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Interview With Claire Swinarski, Debut Middle Grade Author of WHAT HAPPENS NEXT
Jul 17th, 2020 by Liza Wiemer

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About WHAT HAPPENS NEXT from Goodreads:

In this heartfelt and accessible middle grade novel perfect for fans of The Thing About Jellyfish, a young girl throws herself into solving a local mystery to keep from missing her older sister, who has been sent to an eating disorder treatment facility.

Astronomy-obsessed Abby McCourt should be thrilled about the solar eclipse her small town of Moose Junction is about to witness, but she’s not. After her older sister Blair was sent away for an eating disorder, Abby has been in a funk.

Desperate to dull the pain her sister’s absence has left, she teams up with a visiting astronomer to help track down his long-lost telescope. Though this is supposed to take Abby’s mind off the distance between her and Blair, what she finds may bring her closer to her sister than she ever thought possible.

Q &A:

1. Was there anything that surprised you while writing this novel? If so, what? 

Something that surprised me was how easily the characters voices were able to come to me. I’ve written plenty of stories, but these characters felt so real to me that this was the easiest writing project I’ve ever done! 

2. Any novel secrets? Something that readers wouldn’t know just from reading your book like special inspirations, places or people you interwove into the text?  

The town of Moose Junction is based heavily off of Boulder Junction, a northwoods resort town that my family has a home in. Many of the small places mentioned, like the Cranberry Patch Gift Shop and the Ice Shanty, are real! Sadly, I’ve never actually been to the library–ha!

3. What do you love about your cover and how does it connect to your story? 

Pascal Campion is the illustrator who made the cover, and I’m absolutely obsessed with it. He drew the main character, Abby, looking at the stars, which makes sense–she’s a total astronomy nerd and there’s a solar eclipse happening during the story. Abby can frequently be found with her telescope, so I love that the cover captures her in her natural habitat, and the feel of a summer night just buzzes through the illustration! I can almost smell the s’mores just looking at it. 

Bonus round: What do you prefer?

Coffee, Tea, or Hot Chocolate?

Winter, Spring, Summer, or Fall

Fries or onion rings? Neither–cheese curds! I’m a Wisconsin gal through and through! 🙂 

Movie at a theater or watch a movie at home?

Ice cream: Chocolate, Strawberry or Vanilla?

About Claire Swinarski:

The short version: Claire Swinarski is the author of multiple books, including What Happens Next (coming in 2020 from HarperCollins) and Girl, Arise: A Catholic Feminist’s Invitation to Live Boldly, Love Your Faith, and Change the World. She’s also the founder of the Catholic Feminist Podcast, a top-ranked spirituality podcast with half a million downloads that discusses the intersection between faith and women’s issues. She has degrees in journalism and political science from the University of Wisconsin-Madison and her writing has been featured in The Washington Post, Seventeen, Milwaukee Magazine, and many other publications. She lives just outside of Milwaukee, WI with her husband and two kids.

Find Claire: Website | Goodreads | Twitter | Instagram

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