Monday, May 5, 2014

A Middle Grade Author With RAWK!

MMGM aka Marvelous Middle-Grade Monday was created by Shannon Messenger to give middle grade reads the attention they deserve. I'm joining in, today. If you'd like to see more MG books, click HERE to follow other participants.

I'm thrilled to have an amazing guest splatter her signature on the Alleyway, today. Meet Jack-of-all-KidLit, Author Kelly Polack

She's a married mom of three and educator/author from the great Midwest. ROCK 'N' ROLL PRINCESSES WEAR BLACK is Kelly's debut middle grade novel. She is also the author of the ABC picture book, ROCKABET: CLASSIC EDITION and two Meegenius books: BIG SISTER, BABY BROTHER and HOLD THE MUSTARD! Her book recommendation site and ROCKABET were recently featured on the WGN news

In her free time, Kelly loves to hang with her fam, read books for all ages, and sing along at rock concerts.

Hi Kelly! *waves frantically & cranks the tunes*

Was reading a big part of your childhood?
I was a huge reader as a child. I loved Judy Blume books and the poetry of Shel Silverstein. In junior high I became obsessed with The Outsiders by SE Hinton. Still am.

Gosh, all three are fantastic choices. I think we'd have done just fine hanging out together as kids.

Describe the Kelly of today, using five TV shows or movies.
1. Good Luck Charlie. I'm kind of like the mom. A big goofball who adores her kids.
2. American Idol. I can belt out tunes like you wouldn't believe. But just in the car and a rare karaoke appearance. 
3. My daughter says Modern Family because she says I sometimes remind her of Claire. :)
4. Almost Famous. I love concerts and see them as much as I can. But please note that I never get busy with the rockers. :)
5. Vacation. Our family of five takes many road trips. Luckily not as crazy as the Griswold's, but definitely lots of laughs.

Haha! Modern Family ... *snort*

Do you work with an editor or edit solely on your own? Can you share your Indie experience? 
I'm a hybrid author. I work with a helpful editor at a publisher for three picture books. I also started my own press for other projects. It's hard work! So I want to continue to publish some projects on my own that I feel strongly about, and also continue to work with other publishers.

Ooh, your own press??? You'll have to come back for another visit and share more about that. We'll chat. 'K?

I've published two books with my own press in the last six months. So far, my experience has been a positive one. I loved having control of cover and illustrations on these books. I liked being in charge. The only con is the time constraint that comes with doing the business side of a company. I'm a creative person, so I'd rather spend my free time writing than spreadsheets. So I love that I have some books with publishers and some on my own.

Speaking of that, let's share your debut middle grade novel with the Alleywalkers.


Kindle Edition: 83 pages
Publisher: Big Smile Press, LLC
Released: March 27, 2014

Music class and recess totally rock, but being teased in school and ignored at home totally stinks. Stefani Lucas is a rockin’ sixth grader who loves music and dresses like a mini hipster in all black, but there's one thing cramping her style - her lame baby brother who manages to hog all the attention from her parents. 

When classmates tease her about her clothes and even double dare her to (gasp!) wear another color, Stef decides a minor makeover may be in order. Can Stef change for others and still stay true to herself?

This sounds like such a fun book! I love that Stefani is unique.

Silly time: You're told to choose three items in a grocery store check-out line. What do you take?
I will take a Reese's Peanut Butter Cup, a magazine, and some Tic Tacs!

Chocolate and peanut butter ... what writer doesn't like that?

Lastly, from your experience, what are three important elements to writing a novel and the most important for aspiring authors?
  1. Voice!
  2. Plot!
  3. Creating characters that the reader cares about.
Aspiring authors: Don't give up! It took me five years from first draft to published for my first picture book, BIG SISTER, BABY BROTHER. It had many rejections and many revisions before it was published. Even a new title!

As expected, it has been a pleasure having you here, Kelly. Thanks so much! 

 photo Sheri2.png


  1. Congrats to Kelly on her new book and on starting her own press! That's a lot of work!
    Love the cover of her new MG!

  2. Congrats to Kelly on her new book and her new press. I'm amazed at how much she gets done.

  3. Love the title and cover of Kelly's MG book. Wishing her lots of sales!

  4. Good luck to Kelly on her new MG book. I loved your questions and her answers. Thanks for sharing a title I had not come across.

    1. Thanks so much, Greg! And thanks for stopping by to support Kelly. She RAWKS!

  5. All best, Kelly! Stephani sounds like some kind of girl.

  6. I love all of the pinky purple in the Princesses cover. Congrats to Kelly.

  7. I'm often fascinated to learn of what others experience along their journey to publication. And I appreciate that extra motivation to aspiring authors. It's so important to stick with writing if it is truly your heart's desire.

  8. Hybrid author is where it's at now. Congratulations on being brave enough to tackle both worlds, Kelly!

  9. Reese's Peanut Butter cups are the perfect food! Sometimes I make the peanut butter part and eat it with a spoon. I write MG, so I'll be checking back for your posts. Great interview.
    Marlene at On Writing and Riding

  10. HI, Sheri, Hi, Kelly...

    Congrats on the new book. It was wonderful to read about your success after so many years of pulling it together. I'm on year four now, so I hope this will be my year for a contract. Final edits on my second novel are almost complete... back to querying. LOL

    All the best!

  11. i really love the title and the premise - perfect book for young girls with younger sibs to relate to! great interview!

  12. Awesome interview! I love the covers of her books and I think the new book has a great message--be true to yourself! Hope she has a lot of success with her publishing company and books.

  13. Will be sure to check Kelly's book out!

  14. Thank you, Sheri, for having me on here! Good times! :)
    Thank you to everyone for your kind comments!!

  15. I'm sure you've learned a lot from the experience. Now you know what it's like from both sides - publisher and author.

    1. I think that's awesome, right? I can't wait to chat with her about her press.

  16. Interesting interview, ladies. Congratulations on your latest book and your publishing, Kelly. Lovely cover too. Best of luck to you.


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