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I recently received an advance copy of the latest in the series Missy Piggle-Wiggle. Both my son and I were able to brainstorm some questions to interview one of the author’s, Annie Parnell.
Annie Parnell is the great-granddaughter of Betty MacDonald who is the creator of the original and iconic Mrs. Piggle-Wiggle book series, and who 60 years later has joined forces with legendary NY Times Best-Selling children’s author Ann M. Martin (The Baby-Sitter’s Club series) to create a modern-day take on the original series that has young Missy Piggle-Wiggle stepping into her great-aunt Mrs. Piggle-Wiggle’s enchanted shoes. Their eagerly anticipated new book Missy Piggle-Wiggle and the Won’t Walk the Dog Cure, features Missy curing whiney-whiners and smarty-pantsiness, as well as other habits while continuing to make a life for herself in Little Spring Valley.
Tell me about your great grandmother and how Mrs. Piggle-Wiggle came about. I am sure you have heard stories passed down or even have heard firsthand.
- I come from a family, like many others, that loves to tell stories. My mom told me bedtime stories as a child, much as her mother did, and much like Betty did. That is ultimately the genesis of Mrs. Piggle Wiggle. I worry this has become a bit of a lost art, sitting at our kids’ bedside and just making up stories. I know I don’t do it nearly so often as my children would like, probably because I believe what I could read them would be so much better than whatever I might make up on the spot. However my kids always love the made up stories best, and I did too when I was little. Isn’t that interesting?
What made you want to continue the series with Missy Piggle-Wiggle?
- For me, Mrs. Piggle-Wiggle was more a long lost family member than she was a character in a book. So when given the opportunity to help carry on her legacy to a new generation of kids, I jumped at it. Also, having kids of my own and knowing how much our world has changed, I felt there were a lot more stories to tell, more children to cure, and I wanted to be a part of doing that.
What is your inspiration for creating these stories?
- Obviously, so much of this comes from being a parent. This is not to say that my children have been guilty of all of these bad behaviors (though they’ve certainly done their fair share), but we parents talk and laugh about the stuff we go through and I just write everything down hoping it will inspire a great cure.
Can you give us a clue as to what next adventure awaits Missy?
- As the books move forward, Missy continues to cure the children of Little Spring Valley, but she also has some slightly more grown-up problems of her own to solve as well.
Did you always want to become a writer?
- Nope. For most of my young life, I wanted to be an astronaut, I even went to space camp. Then I studied acting in college and worked in Hollywood making TV shows. Television really is a writer’s medium; it’s not like movies where you tell a story in two hours. These stories have to survive over dozens and dozens of hours. If they aren’t supported by really smart writers with a long view and a strong grip on their characters, then there’s no TV show. So it was really during this time that I fell in love with writing and reading other writers.
What advice would you give kids who would like to write a book one day?
- Write. Just write and write and keep on writing. And then read, and read and keep on reading. The best writers I know write all the time, and every time you write something, you get better at it. Nobody ever writes the best thing they’ll ever write on their first try. They keep at it until they write something so good it has to be shared.
How did the partnership with Ann M. Martin come about?
- It was a stroke of genius from Jean Feiwel at Feiwel and Friends, our publisher. Jean had worked with Ann for years, and when she read my proposal she saw that this could be a good partnership, and I have to agree.
Have you ever had writer’s block? How did you overcome that?
- Absolutely. Usually, a good walk works. But sometimes I’m just so hung up I have to really walk away and do something entirely different for a while. So long as I relax and remind myself that it will come to me and it always does.
What are some of the books you read growing up?
- I was a sci-fi junkie. Heinlein’s Stranger in a Strange Land, Herbert’s Dune series and anything by Asimov. I also loved the Black Stallion series when I was younger.
What is your favorite flavor of ice-cream?
- I have a few very strict rules about ice cream – no nuts (except on top of a sundae) and no coffee flavor. Other than that, anything goes. However, if it’s got caramel, chocolate and/or marshmallows in it, then I’m in heaven!
- The Missy Piggle-Wiggle Series can be found on Amazon
THIS GIVEAWAY IS NOW CLOSED: WINNERS CARL & DEBORAH W
Two readers will receive a copy of Missy Piggle-Wiggle and the Won’t Walk the Dog Cure SIGNED by Annie Parnell ($16.99). See below for terms & conditions. Open to U.S. residents of the 48 contiguous United States. You must be 18 years old to enter to win. This giveaway ends at 11:59 PM EST on 9.22.17
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