Monday, June 12, 2023

Q&A with Terri Libenson




Terri Libenson is the author of the new middle grade graphic novel Surprisingly Sarah. It's the latest in her Emmie & Friends series. Libenson lives in Cleveland.


Q: Why did you decide to write from the perspectives of Sarah and her friend Leo in your new novel?


A: I wanted to experiment with a unique story format, like a “sliding doors” or “choose your own adventure” type of book.


I thought Sarah would be the perfect character for this. She is very diplomatic and tends to weigh things out, so I could picture her making two different decisions so the reader can see how each one plays out.


As for Leo, I created him to be Sarah’s best friend who goes along for the ride(s). He turned out to be such a great character and his personality really shines. Sarah’s decisions test their friendship, so you’ll have to see how everything gets resolved.


Q: What do you think the novel says about friendship?


A: I think it says that TRUE friendship will weather most storms, and that it is worth working on or fighting for.


Q: Do you think your characters have changed at all from the beginning of the series until now?


A: Definitely. Emmie has come out of her shell a bit, Brianna has learned to be braver and empathetic, Tyler learns he doesn’t have to play it cool all the time, Ruby and Sarah have learned their own worthiness in different ways, and Jaime and Maya have learned what true friendship is. They are growing up (sniffle)!


Q: What do you hope kids take away from the story?


A: I hope they gain a little knowledge about navigating tricky or complicated friendship situations. That is truly life and definitely middle school!


Q: What are you working on now?


A: I am working on Book 8 in the series as well as a short story for a Hanukkah-themed anthology.


Q: Anything else we should know?


A: Sure! If you’d like to order a copy of Surprisingly Sarah or any of the other books in the series (as well as check out some fun workshops and videos), you can go to my website.


--Interview with Deborah Kalb. Here's a previous Q&A with Terri Libenson.

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