Diary of a 5th Grade Outlaw Series, Interview with Middle Grade Author, Gina Loveless
Apr 17th, 2020 by Liza Wiemer

From Goodreads: (Book 1)

Robin Loxley, the 5th grade outlaw of Nottingham Elementary, tells all! From Epic! Originals comes a comic-inspired illustrated novel series that treats growing up as an adventure.

Fifth grade has just started, and the school bully, Nadia, already rules recess with an unfair Playground Tax. Robin refuses to be pushed around, but all she can think about is winning back her best friend, Mary Ann, after a disastrous fallout over the summer. To do so, she will have to stand up to Nadia, face the wrath of Assistant Principal Johnson, and become a legendary outlaw at Nottingham Elementary—all while forming a merry band of new friends along the way.

From Goodreads: Book 2

In Book 2 of the Diary of a 5th Grade Outlaw series, life is going great for Robin Loxley—until a friend thief comes along and threatens to ruin everything!

After her victory over Nadia, the playground bully, Robin has her old best friend back, plus a whole gang of new friends! But when that Nadia tries to steal away all of the people she holds dear, will Robin be able to keep her band of merry misfits together? Find out in Robin’s second illustrated diary—a tell-all about growing up, dealing with bullies, and trying to do what’s right.


Question: Share with readers a novel secret—something that readers will never know just from picking up the book. It could be a place you included in the novel, a name you gave to a character inspired by another person, special research you did.
Answer: When I imagine a fictionalized world’s location, I always take a real world’s location and then tweak a thing here or there about it. So while Nottingham Elementary school’s playground can’t be found at any real school, it shares a lot of similarities to Lehigh Parkway Elementary School, where I went to K-5. 
Question: What is it about your book that you think will have MG readers hooked?
Answer: I hope there are many things that will hook a kid into the Diary of a 5th Grade Outlaw series! One thing would be the hybrid nature of the book. Kids will feel like this isn’t a totally normal “book” because they’ll get breaks from reading traditional text every few pages, thanks to the awesome comic pages and illustrations by Andrea Bell. 
It’s my hope that Robin’s tough girl attitude, humor, confidence, and belief in doing what’s right are all reasons kids will be drawn to her as a protagonist. 
Question: Why did you want to write for MG kids?
Answer: That middle grade age range – from eight to twelve years old – was some of the hardest time for me, as a kid. But I always had a positive perspective on life, even if I wasn’t well liked because kids thought I was strange. My goal as an author is to help every kid–no matter how different they feel they are because of the way they see the world–to feel like it’s okay to be that way. 

Bonus round: What do you prefer?

Laundry, dishes, dusting, vacuuming? None? Haha! Cooking is the main chore I do in my house, and I love it because it lets me creative at something other than writing. 
Flying, sailing, walking, driving? Walking for sure. Walking through parks, walking my rescue dog Gerdie around my neighborhood, and walking along the rails trails and in the woods are all my favorites!
Movies at home or movies in a theater? Well, I love going to the theater, but right now, social distancing is a must, so all my movies will be watched at home for quite awhile.
Peas, carrots, Brussels sprouts, spinach? All of them, please! I’m a big veggie head. In fact I grow all of those (except carrots) in my vegetable garden.
Watch baseball, football, soccer, tennis, ice skating or gymnastics? I don’t have cable, so sadly I haven’t watched any sports in awhile. But I’m a big soccer and tennis fan. 

About Gina Loveless:

It was five years after Gina Loveless earned an MFA from California Institute of the Arts that she realized her mission as an author was to write books that helped all the weird kids of the world feel less alone. When she’s not writing or reading, Gina can be found in Eastern PA, boogying at concerts with her husband, tending to their awesome produce garden, or snuggling with her rescue dog Gerdie.
Diary of a 5th Grade Outlaw series, The Friend Thief, came out on April 14th. Please consider going to Let’s Play Books, the Indie bookstore that hosted a virtual launch party for Gina’s book!

Note from the author:

The second book in the Diary of a 5th Grade Outlaw series, The Friend Thief, came out April 14th. I hosted a virtual launch event with the independent book store Let’s Play Books! Seven incredible debut and established authors and illustrators joined me for a whole day of activities. You can find all of the videos, including my live reading and Q&A, on my Facebook page (facebook.com/lovelesswriting), and all of the videos with the other authors on my Instagram (@lovelesswriting) Find me on Twitter.

This pandemic has upended the lives and businesses of so many people. Personally, all of my in-person launch events were cancelled. It’s also hit my local indie book store especially hard. I live in a state with shelter-in-place happening right now, which has made it difficult for so many local businesses. Because I’m such a champion for in-person book stories, and because my local indie, Let’s Play Books, is such a champion for me, I would like to encourage orders of my book to go through them. If you are local to the eastern PA/ Lehigh Valley area, you can order the newest book on their website here: https://www.letsplaybooks.com/book/9781524855741 and here for the first book: https://www.letsplaybooks.com/book/9781524855482. If you’re not local, they created a wonderful list of all the authors that participated in my event, along with my books, which can be ordered here: https://bookshop.org/lists/gina-loveless-book-launch-list

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