Author Spotlight: Niki Lenz
Oct. 16, 2020
We are excited to feature middle grade author Niki Lenz and her recent novel, THE STEPMOM SHAKEUP (Random House Books for Young Readers, 2020). Enter to win a copy (US only)!
|Design by Michelle Cunningham, art by Susann Hoffmann
Tell us about yourself and how you came to write for children.
Hi! My name is Niki Lenz, and I am the author of BERNICE BUTTMAN, MODEL CITIZEN and most recently THE STEPMOM SHAKE-UP. I started writing novels back when I was a stay at home mom, mostly just out of boredom! It gave my brain someplace to go while I was changing diapers and washing dishes. I’d always loved reading and enjoyed writing, but I’d never thought about seriously perusing a career as an author. But once I typed THE END on my first novel I was hooked!
Congrats on your recent middle grade novel, THE STEPMOM SHAKEUP. Tell us about the book and what inspired you.
THE PARENT TRAP was one of my very favorite movies when I was a kid. I loved the team-up between the girls and the hilarious pranks on the adults. So I wanted to write a story that had the same kind of friendship and shenanigans but maybe without the whole lying-about-having-a-twin thing.
Here's a trailer for the book:
Was your road to publication long and winding, short and sweet, or something in between?
I think a lot of people would say that my road to publication was short, comparatively speaking. It took me several years, and around 300 rejections on three different novels before I got my agent. And then the book she signed me with didn’t sell after a year on submission. But lucky novel number four was BERNICE BUTTMAN, MODEL CITIZEN, the bully with a heart of gold that we’ve all come to know and love.
What projects are you working on now?
Right now, I am working on the project of going back to work full time teaching fourth grade! I don’t have much space in my brain for writing new stories at the moment, but luckily my agent has some completed manuscripts that we are about to submit. They are all pretty much contemporary middle grade- funny, but with heart.
What advice would you give to aspiring authors?
Read, read, read. If the last middle grade book you read was written in the 1950’s you need to read what came out last year! Whatever age level you write for you need to be really familiar with what it currently on the market.
What is one thing most people don't know about you?
One thing most people don’t know about me is that I have a really good memory for song lyrics. You cannot stump me at Name That Tune.
Where can people find you online?
For the most current info about books and event go to www.NikiLenz.com
I am @NikiRLenz on Twitter
And @Smile4Niki on Instagram
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