Welcome to the newest edition of What Was on Her . . . This time with the ridiculously talented Michelle Knudsen!
Mikki is one of those rare individuals who has done it all in the world of children’s literature. Board books, beginning readers, picture books, coloring and activity books, middle-grade novels—all totaling an impressive 43 books so far. She also holds an MFA (from the esteemed Vermont College of Fine Arts), teaches writing, and edits (before at Random House, now on a freelance basis). She has even read her New York Times bestselling Library Lion at a White House Easter Egg Roll! Honestly, is there anything she can’t do?
Apparently not. Because come September 9, she will release her debut young adult novel, Evil Librarian, a story chronicling what happens when your best friend falls madly in love with the new, cute librarian, who also just happens to be seriously evil, in the demonic sense. Kirkus has already reviewed, and it says: ‘Forget paranormal romance; this horror-humor-romance pastiche is where those in search of hot nonhumans should set their sights.’
Horror-Humor-Romance Pastiche! I can’t wait to get my hands on it—and I’m sure you can’t either. But first, let me cede the page to Mikki. Read on to find out What Was on Michelle Knudsen’s . . .
Most Evil Plan: Hmm. This implies that I may have several evil plans, arranged in some kind of hierarchy based on level of evilness. I do have lots of plans, but they are good plans. One or two may be chaotic neutral plans. No evil ones, though. Some of my characters have evil plans (the title character in Evil Librarian, for example, because EVIL) but while I may channel their evil impulses onto the page, I am never tempted to adopt their evil goals as my own. Well, hardly ever.
(I want to add that while reading that over, for a second I thought I’d typed “I am never tempted to adopt their evil goats as my own.” That is also true, just FYI. In addition, I now want to write a story about evil goats.)
To-Do List: At the top: finish writing this post! (Note: if you are reading this, I have succeeded! Hurrah!) Other priorities for today: make some progress on my revision of the third book in my MG fantasy series (follow-up to The Princess of Trelian), do some freelance editing work, get groceries, stop by my local bookstore to pick up my latest order (Elizabeth O. Dulemba’s A Bird on Water Street), clean my apartment (maybe), go for at least a short walk in the perfect lovely weather outside (definitely), and later, meet up with two of my very best friends to have dinner and see Neil Patrick Harris(!!!) in Hedwig and the Angry Inch on Broadway. And then sleep. A lot of sleep.
Metro Route: I live in Sunset Park, Brooklyn, so I’m a D, R, and N train girl.
Karaoke Playlist: Some of my favorites to sing when I can find them:
“Stray Cat Strut” or “Rock this Town” — The Stray Cats
“Kiss Off” — Violent Femmes (or almost any Violent Femmes song, really)
“Touch-A, Touch-A, Touch Me” — The Rocky Horror Picture Show soundtrack
“Humpty Dance” — Digital Underground
“Part of Your World” — The Little Mermaid soundtrack
“Making Love Out of Nothing at All” — Air Supply
“Talk Dirty to Me” — Poison
“Tainted Love” — Soft Cell
“Mr. Brightside” — The Killers
“It’s Not Unusual” — Tom Jones
I would also sing lots of Meat Loaf songs if I didn’t mind making everyone else in the place hate me. So mostly I just sing those by myself in my apartment.
Mind: Right this minute? Adi Rule. I was looking back over other people’s posts while preparing to write this one, and noticed her mention of spiders on her ceiling. Many spiders. She asked, “Can you have too many spiders?” I can’t believe this is even a question. Adi: YES. YES YOU CAN. Do you know how many spiders is too many? ONE. ONE SPIDER IS TOO MANY SPIDERS. I hope I have managed to put this question to rest for you, and for anyone else who may have been unsure. (I love Adi; we were in the same class at VCFA, and she is brilliant and wonderful and talented and funny. But I’m concerned about this spider thing. I just have to be honest about that.)
Calendar: I use many bright colors in my Google calendar to try and make it look pretty and less terrifying. Most of the things are good things, but there are a LOT of them. On the writing-related front, the deadline for my novel revision is coming up fast (July 15, with a backup only-if-I-really-really-need-it date of August 1). I’ve got one more school visit this year, and then in the fall, in addition to more school and library visits, I’ve got (so far) the Princeton Children’s Book Festival, the NAIBA conference, the Texas Book Festival, and the Rochester Children’s Book Festival. On the friends and family front, I’ve got three weddings in the next few months and my BFF’s daughter’s Bat Mitzvah in December. But before anything else, in just a few weeks I’m going to Italy with one of my other best friends, which I am really excited about. I am supposed to be brushing up on my Italian. I should add that to the calendar. Maybe in green.
Order-In Menu: Thank goodness for Seamless. I do try to eat healthy most of the time, but the closer I get to deadlines, the less time I have for cooking and the more I rely on whatever is easy and fast (and tasty). Sometimes I think I see the delivery guy from my local Thai place more than I see anyone else (recurring order: chicken pad see ew, edamame, vegetable dumplings or spring rolls). Since I’m not quite in deadline-emergency mode yet, I’m planning to make a big batch of chicken and vegetable stir-fry tomorrow night (leftovers = a busy girl’s best friend). But I suspect after that I’ll be seeing my Thai delivery buddy more and more often as July 15 gets closer and closer and closer.
Kitchen Table: Books I picked up at BEA that I haven’t physically moved into my to-read stacks yet. Rick Steves’s travel guides for Rome, Florence, and Tuscany. A pile of early paper drafts of Evil Librarian that I guess I can probably move to storage at this point, but haven’t had time to deal with. My iPod Nano charger. A couple of recently purchased bars of heavenly smelling almond soap. An open box of Cinnamon Toast Crunch (I said I eat healthy most of the time…). Quarters for laundry. That’s a lot of things, I guess. I should add cleaning off my table to today’s to-do list.
Upcoming Project List: After Evil Librarian, which comes out September 9, my next book will be a picture book called MARILYN’S MONSTER. It’s being illustrated by the amazing Matt Phelan (author/illustrator of beautiful books like Bluffton and the soon-to-be-released Druthers) and I could not be more excited! I have it on excellent authority that he recently finished the final art. I haven’t seen it yet, and the anticipation is kind of killing me, but in that good, I’m-so-happy-I-almost-don’t-care-that-the-waiting-is-making-me-die-inside kind of way. That book is scheduled for spring 2015. In addition to the current Trelian novel in progress (which will probably be called THE MAGE OF TRELIAN, and is scheduled for fall 2015), I’m also working on the plot outline for a sequel to Evil Librarian. It will involve theater camp. Where scary bad things will happen, but also musical theater will happen, too. And swoony romance. And more demons, of course. As for whether the evil librarian himself will make another appearance … you will have to wait and see. After that … I am working on another picture book (too early to say much about that one yet, but it may involve cats) and then will start thinking about the next novel. That’s about as far ahead as I can plan without going completely crazy, so I’ll stop there. 🙂
Michelle Knudsen Michelle Knudsen Michelle Knudsen
To keep up to date with Michelle Knudsen, follow her at michelleknudsen.com, on Facebook at /michelleknudsen.author, and on Twitter at @michelleknudsen. And last but not least, you can pre-order Evil Librarian by clicking below.
Be sure to stop by again on June 20 for A.B. Westrick, the author of the impressive debut Brotherhood, and on July 10 for William Alexander, the winner of the 2012 Naitonal Book Award and author of the upcoming Ambassador.
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