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Viewing: Blog Posts Tagged with: author interviews, Most Recent at Top [Help]
Results 1 - 25 of 747
1. My Writing and Reading Life: Jess Keating, Author of How to Outswim a Shark Without a Snorkel

As an author and zoologist, Jess Keating has tickled a shark, lost a staring contest against an octopus, and been a victim to the dreaded paper cut. She lives in Ontario, Canada, where she spends most of her time writing books for adventurous and funny kids.

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2. Player Profile: Paula Hawkins, author of The Girl On The Train

Paula Hawkins, author of The Girl On The Train Tell us about your latest creation: The Girl on the Train is psychological thriller which examines the fine line between normality and the loss of control wrought by addiction. It’s all about how when you peel back the veneer of everyday life, you can find something really quite disturbing just underneath… […]

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3. Maya Van Wagenen Shares Her Tips on Becoming Popular

I recently came across a remarkable book by Maya Van Wagenen called Popular. Maya, who is now 16 and in the 11th grade, kindly agreed to answer my questions (and quite eloquently) despite preparing for her SAT exam.

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4. An Interview with Old School Mystery Author Greg Messel

Longtime BookBuzzr subscriber – Greg Messel’s books have been gradually creating a niche for themselves and finding a dedicated audience on Amazon. A reviewer recently wrote about his Sam Slater mystery novel, “I’ve read all three Sam Slater novels, and just finished San Francisco Secrets. Again, it was full of great San Francisco locations. great ‘bad guys’ and I enjoyed the story.”

Greg’s recent interview with Stu Taylor on Radio America gives a good overview of his latest book – Shadows in the Fog

Hi Greg, thank you for taking the time to do this interview. Would you start by telling us a little about yourself?
Greg Messel

I’ve spent most of my adult life interested in writing, including a career in the newspaper business. I won a Wyoming Press Association Award as a columnist and have contributed articles to various magazines. I retired from the corporate world and now live in South Jordan, Utah. I’m a widower and have three adult children who are married and have 11 grandchildren.

I’ve written eight novels including my new one “Shadows In The Fog” which is the fifth in a series of mysteries set in 1959 San Francisco. “Fog City Strangler,” “San Francisco Secrets,” “Deadly Plunge” are sequels to the first book in the series “Last of the Seals.” There are three more novels: “Sunbreaks,” “Expiation” and “The Illusion of Certainty.”

I’m currently working on my ninth novel–the sixth in the mystery series–“Cable Car Mystery”–which will be published in late 2015.

Why did you become a writer?

I worked for my high school newspaper and fell in love with writing. I won a couple of writing contests and then I began writing sports and movie reviews for my local hometown newspaper in Concord, California in the San Francisco Bay Area. I supported myself in high school and college writing. I didn’t start serious novel writing until I had the time after my retirement.

How do you go about your writing process? Is there a method to the way you produce your books? Do you use an editor? Do you work with beta readers?

I begin working on the outline of the story and putting together chapters. I don’t necessarily work in order. If I have an idea for a chapter I go ahead and write it and then weave it into the finished product. I first want to get the story out of my head and onto the paper. I then will spent a few months polishing it and sometimes making major changes. I then turn it over to an editor and we usually make three detailed passes at the manuscript, not only refining the grammar and sentence structure but also making changes in the plot.

How do you design your book covers?

I work with my publishing coach who has someone on his team who designs my covers. I receive a lot of compliments about the book covers. I think they are vital to attracting readers. Book covers give a real strong first impression. I think some book covers, particularly for some self published authors, really screams “Amateur.”

Whats the best part about your job as an author?

The actual writing and creating is wonderful. While you are writing you escape into a different world. It’s thrilling. I love to talk to people who have read the books and enjoyed them.

Whats the most tedious part about your profession?

