I enjoy meeting and connecting with fellow authors, writers, bloggers and poets. I get the wonderful opportunity to interview writers from different genres and bring them here on my blog to share with you.
Author Interview with Jessica Haight and Stephanie Robinson, authors of The Secret DMS Files of Fairday Morrow
Please share a bit of your background (where you were born, where you grew up, your career, your family, etc)
Jess: I was born in CT and grew up in Southbury. I am an only child, and thus had some pretty fascinating games that I created when I was a kid. One of my favorite past-times involved my grandmother’s fancy perfume bottles. She had the most amazing
collection- every color, shape, and size you can think of. I can’t exactly recall the details of the actual game, however, I know that each one represented a person in a royal court. The green bottle with the crystal top was the queen, and there was a really cool orange and cream colored tall pitcher that was the king. My parents told me that I would sit, sometimes for hours, just mumbling and moving the pieces
around in front of the picture window. Today, I am 38 and live in New Fairfield, CT with my wonderful fiance, James, my dog, Jack, and cat, Bill. I still live in a dream world, only now I move words around, while mumbling quietly to myself.
Stephanie: I was born and raised in Connecticut and lived in Ohio for a few years of my early childhood. I loved playing outside and reading as a child. Climbing trees was a favorite pastime- though now I am scared of heights. I am currently a 5th grade teacher and live with my husband in a quiet town in Connecticut, though not as
quaint as Ashpot. When I am not working, I spend my time writing, reading, and traveling.
When did you get started with your writing?
Jess: I have always loved stories, for as long as I can remember. I would say after I got over the devastation that I was probably not going to be an astronaut (terrible at math) becoming a writer was the only other thing there was for me to be.
I started looking for a literary agent for my children’s story, Ruby Begonia and the High-Heeled Sneakers about five years ago. Since the story has transformed into the middle grade book, The Secret DMS Files of Fairday Morrow, the pursuit has become much more involved.
Stephanie: Since I was a little girl I have loved reading and creating stories. When I was younger I thought I would be a teacher during the year and spend the summer writing books (yes, that is plural). I obviously didn’t understand how much time teaching and writing would actually take. Ever since Jessica asked me to co-author The Secret DMS Files of Fairday Morrow with her I have been actively pursuing my dreams of being a writer.
What inspired you to write your latest book?
Jess: The initial story was partially created by my grandfather. When I was a kid, I stayed with my grandparents for a while and they lived in a spooky house in Ridgefield, CT. Sometimes it sounded like someone was walking around upstairs when there was no one up there, and my grandfather used to tell me it was Ruby Begonia clomping around in her high-heeled sneakers. I spent years trying to catch her, but never did. Ruby’s story took shape through the years as I grew up. When I was in my twenties, I wrote the children’s poem, Ruby Begonia and the High-Heeled Sneakers. One day, I thought how cool it would be to turn the poem into a chapter book and the name, Fairday Morrow popped into my head. I thought to ask my best friend and book buddy, Stephanie Robinson, if she wanted to co-author it with me, and happily she agreed. Stephanie and I both love books; we love to read and talk about the stories. So, we started writing and talking about Fairday and the adventures of the DMS.
Stephanie: After Jess asked me to work with her on changing her poem into a story the ideas began emerging from all over the place. We would meet, talk, brainstorm, and dissect each other’s ideas. Each time one of us shared something we would spark new ideas in the other person. Some of the elements of Fairday’s story have appeared in my dreams and others have happened in my everyday life.
How is this book relevant in today’s world?
Jessica: Fairday, Lizzy, and Marcus are regular kids on an amazing adventure that could happen to anyone- if they live in a place like the Begonia House, that is : ) A fun mystery is always in style.
Stephanie: Fairday is a typical 11 year old girl. She interacts with other kids in ways that other children can relate to, and she is very successful at standing up to bullies. Nowadays we are constantly hearing about bullying in the news and I think Fairday and her friends are good role models for other kids and how to not let the bullies get you down. The story also involves a lot of imagination, which is so important to foster in kids and people of all ages.
Please share about your latest book.
Jessica and Stephanie: Fear not the unexpected.
The Begonia House keeps its secrets. Everyone knows that. Everyone that is, except for clever eleven-year-old Fairday Morrow, whose family has just moved in. Being the Senior Investigator in the Detective Mystery Squad, more commonly known as the DMS, she’s ready to uncover the mysteries hidden within the strange manor. As the investigation gears up and the pieces of the puzzle begin to fall into place, the DMS enters into a world where anything is possible, and the danger is most definitely real. Follow along with Fairday and her friends, as “spooky” meets “lovely” in this twisting tale of dark secrets and hidden pasts.
What is one piece of advice about writing you would offer to beginning writers?
Jess: If you believe in yourself, and dedicate your time and energy to pursuing what you want, it will happen.
Stephanie: Write because you love it and you have a story to share. Once you have your work down on paper it may be a long road to where you want to be. Believe in yourself because if you don’t then no one else will. If you don’t try, you won’t succeed!
How did you decide to publish this book and why?
Jess and Stephanie: We decided to pursue the traditional route for publishing The Secret DMS Files of Fairday Morrow. Although we both love writing, we work other jobs to pay our bills. We understand that self-publishing and marketing for yourself is a full-time job and at the moment we don’t feel we have the time to
devote to publishing ourselves. We are lucky enough to be working with a wonderful agent and hopefully we will find an editor to publish our book.
What else do you plan for your writing for the remainder of 2012?
Jessica: I plan to be working on The Talking Library and coming up with great reviews/ interviews and tricky riddles for Fairday’s Blog!
Stephanie: I plan to continue working on The Talking Library, the second book in the series. I will also be teaching 5th grade- so I will be reading a lot of middle grade books, too. All that reading will help me to write reviews each week for Fairday’s Blog.
Where can others learn more about you and purchase your book?
Jess and Stephanie: Others can learn more about us at our blog
(https://www.facebook.com/fairday), and our twitter
Right now The Secret DMS Files of Fairday Morrow isn’t available for purchase. We do however sponsor giveaways on our blog and we are also willing to send a copy of our book to fans who
are interested in reading Fairday’s story.
Question for fun sake—what is your favorite childhood meal and why?
Jess: Hamburger, med-rare, slice of tomato, mayo, ketchup (preferably from Denmo’s in Southbury, CT) served with a side of fried zucchini, and it’s still the same. Utterly delicious : )
Stephanie: As a child my favorite meal was probably a jelly sandwich. I did not like peanut butter growing up- so my sandwich had to be just plain jelly. I think I mayhave overdone it because now the thought of jelly makes me feel a little sick. Still, for years of elementary school it was my favorite!
Stephanie lives with her husband in a quiet town in Connecticut, though not as quaint as Ashpot. She has been a fifth grade teacher for over ten years and learns something new every day. When she isn’t working, Stephanie spends her time writing, reading, and traveling.
Jessica is a quintessential New Englander, harboring a desperate need to be near the ocean and a personal desire to experience the four seasons every year. Now at the age of 38, she lives in New Fairfield, Connecticut with her wonderful fiancé, James, her dog, Jack, and her cat, Bill.