Sue Fliess is the author of the new children's picture book Beatrice Bly's Rules for Spies: Mystery Goo. Her many other books include Beatrice Bly's Rules for Spies: The Missing Hamster. She lives in Northern Virginia.
Q: What inspired this new story about young spy Beatrice Bly?
A: Since I’ve never really written a series before, I was entering new ground. But thankfully, I could rely on the fact that Beatrice was getting more skilled, so I decided to give her an even tougher mission in book 2.
And I wanted to incorporate science into it somehow. With the plot surrounding a mystery goo, scientific discovery was bound to play a part.
I had also introduced the world to her BFF Nora, so it was a chance to really showcase both of their personalities.
Q: How would you describe the dynamic between Beatrice and Nora?
A: They are best friends who have very different ideas of what is important, but of course, friendship triumphs over all. Beatrice is the distracted one who is serious, but only about spying. Nora is a dedicated student, but she is also a good friend.
The spying and the science fair project are happening simultaneously, and pulling both girls in two different directions. Fortunately, the two are able to find a balance between the two, and rely on their friendship to accomplish their goals.
Q: Did you need to do any research for this book?
A: Yes, lots! I had done a lot of spy research for the first one, that I also used in book two, but for this one, I knew they would be making hypotheses about different types of gooey substances, so I was literally looking at images (via the internet) of various substances under a microscope. This is what the girls do in the book, so I didn’t want to guess. *spoiler alert* I also did a lot of research on honey bees!
Q: What do you hope kids take away from the story?
A: That following your passions is important and can lead to unexpected joys, whether it’s a sport, an art, spying, or science!
Q: What are you working on now?
A: I’m always working on many ideas. Some are spoken for by editors and some are not. Currently I’m working on some backmatter for a fictional submarine story and researching octopuses for a nonfiction book. But I’m also writing another fractured fairytale.
--Interview with Deborah Kalb. Here's a previous Q&A with Sue Fliess.