Today we’re excited to chat with Sarah S. Reida, author
of Monsterville: A Lissa Black Production!
Below you’ll find more about Sarah,
her book, plus a
YABC: What surprised you most while writing your latest book?
SARAH REIDA: Monsterville is told from the viewpoint of a thirteen-year-old girl who loves film-making and sees the world through the lens of a camera. Lissa pictures how things would look if captured in an aerial shot, crane shot, etc., even crafts scenes and dialogue in her head. (Because of that, the book is semi-educational in that in teaches kids film terms).
When I was writing Monsterville, I was surprised at how easy it was to write that film obsession. I bought books on screenwriting, and I found that I already knew a lot about film. (I’m a huge movie fan). Also, I loved, LOVED the book Save the Cat! by Blake Snyder, which illustrates the “beats” a movie should follow for plot and structure: https://timstout.wordpress.com/story- structure/blake-snyders-beat-sheet/. I mapped out Monsterville against the beats and was thrilled to see that it naturally already followed them.
YABC: If you could live in any fantasy world, which one would it be?
SARAH REIDA: I would like to sail on The Onion, the magical pirate ship in Claire Fayers’ wonderful Voyage to Magical North. I have always wanted to say to someone, “Arrrr! Show me your booty!” And fight piranha penguins with a sword.
YABC: Do you have a mantra that gets you through the drafting phase?
SARAH REIDA: My favorite movie for writers is Throw Mama from the Train. Billy Crystal (a failed novelist with writer’s block) is always telling his creative writing class, “a writer writes, always!” Even if I’m having trouble or something isn’t working, I don’t (can’t) give up because ultimately I’m writing for myself and because I love the craft.
YABC: What is your favorite hobby when you’re not writing?
SARAH REIDA: Collecting rescue animals. My husband and I have four cats and a dog, all of which were rescues. Recently I rescued two cats some Special Human had abandoned by the road and got them into a great foster home. I’m so proud that Calvin and Hobbes are safe, happy and loved now.
YABC: Which character gave you the most trouble when writing your latest book?
SARAH REIDA: No particular character was a thorn in my side, but Haylie was the most difficult. I personally am not a fan of cutesy characters, so I was careful not to go there with Lissa’s adorable four-year- old sister. I was happy with how she turned out – gutsy and smart. Even if Lissa needed to save Haylie from monsters, Haylie wasn’t some helpless damsel in distress.
YABC: Do you enjoy writing to music? If so, do you have a go-to playlist?
SARAH REIDA: I almost always listen to music when I’m writing. I love Gavin DeGraw. He is so underrated; I don’t know any other musician who sings with his whole body the way he does. I also have Sheryl Crow, Taylor Swift, Eminem, and Katy Perry on every playlist.
YABC: Is there an organization or cause that is close to your heart?
SARAH REIDA: I’m an attorney for veterans, and I’m active with the National Veteran Small Business Coalition. Those folks do a wonderful job representing veteran business owners doing work for the federal government.
YABC: What’s a book that you’ve read recently that you would recommend to your readers?
SARAH REIDA: My readers are middle schoolers, so of the books I’ve read, I would say Liar and Spy by Rebecca Stead. It is so well done, and the twist at the end is brilliant. Also, I know a lot of kids who aren’t big into reading, and it’s short.
YABC: Which part of the writing process do you enjoy more: Drafting or Revising?
SARAH REIDA: Are you kidding? Drafting! Revising is the pits. When you’re drafting, the book and the idea are fresh and new; when you’re revising, sometimes the end goal is simply to get it out the door. Also, you don’t have that sense of accomplishment from seeing your word count change at the bottom of your MS Word document.
YABC: What would you say is your superpower?
SARAH REIDA: I can sit and write for hours without getting bored or stuck. And on the days when I’m just not feelin’ it, I know to stay away from my manuscript.
Also, I can see through time.
Meet Monsterville: A Lissa Black Production!
Beware what lurks beneath your bed. . . . It could lead to a monstrous adventure.
Thirteen-year-old Lissa Black is miserable when her parents force her to move from New York City (the perfect home for an aspiring writer/director/actress) to Freeburg, Pennsylvania, nowhere capital of the world. There’s nothing to do there, except play her little sister Haylie’s favorite new game, Monsterville, and hang out with her new neighbor Adam.
But when a walk in the woods lands her face-to-face with a swamp monster hungry for brains and then a Sasquatch that moos, even Lissa can’t call her new home totally boring. With Adam’s help, she catches the culprit behind the drama: a shape-shifting goblin who’s fled from the monster world of Down Below.
And what do you do with a creature that can be literally anything? Make monster movies, of course! Lissa is convinced that Blue will be the secret to her big break.
But when Haylie goes missing on Halloween, Lissa, Adam, and the monster must venture Down Below to stage a rescue—and face the real Monsterville, which is anything but a game.
Monsterville is a fusion of The Boxtrolls, Jumanji, and Candyland, weaving together friendship, family, and monsters into a funny fantasy-horror brimming with heart from a great new middle grade voice.
Meet Sarah S. Reida!
Sarah S. Reida is a writer, lawyer, and ugly animal advocate. Growing up in the Midwest (Illinois, to be precise), she read everything she could get her hands on, as well as watched many, many movies during her parents’ “camping” trips involving electricity and s’mores in a microwave. A member of The Sweet Sixteens, Sarah’s debut middle grade novel, “Monstervile: A Lissa Black Production,” is her first novel.
A graduate of Saint Louis University (B.A). and Case Western Reserve University School of Law (J.D.), Sarah makes a living helping veteran business owners compete for federal contracts. She and her husband Scott live in the Atlanta area with their dog and four cats. By the time this biography reaches print, they will probably have
acquired another animal.
Monsterville: A Lissa Black Production
By: Sarah S. Reida
Release Date: September 20, 2016