizmo, is funny and weird. At least, that’s what I intended. Wedgie the Cape-Wearing Corgi believes that he is a superhero, with powers of sniffing, digging and his specialty, the power of staring, which always results in a treat. Gizmo the Guinea Pig believes that he is an Evil Genius and, like all Evil Geniuses, his goal is to take over the world. But first he must form his cavy horde and get rid of the annoying canine who keeps sniffing his rump. Gizmo knows that for every Evil Villain, there is a superhero trying to thwart him. Thus, Gizmo makes Evil Plans to rid himself of Wedgie.
Two family pets engaged in a battle of wits and willpower.
But at the heart of this book, much more is going on.
Because this story opens as Elliot and his father are moving in with Elliot’s new stepmother and his new siblings. A new marriage, a new home, a new neighborhood, a new school, and a new family. That is an emotional equation and certain to be accompanied by stress and growing pains.
As the writer, I had to decide how to deal with the real life issues of blending a family. Do I write from Elliot’s POV? That seemed like a natural fit. Then the reader could be in Elliot’s head, experiencing his struggles and observing the crazy pets and their shenanigans. I wrote a chapter. But I didn’t like it. It felt…ordinary.
So I wrote a chapter from Wedgie’s POV and that’s when the story came alive for me. Because, when Wedgie wonders why Elliot isn’t petting him, the reader understands that Elliot is sad, without being told. And when Wedgie misinterprets the reason why Elliot isn’t petting him (My superpowers of whining aren’t working) a sad moment becomes funny.
I decided that the pets would tell the story. While completely focused on their own little lives and their needs (What’s under the couch? Who’s at the door? When is my Evil Drone arriving?) we overhear enough tidbits of human conversation to understand that there is more going on behind the scenes. And in the end, it’s the crazy pets, with their delusions of grandeur, who will bring the family together.
I’m so looking forward to readers discovering this little book. Thanks Kirby for hosting me!
Suzanne has written over 20 books for young readers. She won the WA State Book Award, 5 Junior Library Guild Awards, some State Reading List awards and a bunch of other stuff that she’s too lazy to list. When not writing she takes dance lessons, walks her dog and tries to get through the pile of books next to her bed. Writing, however, is her very favorite thing to do. You can visit her at www.suzanneselfors.com.
Sounds like a hit. Since we have two new guinea pigs in the house (“The Girls”), I might have to pre-order this one for my new third grader for some fall reading.