Thanks so much for choosing the MG Book Village to host your cover reveal. We’re thrilled to have you! Before we get to the new book and its cover, would you care to introduce yourself to our readers?
Hi everyone! Thank you to MG Book Village for having me! I’m the author of the Mrs. Smith’s Spy School for Girls series, featuring boarding school student Abby Hunter, who never lets a little danger get in her way, and her best friends, Izumi, Charlotte and Toby.
All right — onto the new book, the third installment of the Mrs. Smith’s Spy School for Girls series. Can you tell us a bit about it?
I’m totally excited for Double Cross: Mrs. Smith’s Spy School for Girls #3! In this installment, Abby and friends are invited to Briar Academy to participate in the Challenge, where teams of the best and brightest students from around the country are invited to solve some of the world’s most pressing problems. Our friends, still trying to prove to the not-so-kind Mrs. Smith that they belong in spy school, figure winning the Challenge is the best way to prove they are worthy. But during the competition, it becomes clear that Abby’s nemesis, the Ghost, is up to his old tricks and trying to steal ideas from a fellow Smith School team to use for nefarious purposes. Of course, Abby can’t let this happen. Chaos ensues. Naturally.
One of the things I love most about your books is the dialogue. I could read the back-and-forth between the characters all day long. How do you do it?!
I talk to myself a lot! Seriously, there’s a space between language that doesn’t sound as if it could ever be spoken and how we really speak. You can’t write dialog that exactly mimics conversation because it would be very hard to follow – we tend to speak in something less than complete sentences – but you don’t want your characters to sound like they are cardboard. So finding that space in between is the trick. I’m a huge Aaron Sorkin fan and he’s a master at the rapid fire, rat-a-tat-tat dialog I love so much. I want my characters’ conversations to fly back and forth with some sparks!
Okay, let’s get to the cover. Were you involved in the process at all?
My publisher always shares the pencil sketch early in the process of cover design. I might have a comment or two but I’ve been amazingly lucky to have the incredibly talented Vivienne To doing my covers. She really captures the essence of the books. Around Halloween, I get parents emailing me photos of their kids dressed up like Abby on the cover of the first book. That is all because of Vivienne!
Let’s get to it! Here’s the new cover:
WOW! So much energy and movement! It’s electrifying! What did YOU think when you first saw the art?
As the series has progressed, the covers have gotten brighter and bolder. I love how the colors jump off the page and the kids look so active, like they might just charge right into your room at any second. I wanted to write a series with a lot of action, with girls in the lead. The covers bring that idea to visual life.
When can readers get their hands on the book?
Double Cross hits the shelves on August 6, 2019.
Beth McMullen is best known for the Mrs. Smith’s Spy School for Girls trilogy, middle grade spy thrillers, packed with action, adventure and humor. She also writes the Sally Sin series for adult readers. Beth lives in Northern California with her husband, kids, cats and a very tolerant parakeet named Zeus. Visit her website at BethMcMullenBooks.com or follow her on Twitter at @bvam.