A huge admirer from afar, I had the great fortune of meeting Elly Swartz at nErDCampMI last summer. Despite the fact that she likes Twizzlers (this red licorice fan shudders at that thought!), she is charming, insightful and a darned good writer. I am so pleased to shine the spotlight on her latest book, Smart Cookie (Scholastic) today! Keep reading to learn more and to find out how to enter her giveaway.
Who’s in Your Herd?
Who’s got my back? How many people do I get in my life? Those are the questions that eleven-year-old Frankie asks in Smart Cookie (Scholastic 2018). Frankie’s mom died many years ago, and she feels like a piece of her is missing. So, she secretly puts an ad online to find her dad a wife.
No spoilers, but what she finds instead, with the help of her ghost-hunting best friend Elliot and Jess, her friend-turned-not-turned-something-else, is her herd. The people in her life who love her and all of her idiosyncrasies unconditionally. Her teacher, her neighbors, the people at Mills Senior Center, even Mabel, her gram’s best friend who cheats at cards. We all have one. And this herd is often so much bigger and wider than those with whom you share a name or childhood.
These questions Frankie asks, I asked them, too. When my mom died, I wanted to know whose got me? She was my best friend, and then she was gone. Who would I tell when good things happened, who would bake me a crooked birthday cake, let me dump all my frustrations when I had a bad day, let me cry when my heart filled with sadness. Who?
Alone doesn’t always mean by yourself. Sometimes it just means there’s someone missing. Someone important.
But Smart Cookie wasn’t about this, not initially. It was a book about a strong girl who was equal parts spunk and heart. A girl with a best friend named Elliot. A girl who was loyal and kind with a story to tell. That was all I knew when I first sat down to write. My agent had suggested I draft something new. Totally new. Finding Perfect hadn’t sold and it had been an eight-year labor of love. I didn’t know if it would ever find it’s way to publication (spoiler alert – it did – yay!). So, I sat down to write Frankie’s story. And along the way, the questions that I had asked so long ago found their way onto the page. My questions became Frankie’s. And, as I would soon learn, ones shared by so many readers. The truth is, we all want to know who’s got our back. Who’s in our herd.
Ideas are everywhere. Kids always ask – where do they come from? The honest answer – they’re tucked in my heart, waiting for the right question to be asked.
Elly would also like to give away one autographed copy of Smart Cookie! To enter please click this Rafflecopter link.
Elly Swartz loves writing for kids, Twizzlers, and anything with her family. Her debut novel, FINDING PERFECT (FSG 2016) is about twelve-year-old Molly, friendship, family, OCD, and a slam poetry competition that will determine everything. In her second book, SMART COOKIE (Scholastic, 2018), you meet the spunky and big-hearted Frankie. Frankie’s all about family with a dash of mischief and mystery! And then in 2019, say hello to Maggie in GIVE AND TAKE (FSG). Elly lives in Massachusetts with her family. If you want to connect with Elly, you can find at her website, on Twitter @ellyswartz or on Instagram @ellyswartzbooks. You can also see her on the new web series #BooksintheKitchen with author Victoria J. Coe.