Guest Barrie Summy on Her Middle Grade School Fans

Guest Barrie Summy on Her Middle Grade School Fans

[Barrie Summy (I So Don’t Do Mysteries, I So Don’t Do Spooky Ages 9 – 12) added to her Sherry Baldwin mystery series when I So Don’t Do Makeup was released Tuesday, May 11, 2010. And, although the author does bookstore readings/signings, she also visits middle grade schools. In today’s guest post, Barrie shares what inquiring tween readers want to know.]

First off, thank you, Larramie, for inviting me to guest post. I always enjoy a visit with you!

With I SO DON’T DO MAKEUP just out on May 11, I have several school visits planned for over the next few of weeks. Even my first Skype visit! Ack.

BarriieclassWhat can I tell you about school visits? They’re very, very fun! Some of the most interesting people in the world hang out at schools! It feels very grown up to get to go in the teachers’ lounge.

So, what kinds of questions do I get when I’m at a school? Well, a little of this and a little of that. Let me share some with you.

Question: What was your favorite book growing up?
Answer: I totally wimp out on this because I can never limit myself to just one book. My favorite picture book was AND TO THINK THAT I SAW IT ON MULBERRY STREET by Dr. Seuss. I loved loved loved Nancy Drew. I was especially partial to THE HIDDEN STAIRSCASE and THE PASSWORD TO LARKSPUR LANE. My other favorite book was A TREE GROWS IN BROOKLYN by Betty Smith.

Question: Can you count to ten in French? [Note: Barrie was born and raised in Canada.]
Answer: un, deux, trois, quatre, cinq, six, sept, huit, neuf, dix.

Question: If you could be a character in one of your books, who would you be?
Answer: Probably Sherry so that I could be the star and solve the mystery. Plus, she’s braver than me. Although I wouldn’t mind having perfect hair like Amber. And I’d kind of like to be super smart like Junie. But if I HAVE to choose just one, it’s Sherry.

Question: What is your favorite color?
Answer: It was green for years, but I think it’s changing to purple.

Question: Could you please write a book called I SO DON’T DO ROMANCE or I SO DON’T DO SPORTS?
Answer: Seriously, these are the two most common book titles students suggest. Something else I’ve noticed: fourth graders make more title suggestions than any other group.

Question: Is Josh in the next book?
Answer: Yes

Question: Could you please use my name in one of your books? But don’t make me a pet or a villain.
Answer: Maybe. I hear some great names at schools. And would you possibly be open to having your name used for a cute puppy as opposed to a snake?

Question: What do you do when you get writer’s block?
Answer: Change. If I’m writing at home, I go to the coffee shop or library. I take a break from writing and hop on the treadmill or go on a walk with Dorothy the Dog. The whole time, I repeat to myself, “Do not panic. Do not panic.”

School visits are a two-way street. The kids ask me questions. I ask them questions. I like to know what they’re reading in their spare time. What they’re reading in class. What books they like; what books they don’t like. Who’s interested in becoming a writer. How the writing program works at their school. I’m quite the nosy visitor!

When I first started doing school visits, I was nervous. Now I just look forward to them!

***Author Barrie Summy is hosting a giveaway of her fun mystery series! One BarrieGPGrand Prize winner will receive autographed copies of the three books in the series, I SO DON’T DO MAKEUP, I SO DON’T DO SPOOKY, and I SO DON’T DO MYSTERIES, plus a tote bag and t-shirt! Three lucky runners up will win an autographed copy of I SO DON’T DO MAKEUP and a t-shirt!

To enter, send an email to (note: no apostrophe!) with the subject line “Pick Me!” In the body of the email, include your name and email address (if you’re under 13, submit a parent’s name and email address).

* * * * *

Announcement: What a wonderful turnout for these two book giveaways and I truly wish you all could win, however… THE winner of Meredith Cole’s Dead in the Water is Lillie H (AliseOnLife).


The Book Vixen is the winner of Joëlle Anthony’s Restoring Harmony. Congratulations!

Now if you’ll both please email: diviningwand (at) gmail (dot) com with your mailing address, the books will be sent out promptly.

5 thoughts on “Guest Barrie Summy on Her Middle Grade School Fans

  1. Writing for this age group must be so much fun and visiting the schools, so rewarding! What a treat it must be to know that you are having an impact on young readers! Congrats!!!!

  2. Great stuff.

    I did my first middle school event yesterday, outside of Chicago, and had an incredible time.

    One of the things I had to learn about kids is you have to read their reactions differently. With adults, I can tell they are interested when their faces are all lit up, and they are nodding, expressing. Kids are almost the opposite: when they are totally quiet and motionless, that’s paydirt.

    My first high school I thought I’d bombed, because they sat there totally still. I told a teacher and she said, “Are you kidding? Teenagers sitting still!” Haha. Now I know how to read them.

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