Marketing is hard. I think most authors will tell you that whether they are self published or working for a publishing house. It is extremely difficult to get noticed in the fast paced new world of eBooks and a shrinking number of book stores. I sometimes smile to myself at eBooks titled something like “How To Write a Best Seller.” Generally it involves several thousand people giving you a few dollars to read your eBook. That’s how “they” write a best seller but I’m not sure it helps you. I’ve noticed that there are very few ground breaking ideas to market. It comes down to execution and maximizing the exposures for your book. That’s something that BookBuzzr helps provide.

Your book-trailers invoke a sense of nostalgia. How do you get these book-trailers made?

I have a contractor, I work with who specializes in trailers. He has done all the trailers on the Sam Slater mystery series. I love his work.

What are some of the activities that you do to promote and market your book?

I do virtual book tours and try to be active on Goodreads. I also used Twitter and Facebook to promote my books. I’ve had some book signings which are always a thrill. I’m very proud of my web page. Check it out at gregmessel.com

How does BookBuzzr help you with your book promotion?

It increases my contact with readers and potential readers. I’ve received messages from all over the United States and some from Canada. The contests seem to generate a lot of activity.

Note: Most of Greg’s books are set in San Francisco in the 1950’s. Check out this quiz created by Greg using BookBuzzr’s quiz-builder and test your knowledge about the history of this city.

Sorry, your browser does not support iframes. Click here to continue

If you are looking for a page turning whodunnit mystery, you can get a review copy of most of Greg’s books including his popular first book in the Sam Slater series – Last of the Seals here – http://www.freado.com/auction/4130/6124/last-of-the-seals

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5. Interview with Sandhya Sameera Pillalamarri About The Name Soup

How did the idea for The Name Soup originate? Sandhya Sameera Pillalamarri: The concept of the book was inspired by my long last name. I was always intrigued about its true meaning and where it came from.

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6. This Could Be Our Future . . .

by Eric Walters I remember getting my first cell phone. I remember my first computer and my first incredibly clunky, heavy lap top computer. I remember life before Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Pinterest. I remember getting an email address when I only knew one other person who had email. I remember when nobody texted but everybody read text. I remember a time when every person standing

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7. First Crystal Pen Publishing Newsletter

Here is the first newsletter for Crystal Pen Publishing, the new publishing name for my Kindle books. Hope you like it! Please give me some feedback about what you would like to see in the next issue!


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8. TWENTY-TWO CENTS: Muhammad Yunus and the Village Bank by Paula Yoo

"If you were living in another country and heard that lots of Americans were hungry, would you leave behind your own safety and comfort to return here and serve?"

"If you asked a lot of people for help once you got here and they all said no, would you give up?  Or would you try and come up with a way to solve the problem without their help?"

"What's the difference between a celebrity and a hero?"

Before reading TWENTY-TWO CENTS: MUHAMMAD YUNUS AND THE VILLAGE BANK by Paula Yoo (Lee and Low) to a group of fifth-graders, I might start by asking questions like these. Then I would launch into the story, letting their eyes linger on the beautiful paintings by Jamel Akib. I agree with Publisher's Weekly's review: "In detailed and inviting prose, Yoo shares the story of activist and Nobel Peace Prize winner Yunus, beginning with his childhood ... Akib’s grainy, jewel-toned chalk pastels contrast a sense of scarcity and deprivation with one of warmth and humanity. Yoo makes the significance of Yunus’s contributions understandable, relevant, and immediate."

Without overstating Yunus' humble and yet not impoverished background, Yoo and Akib make it clear that this world-changer didn't come from privilege. Children in all circumstances will be inspired by Yunus' life and by the difference he has made throughout the planet. I pay attention to cultural details about my own Bengali heritage, and Akib didn't disappoint with his accurate depiction of practices like giving and receiving with the right hand, squatting to chat, and sitting cross-legged to learn. In the final pages, he paints a panel of proud young brown women whose faces and postures speak volumes about empowerment and hope.
It's been a while since I read a biography aimed for children, but after enjoying this one so much I'm going to look for more. I remember discovering a series in the library when I was in fourth or fifth grade called “The Childhood of Famous American Series” from Bobbs-Merrill. Looking back, I'm surprised by how many world-changing women were featured: I read about Clara Barton, Susan B. Anthony, and Louisa May Alcott.  All the books began with a person my age or so who went on to change the world, and as I devoured them I began to imagine trying to make my own mark.

