September 23rd, 2009


Today on the blog tour I'll be interviewing Kate Messner, author of THE BRILLIANT FALL OF GIANNA Z.

About The Brilliant Fall of Gianna Z

Gianna Zales has a lot on her plate this fall – a father who drives her to school in the family hearse, a mother who’s turned into the junk food police, a little brother who thinks he’s a member of the paparazzi, and a grandmother who leaves false teeth in the refrigerator. Worst of all, she’s left her 7th grade leaf collection to do at the last minute. It’s a monster project, and Gianna will miss cross-country sectionals if she doesn’t meet the deadline. She’ll need the help of her geeky friend, Zig, and some brilliant ideas of her own to pull it off.

About Kate Messner

Kate Messner grew up in Medina, New York and graduated from Syracuse University’s S.I. Newhouse School of Communication with a degree in Broadcast Journalism. She worked as a television news producer and reporter in Syracuse, NY and then Burlington, VT, before going back to school to get a teaching degree. These days, Kate is a National Board Certified middle school English teacher. She has helped hundreds of kids work on leaf collection projects and likes sugar maples and catalpa leaves the best. Kate lives on Lake Champlain with her husband and kids and loves spending time in the woods.

Me: Welcome, Kate, thanks for taking time to answer some questions today.  Tell us, what competes for your time and how do you manage to give writing the appropriate amount of time it requires?

Kate: An awful lot competes for my time! I teach middle school English and have two kids, so most of my writing happens after they're in bed at night.

Me: What is your writing routine? Do you outline or write as you go? Do you fully sketch and develop your main character initially, or get to know him/her as you write?

Kate: Usually, I have an idea that haunts me for a while, and I sort of carry it around and try out different version of it and generally let it grow in my head before I start writing. Then I usually plunge in with a very rough outline, if any, and revise a lot later on to clean up my messes. My latest project, though, is a middle grade mystery, and after several false starts, I figured out that I really needed to outline in more detail first. Mysteries are like that.

Me: What do you particularly love about the setting you portray in your book?

Kate: It's autumn in Vermont! What's not to love? Fall has always been a favorite for me, so celebrating it in THE BRILLIANT FALL OF GIANNA Z. was lots of fun. I spent a lot of time outside hiking for "research."

Me: Fall in New England is gorgeous! What actor or actress do you imagine playing your main character in a movie or T.V. version of your book?

Kate: Hmm...I'm not sure about Gianna, but a younger, more disheveled Daniel Radcliffe would be great as her best friend Zig.

Me: Great. Thanks for stopping in and best of luck!

Additional Details

o Author Web site:

o Bookstore links: