The Scoop on Children & Adolescent Literature

Author Interview with Amanda Noll and Book Giveaway!

Posted by hollybookscoops on October 11, 2009

Author Photo compressed 2

I Need My Monster

Amanda, please tell us a little about yourself so our readers can get to know you?

I was born and raised in Australia. I immigrated (with my family) to the U.S. when I was a teenager. I met my husband while we were in university, but we were attending different schools.

I started writing when I was forced to sit at a desk all day long, whether there was work or not. I was so bored that I started writing stories to entertain myself.

I currently live in the Pacific Northwest with my husband and four young children.

Wow! A desk job where you have time to sit and make up stories and get paid for it? I bet there are a lot of authors out there who would love to have that job. Where did you get your inspiration for I Need My Monster?

It started one night when my 3 year old daughter was out of bed *again*. I was exhausted. Our youngest child wasn’t even 1 year old and all I wanted was an uninterrupted night of sleep. I wished that my daughter (who was afraid of everything) would be afraid of monsters, and then she would stay in bed. It wasn’t my finest parenting moment.

I’m with you on wishing for schemes to keep kids in bed at night. Thanks, by the way for taking some of the work out of that endeavor with your book, it sure has helped at our house! What is your favorite part of I Need My Monster and did you run into any difficulties in writing the story?

My favorite part is the page where Ethan imagines all the scary things that could happen. My biggest problem was finding a resolution that wasn’t too scary, but still authentic.

I think you succeeded! Speaking of success, who is your favorite author and why?

I read lots of authors, but I always come back to Anne McCaffrey, Robin McKinley, and (most recently) Suzanne Collins.

I love reading about dragons and high adventure with girl heroes.

Oh, I love reading about dragons and high adventure too. What do you enjoy most about being a published author?

It is very gratifying to hold a finished book in your hands. Plus, students think I’m a rock star when I do school visits.

How fun! I love when kids have a real-life hero to look up to, and in my book, authors definitely rate higher than rock stars. What was the path to publication (and thereby rock-star-fame) like?

Like most people’s, it was long and bumpy. I wrote the story in 2005, started submitting it at the end of 2005 – mid 2006. Flashlight Press was one of the first houses I submitted to. They held it in consideration for a year before we started talking about contracts and revisions. There were *many* revisions. The book finally came to fruition in April of 2009.

So, four years of bumpy roads. . . sounds like a lot of fun, er. . . hard work. Do you have any advice for aspiring authors?

Keep writing. Keep reading. Don’t make excuses about why you’re not writing, go write something. Get a good critique/support system to see you through.

What’s next for you? Do you have another book in the works?

Of course! Right now I’m working on a middle grade ghost story.

Spooky! Ghost stories are one of Cari’s specialties. She was really good at scaring us all with her ghost tales growing up, many of which she found in middle grade books. I, however, liked decorating cakes and noticed the Monster cakes and Monster toes featured on your and your publisher’s websites. They sound very intriguing, not to mention yummy. How did you come up with these creations, and will you share any secrets with us like, oh, possibly a monster recipe?

I wish I could take credit for the recipe, but I can’t. They’re adaptations of a Martha Stewart recipe for Cupcake Pops found here:

Of course I changed it to toes and added the pretzel stick and jellybean toe nail.

Thanks for the pointer in the right direction. And now, last but not least, at Bookscoops we like to talk about our childhood memories with the books we review, especially for our Double Scoop feature. So, in keeping with ‘tradition’, what is your favorite childhood memory involving reading?

My best memory is when I discovered the joy of reading. I was a proficient reader, but I had never been lost in a book. I was assigned to read Dragon Song by Anne McCaffrey for an English class. I had never read anything like it! I loved being able to lose myself in a totally different world. It wasn’t long before I began devouring anything I could get my hands on.

Thanks Amanda, for sharing with us! For more information about I Need My Monster check out the following websites:

Publisher website-

Author Amanda Noll’s website-

Illustrator Howard McWilliam-

Book Giveaway details:

Amanda has provide one hardbound copy of I Need My Monster, which I will mail to the winner of our giveaway. The giveaway will end midnight MST,  Monday, October 19, 2009. You can enter by commenting on what you liked about the author interview or your favorite monster memory either on this post or on my review of I Need My Monster.  Please note: only one entry per person, and I will happily ship the book to any winner within the continental United States. Thanks and happy commenting!

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20 Responses to “Author Interview with Amanda Noll and Book Giveaway!”

  1. [...] Illustrated by Michael MartchenkoWhen I'm Feeling Happy, Sad, Scared, and Angry by Trace MoroneyAuthor Interview with Amanda Noll and Book Giveaway!Owen by Kevin HenkesPinkalicious by Victoria Kann & Elizabeth [...]