I invited Paula to chat with me on the Fire Escape about creating the book and about the power of biography to inspire and inform. Read on to enjoy her brilliance.

Welcome, my multi-talented friend. Your website is a dizzying display of diverse talent—music, children's books, television writing. You're a celebrity in your own right. Okay, let's start with an easy question: why did you want to write this biography?

Jason Low of Lee and Low Books first approached me about the life of Muhammad Yunus as a possible children's picture book biography. He suggested I read Professor Yunus' autobiography, BANKER TO THE POOR: MICRO-LENDING AND THE BATTLE AGAINST WORLD POVERTY (Public Affairs, 2008). I read this book in one day—I was mesmerized by Professor Yunus' passion and dedication towards helping others left fortunate. His colorful childhood and awakening as an activist inspired me. I agreed with Jason that Muhammad Yunus would make for a great biography to inspire children to learn about compassion and generosity.

What kind of research did you do for the book?

I read several more books and newspaper/magazine articles about Muhammad Yunus and Grameen Bank. I also interviewed historians and professors who teach college courses about the history and culture of Bangladesh. Most importantly, I had the honor of meeting and interviewing Muhammad Yunus himself when he visited Los Angeles. It was such a privilege to sit down with Professor Yunus and hear his thoughts on how to eradicate world poverty.

He has a wonderful sense of humor, doesn't he? I met him briefly years ago when I was living in Dhaka at the book launch party of a dear friend, Alex Counts, the author of Small Loans, Big Dreams: How Nobel Prize Winner Muhammad Yunus and Microfinance Are Changing the World. Alex is the President of the Grameen Foundation, which based in Washington D.C.  Okay, moving on. Why do you think that it's important/fun for young people to read biographies?

A good biography is not dry and boring. A good biography is a compelling and engaging story about a person's life and what events inspired him or her to follow a certain path in life that would change the world forever. I love a good plot, but I love a good character even more. To me, a strong biography is one that embraces its main subject as a CHARACTER who faces obstacles and overcomes them with his or her clever initiatives, passion and drive. It's important for young people to read biographies so they can learn how one person CAN make a huge difference in our world. It's also fun for young people because they also are entertained by a suspenseful storyline that shows HOW that one person changed and grew as a result of overcoming their obstacles in life.

Could you sum up for us the dream response of a reader who knows little or nothing about Bangladesh's history and culture?

For me, a dream response of a reader who knows little or nothing abut Bangladesh's history and culture would be their admiration and respect for a country that has never given up, even in the face of war, famine and natural disaster. I would hope readers would be inspired to read more about Bangladesh and its beautiful and complex cultural history as well. And of course, to visit a restaurant and eat the awesome food, especially the many different kinds of pithas that Muhammad loved to eat as a child! :)

Now let's move to the journey of getting the picture book published. What was a high point? A low point?

I researched and wrote several drafts of this book that Jason Low read and critiqued. I revised it quite a bit before it was deemed submission-worthy. The high point was getting the email announcing the exciting news that it had been selected for publication. No matter how many books you write and publish, every new book that is accepted for publication always feels like your first book! It's an exciting feeling that never gets old. I also know picture books can take awhile because you also have to wait for the illustration/art to be completed. So the "low" point was me impatiently waiting and checking my emails obsessively for a sneak peek of the art work! But it was worth the wait - Jamel Akib's art work was phenomenal.

His pastels are gorgeous! I went to his website and want to buy all of his paintings. Okay, next question: what was the biggest change you made in response to an editorial suggestion?

