Joint Author Spotlight: Lisa Moore Ramée, Nicole Melleby, Nicole Panteleakos

May 10, 2019

Today we feature three debut MG authors:

  • Lisa Moore Ramée, A GOOD KIND OF TROUBLE (Balzer + Bray, March 2019)
  • Nicole Melleby, HURRICANE SEASON (Algonquin Young Readers May 7, 2019)
  • Nicole Panteleakos, PLANET EARTH IS BLUE (Wendy Lamb Books, May 14, 2019)
Enter to win all three books!


Author of A GOOD KIND OF TROUBLE (Balzer + Bray, March 2019)

About the book: A GOOD KIND OF TROUBLE tells the story of trouble-allergic Shayla, who just wants to get through her first year of junior high with her friendships intact, avoid the bully that seems to be after her, get the cute boy to notice her, and learn to jump hurdles for track. Easy right? Nope. Not only does everything seem to be going wrong, some kids are saying she’s not Black enough and Shayla’s feeling trouble creep up on her. I was inspired by a lot of things: my experiences growing up, my daughter’s, the confusion of growing up, and also (and maybe most importantly) the Black Lives Matter movement.

Art © Alleanna Harris  Cover designer: Aurora Parlagreco

Classic MG favorites: PHANTOM TOLLBOOTH by Norton Juster; THE LONG SECRET by Louise Fitzhugh; ARE YOU THERE GOD, IT'S ME MARGARET by Judy Blume; WITCH OF BLACKBIRD POND by Elizabeth George Speare

Recent MG picks: EVENTOWN, by Corey Ann Haydu; THE LAND OF FORGOTTEN GIRLS by Erin Estrada Kelly; AMAL UNBOUND by Aisah Saeed

One thing most people don't know: I’m pretty much an open book, so there’s not much! That I’m left-handed. That I did not want to be a writer until post-college.

Where to find you online: 
Instagram and Twitter I’m @leeseray 

Lisa Moore Ramée was born and raised in Los Angeles and now lives in the Northern California, with her husband, two kids, two obnoxious cats and more yard than she can control. She earned a BA in Speech Communications from San Francisco State (go Gators!) and a MA in English Literature (focusing on Creative Writing) from Cal State East Bay. She worked for several years in publishing, for the Walt Disney Company, first in comics, and then with licensed publishing. While there, she co-penned The Little Mermaid, Jr. Graphic Novel and the writing bug took up permanent residence. She is a devotee of Top Chef and Project Runway and often tries to work the shows in her plots. A Good Kind of Trouble is her first novel.


Author of HURRICANE SEASON (Algonquin Young Readers May 7, 2019)

About the book: HURRICANE SEASON is, at its simplest, a story about a girl and her dad and their struggle to understand each other and his bipolar disorder. I started writing it almost immediately after taking a trip to London. I was in a bit of a rut, and I knew I wanted to write a story about a father/daughter relationship ever since I came out to my dad, but I didn’t know what else the story needed to be about. I went by myself one morning to the National Gallery of London during my trip, and a tour guide was talking about Van Gogh and mental illness. Everything just clicked and fell into place in my head from there. 

cover art © David Litchfield

Classic MG favorites: HOLES by Louis Sachar (Kissin’ Kate Barlow was definitely one of my first fictional crushes) and HARRIET THE SPY by Louise Fitzhugh has a very special place in my heart. 

Recent MG picks: IVY ABERDEEN’S LETTER TO THE WORLD by Ashley Herring Blake and HURRICANE CHILD by Kheryn Callendar were two of my very favorite MG books from last year (and in general!)

One thing most people don't know: The very first story I ever wrote was when I was eight, and it was basically a knockoff blend of TALES OF A FOURTH GRADE NOTHING by Judy Blume and the movie MEN IN BLACK, during which I casted myself and my cousin Kristy as the leading roles. 