  2. Bethie said

    I just love that Ms. Noll remembers the first book that she lost herself in.

  3. Jessica said

    My favorite monster memory was when I was a child and my siblings, cousins and I would play chocolate monster on my grandmother’s stairs. Each of us would take turns being the “chocolate monster.” The chocolate monster could not go past a certain step, and would try and reach the other kids on the higher stairs, and turn them into chocolate… Once they were touched they would turn into chocolate and become the new monster. Kinda silly, but a great childhood memory for me.

    This book looks like such a fun book! I also LOVE the cover illustration. Sounds like it would be a great book for anyone who wants to instill a love of reading into their younger children. Thanks bookscoops for the author interview and the fun giveaway!

  4. Wendy said

    I love hearing how authors came up with their ideas for the stories that they write.

  5. Connie said

    I love that she lives in the NW like I do. The book looks amazing!

    Thanks for the chance!

  6. Great interview!

    Aren’t we all in search of ways to keep our kids in bed? I love the fact that Mister can’t open doors yet…. :D

  7. Katherine C. said

    I was excited to see she is from Australia. My hubby spent two years living there. I liked the recipe part of the interview, I can’t wait to make monster toes.

  8. Kenny N said

    I liked the story of the inspiration for the book.

  9. I think it’s funny she wanted her daughter to be afraid of monsters so she would stay in bed. How funny!

  10. Ooooh I have to say I am drooling over this book, so wish I could enter, but there is that thing about being the other blogger at Bookscoops and such. I really like the front cover of this book.

    Also I wanted to just let everyone know that my Holly just moved to her own house out of my mom’s basement. Yeah Holly!!! But the downs side is she has no internet access so as soon as she is able to she will make a few comments.

  11. Hi Everyone!

    I’m really sorry I can’t comment individually, I’m having to borrow computer time until we get our internet hooked up and there are only so many things you can do with limited time. I’m so excited you all are commenting and, hope that you will pass the word along about this wonderful book!

    Thanks for stopping by! I’ll keep tabs on the comments and write when I can!

  12. Looks like a fun book! I don’t remember much about monsters from my childhood, but my daughter is fascinated by them! In fact, I have to use the “toothbrush monster” approach to get her teeth brushed each evening.

    We posted about this at Winning Readings:

    janemaritz at yahoo dot com

  13. Jay said

    As a parent of two young boys (9 years and 5 years) I enjoyed hearing how Mrs. Noll’s story came from a real-life situation. I also thought she was very open and honest at how long she traveled the road to publication. I am a Children’s and Teen Librarian in Ohio, and I am hoping our budget situation will improve so that I can buy a couple of copies for our system.

  14. Winning Readings- Thanks for posting about our interview giveaway! We use the brushing monsters or chickens or whatever suits my kids fancy at the time to get them more interested in brushing teeth. Anything in their teeth they choose with sound affects and everything! We start with the question, ‘what’s in you’re mouth tonight?’

    Jay- good luck with getting more funding- these books would definitely be worth the investment! Maybe you’ll win the giveaway!

  15. Jennifer said

    Great interview! I enjoyed reading this and finding out about the inspiration for the book! I would love to read this to my daughters!

    ~ Jennifer

  16. L. Owen said

    Thanks so much for the author interview with Amanda Noll! Now I have more books, authors, and recipes to look up and enjoy!

  17. Becky said

    This book sounds so cute and I love the cover illustration! The author sounds so down to earth- it is nice to know that sometimes the process is long and hard instead of instant- it makes me want to take more chances and write more! It is also nice to realize that so many children’s authors get inspiration while parenting- making up stories for their own kids. And I have to say- I am also a huge Robin McKinley fan!

  18. Cheryl Wilson said

    My monster story is much like the author’s, Amanda Knoll, story. But trying to use monsters as a deterrent of getting out of bed or getting into stuff, my daughter turned the tables on me and fell in love with monsters. She would totally go crazy over this book.

  19. My favorite “monster memory” is of the time I woke up in the middle of the night and saw a witch sitting at the foot of my sister’s bed. I was too terrified to move – and the witch wasn’t moving, either. As dawn slowly broke, I saw that the “witch” was just some clothes hanging on the bedpost. I was so relieved – but tired all day!

    I’d love to read this book. Thanks for the chance to win a copy!

  20. Thank you to everyone for stopping by! We have announced our winner, so the giveaway is now closed. The comments are still open, so feel free to keep sharing… we love to hear your thoughts.

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