The biggest change I made in response to an editorial suggestion was figuring out how to increase the presence and influence of both Muhammad's mother and father on his growth as a child learning how to become more compassionate and generous. I had focused more on his mother and then was asked to research his relationship with his father more. As a result, I feel the parents' portrayal is much richer and add more depth to what drove Muhammad to become such an advocate for the poor.

Yes, I completely agree. Could you describe a fear you have about this picture book that can keep you up at night?

As a Korean American, I wanted to make sure the portrayal of Muhammad Yunus and his country of Bangladesh were portrayed in the most accurate and authentic way as possible. I channeled into the universal themes that connected me as a human being to Muhammad's life—focusing on the universal themes of his life and his country's history helped me as I triple fact-checked everything. I also found it quite challenging to sum up the history of Bangladesh in such a short amount of text because this was written in the genre of picture books for children, which requires much brevity. Bangladesh has a complex and rich history and I did not want to cheat that historical depth or write anything that was too short and out of context. So I wold say my fear was really more of a concern to make sure Muhammad Yunus and Bangladesh were portrayed in the most authentic light possible.

This book proves without a doubt that authenticity doesn't depend on having the "right" ethnic credentials (whatever that means), but I'd like to explore how much Jamal's Malaysian heritage informed his gut about life in a Muslim country. I'd love to find out what kind of research he did about Bangladeshi cultural practices before finalizing the art. Maybe I'll invite him out here someday. Last but not least: what's next for Paula Yoo in the creative realm?

I'm working on a bunch of manuscripts-in-progress, from a new YA novel idea I have to a couple adult novel ideas, as well as some new picture books (researching new biography topics). I'm also working on a special children's book project that I can't announce yet but stay tuned! :) I also am a TV producer so I'm currently writing for SyFy's DEFIANCE. As for picture books, I host the very popular NAPIBOWRIWEE (National Picture Book Writing Week) event every May 1-7 in which I challenge writers to write 7 picture books in 7 days to help defeat procrastination. (That way everyone has 7 rough drafts they can then pick and choose to revise for the rest of the year!) I feature fun Q and As with published picture book authors and writing advice, plus a fun contest featuring some awesome autographed books from myself and others. The next event takes place May 1-7, 2015.

Thanks so much for spending time out on the Fire Escape with me, Paula, and for writing this book. God bless you and your work in 2015!

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9. Author Interview: Thomas Lee, Author of the Nonfiction Guide REBUILDING EMPIRES

I love interview debut authors when I can. It’s important that aspiring authors be able to see their journeys to publication, so they can understand what they did right & wrong along the way. This interview is with Thomas Lee, author of the nonfiction business guide REBUILDING EMPIRES (Palgrave Macmillan Trade, Dec. 2014).

Thomas Lee is a nationally-recognized business journalist whose work has appeared across the country, including the Star Tribune (Minneapolis), St. Louis Post-Dispatch, Seattle Times, Xconomy.com, MedCityNews.com, and China Daily USA. In 2013, Lee won the Gerald R. Loeb Award for Distinguished Business and Financial Journalism Award, the highest honor for a business journalist. He currently is a business columnist for the San Francisco Chronicle.


Screen Shot 2014-12-17 at 2.38.30 PM  re


What is the book’s genre/category?

Nonfiction business.

Please describe what the story/book is about.

Rebuilding Empires describes how big box retailers like Best Buy and Target will adapt to the digital age.

What was the time frame for writing this book? 

I started writing Rebuilding Empires in September 2013 and took a three month unpaid leave of absence from my job as business reporter at the Star Tribune in Minneapolis. During my time reporting the book, I took trips to Nashville to attend a Best Buy store managers conference and then to Dallas for a Best Buy video game tournament played on the jumbotron at AT&T Stadium where the Cowboys play. In January, while finishing the book, I took a new job at the San Francisco Chronicle. So I obviously had a lot on my plate with a new job, new home, and my first book to complete.

