Monday, July 3, 2023

Q&A with Yolanda Ridge




Yolanda Ridge is the author of the new middle grade novel Elliot Jelly-Legs and the Bobblehead Miracle. Her other books include Evolution Under Pressure. She lives in Rossland, British Columbia.


Q: What inspired you to write Elliot Jelly-Legs and the Bobblehead Miracle, and how did you create your character Elliot?


A: Elliot’s story was inspired by my son, who joined organized hockey later than his peers and really struggled. I was trying to convince him (and myself) that struggling is good. I do really believe there’s nothing better than achieving something you work hard for. But it was still difficult to see him under pressure to catch up when he just wanted to have fun and be part of the team.


This led to the idea that getting what you want—as if by magic—is not always as good as you think it’s going to be. Like a goalie who gets a shut out in every game and still doesn’t think they’re good enough. 


Q: As someone who also has written a middle grade novel about a bobblehead with magical qualities, I was curious about how you chose a Carey Price bobblehead as a key figure in the book. Can you tell us about that?


A: Bobbleheads are inspiring! It was my son’s suggestion to choose [hockey player] Carey Price and I’m glad I did. He’s an inspiring athlete who hasn’t been shy about sharing his own struggles. While my editor and I were working on revisions to Elliot’s story, Carey Price led the Canadiens to the Stanley Cup Finals. It really helped motivate me to keep diving into the heart of the novel. 


Q: The Kirkus Review of the book says, in part, “Elliot is a highly appealing underdog, and Ridge’s valuable lessons on dedication, teamwork, and self-esteem land deftly with humor and refreshing honesty.” What do you think of that description, and what do you hope readers take away from the book?


A: I got a lot of different feedback on how Elliot’s anxiety was portrayed. I really didn’t want to label him or fit him into a hero’s journey. I’m glad I stayed true to my vision of Elliot’s personality and desires. I was thrilled that the honesty I was trying to portray came through to the Kirkus reviewer.  


Q: Did you know how the novel would end before you started writing it, or did you make many changes along the way?


A: No, I made a lot of changes along the way. I don’t want to give any spoilers but I knew there would be some intense hockey games and a lot of wishes that don’t come true. I wasn’t going to make life easy for Elliot! 

Q: What are you working on now?


A: I’m writing a mystery middle grade novel that I’m hoping could become a series. No details to share yet - it’s a mystery! :)


Q: Anything else we should know?


A: I’m going to be doing some author visits in the fall once hockey season starts. Please contact me if you’re an educator who's interested in hosting me in you classroom either virtually or in person ( 


There's a discussion guide available on my website ( and a chapter sampler ( 


--Interview with Deborah Kalb. Here's a previous Q&A with Yolanda Ridge.

No comments:

Post a Comment