Where to find you online:  Twitter: @LadyNeeko  Instagram: NicoleMelleby 

Nicole Melleby is a born-and-bred Jersey girl with a passion for storytelling. She studied creative writing at Fairleigh Dickinson University and currently teaches creative writing and literature courses with a handful of local universities. Her debut novel, HURRICANE SEASON (Algonquin Young Readers) was called “a thoughtful portrayal of mental illness with queer content that avoids coming-out clichés” in Kirkus, and, in a starred review, School Library Journal said, “Fig’s story will engage middle grade readers who enjoy thoughtful novels that address complex topics. It may even inspire them to seek out the works of van Gogh.” When she’s not writing, Nicole can be found browsing the shelves at her local comic shop or watching soap operas with a cup of tea.


Author of PLANET EARTH IS BLUE (Wendy Lamb Books, May 14, 2019)

About the story: PLANET EARTH IS BLUE is the story of Nova, a twelve-year-old nonverbal autistic girl counting down the days until Challenger launches because her missing big sister promised to return so they can watch it together. I was inspired in equal parts by my childhood obsession with newsworthy disasters/tragedies and the song Space Oddity by David Bowie, which is where the title is from. In the song, an astronaut gets jettisoned out in space and there’s nothing he can do about it – I wanted to write a book like that, in which a kid experiences tragedy (the Challenger) and cannot do anything to fix or change it, but has to learn how to cope and move forward. 

 art © Jungsuk Lee, cover design by Leslie Mechanic

Classic MG favorites: Not sure how old a book has to be to be a classic, but as a kid I loved Betty Ren Wright’s THE DOLLHOUSE MURDERS, THE BABYSITTERS CLUB series by Ann M. Martin, and SO FAR FROM THE BAMBOO GROVE by Yoko Kawashima Watkins. I am also an obsessive fan of Alice in Wonderland/Through the Looking Glass – I own around 75 different versions. Oh, and my favorite Harry Potter book is the ORDER OF THE PHOENIX. I love sarcastic Professor McGonagall!

Recent MG picks: So many! My favorite book of all time is WHEN YOU REACH ME by Rebecca Stead. It is absolutely perfectly written. Sometimes I pick it up and start reading at a random place and get emotional all over again. Other favorites include Rita Williams’ Garcia’s ONE CRAZY SUMMER and PS: BE ELEVEN, MY LIFE WITH THE LIARS by Caela Carter, WHERE THE MOUNTAIN MEETS THE MOON by Grace Lin, CATERPILLAR SUMMER by Gillian McDunn, NINE, TEN, A SEPTEMBER 11th STORY by Nora Raleigh Baskin, THE THING ABOUT JELLYFISH by Ali Benjamin, and THE SKIN I'M IN by Sharon Flake (though that one’s a bit older).

One thing most people don't know: I’ve done theatre since I was about five or six years old, and one of my first roles was as a shoeshine boy in a play my grandmother wrote about a World War II soldier coming home. My grandfather played the man whose shoes I shined and at the end of the performance he let me keep the nickel my character earned. My first ‘paying’ gig! My last role was the title character in Sylvia by A.R. Gurney, in which I played a dog and had to ‘bark’ a long list of curse words at an invisible cat while on a leash. It was super fun!

Where to find you online:  On my website,, or on Twitter & Instagram @nicwritesbooks. They can also find Planet Earth is Blue on Goodreads, Indiebound, Penguin Random House, Barnes & Noble and Amazon!

Nicole Panteleakos is an author, playwright, and Ravenclaw. Her debut middle grade novel PLANET EARTH IS BLUE (Wendy Lamb Books, Penguin Random House) is available May 14, 2019. When not writing, she can usually be found reading fanfiction, playing board games, doing community theatre, or adding to her Alice in Wonderland coffee cup collection. She splits her time between Brooklyn, NY and eastern CT and names her cats after authors: Shakespeare, Dickens, Beckett, (Mary) Shelley, and Poe.

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  1. WOW! These books look amazing. I'm especially interested in the one which tackles bipolar disorder, this is important to talk about. Congrats, all!

  2. All of these are must reads for me. Amazing and exciting characters and their emotional journeys will be fun to get to know and follow.

  3. What original concepts for these books!

  4. What great books! Each one sounds so interesting and engaging! Well done and congratulations!


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