How did you find your agent?

I found my agent John Willig at the Writers Digest East Conference in New York in February 2013. I attended the pitch slam and spoke to eight agents. All eight expressed interest in the project and I ultimately chose John.


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What were your 1-2 biggest learning experience(s) or surprise(s) throughout the publishing process?

Believe it or not, I found the writing and editing process of the book to be relatively easy, partly I suppose because of my background as a journalist. But I was surprised by the conservative nature of the publishing business, that a good deal of the economic risk of the project falls on the author. People should realize that an author is not only selling a project to the publisher but selling himself/herself. That the author must do most of the promotion and develop a marketing strategy, using every single contact and platform at his/her disposal.

Looking back, what did you do right that helped you break in?

It sounds like a cliche but just taking the initiative is probably the biggest factor that allowed me to succeed. I’m pretty sure there are plenty of journalists out there who are way more talented than myself and who want to write books. But many of them don’t take the risk and actually do the damn thing.

On that note, what would you have done differently if you could do it again?

I can always be more organized and disciplined in the writing process.

Did you have a platform in place?  On this topic, what are you doing the build a platform and gain readership?

Since I am a journalist, I already have a natural platform in place. I’ve been using my column at the San Francisco Chronicle to promote the book. I also enjoy a deep list of connections within the news media to help get the word out about Rebuilding Empires. I’ve already done a lot of interviews with radio and television stations so I’m pretty comfortable in front of the camera or behind the microphone.


You can find the book on Amazon here

And a little about me here.

Favorite movie?

I have many favorite movies: Inception, The Dark Knight Returns, Birdman to name of few.

Best piece(s) of writing advice we haven’t discussed?

Always use active verbs. Avoid passive voice if you can.

Something personal about you people may be surprised to know?

I guess you can say I’m an amateur actor: I performed in The King and I and Into the Woods in the Twin Cities.

What’s next?

A second book I hope!


Other writing/publishing articles & links for you:


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10. ”A Tapestry of Experiences Folded into Fiction”; Victoria Lane Talks About ‘Celia and Nonna’

Victoria Lane has made a successful career from writing; as an award-winning financial journalist for many years, editor and correspondent for many leading media publications, and of course, as a picture and chapter book writer for children. Today, we delve into Victoria’s writerly mind as she shares her inspirations behind her touching picture book, Celia […]

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11. Doodles and Drafts – Drawing Boxes with Peter Carnavas

Every once in a while something special sneaks into your life, so unassuming you are barely aware of its presence. However, its ability to change and influence is a forceful undercurrent with powerful impact. It might be meeting a new friend for the first time. It could be finding a dog to call your own. […]

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12. Kylie Westaway Makes a Big Splash with her Debut Picture Book, ‘Whale in the Bath’

Kylie Westaway is the author of her popular debut picture book, Whale in the Bath. She has literally travelled far and wide, worked in foreign schools, events and in theatre. But there’s one thing that has remained constant in her life; her love of writing. Here, I’ll give you the brief run-down of her captivating […]

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13. My Writing and Reading Life: Romina Russell, Author of Zodiac

Romina Russell is a Los Angeles based author who originally hails from Buenos Aires, Argentina. When she’s not working on the ZODIAC series, Romina can be found producing movie trailers, taking photographs, or daydreaming about buying a new drum set. She is a graduate of Harvard College and a Virgo to the core.

