Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Fido and Friend in Five: Lisa Yee and Maggie!

Lisa Yee
When I first started writing longer fiction (longer than picture books, that is), someone recommended I read Millicent Min Girl Genius, by Lisa Yee. This person told me it was the best book I could read to understand character-driven, almost perfectly written middle grade fiction. "The voice is perfect!" she said. "The pacing is perfect!" she said. I read it, and she was right. Ever since then, I have studied Lisa's work to see how she works her magic. Her multi-award winning books are funny, heartfelt, and handle "heavy" topics with her trademark compassionate, light touch. So I was thrilled when I found out that the amazing Lisa Yee and I have two things in common: 1) we both will soon have the same editor, Arthur A. Levine. Lisa has been working with The Arthur for many years; I'll be working with him soon on my new book, Mercy's Bone, and  2) we both love dogs! Lisa and her husband and two kids share their home with Maggie. 
Millicent Min
Let's meet them both in their Fido and Friend spotlight!

1. How did you and Maggie find each other?  Everyone in my family is allergic to fur, but we always wanted a dog. Then one day, I saw the cover of LIFE magazine and it read, "The Perfect Dog?"Inside it raved about "Doodle" dogs: Labradoodles, Goldendoodles, etc. They don't shed (that's the "oodle" poodle part of them), and the first Labradoodles were seeing eye dogs for blind people with allergies. So I researched, found a breeder in my state, and got on a waiting list. Five years ago Maggie, our miniature Labradoodle, joined our family!

2. What makes Maggie's tail wag?  Oh man, say the word "Outside" and you'd think someone had just dumped a truckload of fresh chew toys on the lawn.
Maggie sinks her teeth into a good book!
Maggie and Lisa
3. What's your all-time favorite dog book?  Maggie is particularly fond of The Perfect Storm.  
Oh, wait! I read that question wrong! My favorite dog book is probably Beverly Cleary's Henry Huggins. I love it when Henry meets Ribsy and will do anything to keep that dog.

4. If Maggie could change just one thing about you, what would it be? Hmmmm....let me ask.
Maggie says that I need to take more breaks when I'm writing to play with her. Inevitably, right when I'm about to have a writing epiphany, she'll come into my office and start nuzzling me until I get up and go OUTSIDE with her.
Play time!
Unconditional love

5. In five words, tell us what Maggie means to you:  Total unconditional love (both ways).
Lisa's latest!

Thank you so much, Lisa and Maggie, for taking taking time out of your busy schedules to visit. To find out all kinds of things about Lisa (did you know she has written a speech for a President and a menu for Red Lobster?!) and her books, be sure to visit her website and her always fun blog