Today we are chatting with Nina Moreno, author of Join the Club, Maggie Diaz
Read on for more about her, the book, and a giveaway!
Meet Nina Moreno:
Nina Moreno was born and raised in Miami until a hurricane sent her family toward the pines of Georgia where she picked up an accent. She’s a proud University of Florida Gator who once had her dream job of shelving books at the library. Inspired by the folklore and stories passed down to her from her Cuban and Colombian family, she now writes about Latinas chasing their dreams, falling in love, and navigating life in the hyphen. Her first novel, Don’t Date Rosa Santos, was a Junior Library Guild Selection, Indie Next Pick for teen readers, and SIBA Okra Pick. She is also the author of Our Way Back to Always.
About The Book: Join the Club, Maggie Diaz
This humorous and heartfelt middle-grade debut by Nina Moreno with illustrations by Courtney Lovett is perfect for fans of Celia C. Pérez and Terri Libenson, and any reader still deciding what their passion in life is.
“MAYBE I’M GOOD AT SOMETHING I DON’T EVEN KNOW ABOUT YET.”
Everyone in Maggie Diaz’s life seems to be finding their true passion. The one thing that defines them as a person. Her best friends Zoey and Julian are too busy to hang out after school thanks to band and comics club. Mom is finishing her last semester in college. And Maggie’s perfect older sister Caro is perfectly-perfect at sports and tutoring.
So Maggie cooks up a plan to join every club she can! But trying to fit in with type-A future leaders, gardening whizzes, and the fearless kids in woodshop is intimidating, exhausting, and seriously confusing. And juggling homework, friends, and all of her after-school activities is way harder than it looks.
Seventh grade is all about figuring out who you are — good thing Maggie Diaz has the perfect plan!
What gave you the inspiration to write this book?
Maggie’s plight for freedom and defining herself in a really tangible and cool way is one I deeply related to when I was her age and while I was writing this story. I started the first draft of this book in February of 2020 when so much around me was changing so quickly. And just like Maggie, I missed my friends and I missed the certainty of knowing what I was doing.
Who is your favorite character in the book?
I really loved writing about Maggie’s older sister, Caro. She’s probably like, the coolest character I’ve ever gotten to write. So, Maggie, of course, thinks she’s the worst, but Caro has a lot of vulnerabilities too. I love the whole Diaz crew, but their sister dynamic is one of my favorite relationships in the book.
Which came first, the title or the novel?
The novel! The title changed only a little bit though, and always included her name, which is a detail I really love.
Do you have a favorite writing snack?
I don’t really like to eat while I’m writing but I always have coffee or tea and my big cup of water that I take everywhere. I’m pretty sure it’s like a security blanket at this point.
Thinking way back to the beginning, what’s the most important thing you’ve learned as a writer from then to now?
One of the most important things I’ve learned as a writer is that I will learn more about my craft with every project, and yet every single time I start something new it will feel like I have to learn everything all over again. It never gets easier, but I know I’m getting stronger.
What do you like most about the cover of the book?
Is it fair to say everything? Because I love everything about the cover. Courtney Lovett, the illustrator, has been a total dream to work with and her art has elevated the story so much. I love everything from the colors to Maggie’s style and all the story details around her. There’s so much personality in her expression even down to how she’s sitting and it’s those details throughout the book that just take my breath away whenever I see Courtney’s work.
What’s on your TBR pile?
I’ll be reading Love from Scratch by Kaitlyn Hill next which will be out in April. Kaitlyn is a fellow romance reader and fan and her debut is a foodie YA romcom. Or as she likes to call it…a nom-com. I’m already sold.
What’s a book you’ve recently read and loved?
Cuba in My Pocket by Adrianna Cuevas is one of the most remarkable books I’ve read this year. I think Adrianna has one of the freshest MG writing voices and she wrote a difficult story with so much love and light.
What’s up next for you?
I have stories in two YA anthologies that will also be out this year, Reclaim the Stars and Game On, and I’m really proud of both. I’m currently working on something I can’t talk about yet, because life in publishing means always having something you can’t talk about yet.
Which part of the writing process do you enjoy more: Drafting or revising?
Whichever one I’m not currently doing, haha! The blank page is incredibly intimidating, but I do love the freedom of drafting knowing you’ll return to make it better, which allows you to keep moving forward and get words on the page. But for me, there’s nothing like the magic of revising when the pieces click together. It’s such a relief when your manuscript finally starts feeling and reading like that initial spark of an idea that inspired you to write it in the first place.
Book’s Title: Join the Club, Maggie Diaz
Author: Nina Moreno
Illustrator: Courtney Lovett
Release Date: May 17, 2022
Publisher: Scholastic Press
Genre: Juvenile Fiction / Humorous Stories
Age Range: Ages 8-12, Grades 3-7
Three winners will receive a copy of Join the Club, Maggie Diaz (Nina Moreno) ~US Only
*Click the Rafflecopter link below to enter the giveaway*