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14. Let’s hear if for the boys! – Chrissy Classics you’ve Read with your Kids

As we romp ever closer to that special night of the year, don’t forget to take a moment or two to sit with someone small and share some magic. You never know, it may extend into a lifetime of golden memories. Today’s classics you’ve read with your kids starts out with multi-talented SE QLD writer, […]

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15. BREAKING THE RULES by Katie McGarry {Excerpt Tour & Review}

Welcome to day 3 of the BREAKING THE RULES Excerpt Tour! Review: If you were a fan of Katie McGarry's first book, PUSHING THE LIMITS you're going to be super stoked right now. Two of our favorite characters, Noah and Echo, have their story continued in this super steamy YA/NA crossover. What I loved about this book was that it would've been really easy for Katie to make this just about

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16. Mission Accomplished! Renee Price Launches ‘Digby’s Moon Mission’

New and local indie author, Renee Price, has recently released the growingly popular Digby’s Moon Mission, just in time for Christmas. Fostering children’s natural curiosity and their young imaginations are key elements to creating a successful picture book, and ones that Renee elicits in her picture book. Digby Fixit is a curious boy with a […]

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17. Christmas Classics You’ve Read to your Kids – Gabrielle Wang

Not everyone may have kids, but all of us unavoidably were kids, once. A fair chunk of my childhood centered around books; reading them and collecting them. Certain stories only ever experienced one reading over 30 years ago, but for reasons inexplicable, remain unforgettably potent and as vivid to me as if I’d read them […]

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18. ‘When I see Grandma'; A Compelling Account with Author, Debra Tidball

I love the way award-winning author Debra Tidball describes her view on valuing connectedness across the generations. I also love the sentiment in celebrating people’s personal histories and appreciating who they are now, and then. Having had a grandmother with whom I had a strong bond, ‘When I see Grandma’ really resonated in my heart. […]

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19. Christmas Classics you’ve read to you kids – Christine Bongers

Fellow Boomerang Blogger, Romi Sharp recently congratulated me on hitting my first century. Gob smacked! I mean I don’t even own a cricket bat, let alone know how to hold one. She meant blogs of course. I hardly noticed. They rack up and slip by like birthdays these days. Nonetheless, even numbers deserve celebration (especially […]

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20. Alex Field’s ‘Mr Darcy and the Christmas Pudding’ is a Real Treat

Alex Field‘s talents as an author, publisher and speaker, her love of Christmas pudding, and her overt enthusiasm for Jane Austen all cleverly amalgamate in the latest of her series, Mr Darcy and the Christmas Pudding. Having previously featured her beloved Pride and Prejudice characters in Mr Darcy and Mr Darcy the Dancing Duck, Alex […]

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21. Archimede Fusillo talks about Dead Dog In The Still Of The Night

Award-winning Australian author, Archimede Fusillo delves deep into what it is to be a man in his latest coming-of-age novel for young adults, Dead Dog In The Still Of The Night.  The story follows the journey of Primo as he attempts to navigate his way though his final year of school with an emotionally brittle […]

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22. Ripley’s Fun Facts & Silly Stories 3: An Interview with Ripley Publishing

In this interview, we discuss Fun Facts & Silly Stories 3, the third title in the Ripley’s Believe It or Not® successful Fun Facts and Silly Stories series.

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23. Fun Facts & Silly Stories: The Big One!: An Interview with Ripley Publishing

As the world authority on all that is unbelievable, we're supper excited to chat with Ripley Publishing, an arm of Ripley Entertainment Inc. and the owner of the internationally famous trademark Ripley’s Believe It or Not!

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24. Hey Corinne Fenton, What’s Your Christmas Wish?

Corinne Fenton is established as one of Australia’s treasured authors of beautiful picture books. They often contain an element of social history, and her knowledge and passion for writing is regularly shared in schools, libraries and workshops.   This Christmas, there are TWO Corinne Fenton picture books that are unmissable and will have children from […]

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25. What I’m reading this Christmas: Claire Smith, Walker Books

Thanks for talking to Boomerang Books, Claire Smith.  You’re the marketing assistant at Walker Books, Australia, and you’re going to share your Christmas picks with us. But first let’s find out about you and some books you’ve been working with. Walker Books  (based in Sydney)  is known for its children’s and YA books. Which do […]

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