Shari: Hi Erin! I’m thrilled to chat with you today about your sophomore novel, Thelma Bee in Toil and Treble, which releases September 6! Since this is the sequel to The Peculiar Haunting of Thelma Bee, what was it like to return to Thelma’s peculiar world and characters?
Erin: Hi Shari! Thanks so much for taking the time to chat with me! I have to say, it was a real joy to dive back into the weird world of Riverfish, MA. The ghost-investigating crew feel like old friends now, and it was exciting and sweet to travel back for their new adventures!
Shari: Thelma is a quirky and unusual character, but also very accepting and friendly. What is your favorite thing about her, and what do you want readers to understand about Thelma?
Erin: Thelma is super brave and smart, but the thing I love most about her is how totally unbothered she is about the stuff that can be a real problem for some kids in middle school. She doesn’t care about what’s popular or cool – she gives not one HOOT for what people think about her. She just loves what she loves. Also, she’s a one-in-a-million friend.
Shari: I really loved the cast of characters, and that they were each so interesting! Will the whole crew be returning in the sequel, and which ones were the most fun to write?
Erin: Yes! The whole gang is back at it. But some of my very favorite characters are actually brand new to this story! We meet some TV ghost hunters who may do more harm than good…and a new friend named Bobby Cho brings a huge rush of chaotic, positive energy that was just a blast to write.
Shari: What do you enjoy most about writing paranormal stories for kids?
Erin: This is such a tough question because I just love it all! Maybe it’s the feeling of endless possibilities. Middle Grade is a truly special category where you can work with elements from childhood and adulthood. The transition time is undoubtedly trickier than most, but it also carries the most pure potential for adventure. Same with paranormal stories! As an author you can do almost anything, from silly and funny, to really dark and scary. It’s an amazing space.
Shari: The “magic” in Thelma Bee’s family is very unusual. What was your inspiration in creating this type of matriarchal power?
Erin: The concept of earth-shakingly powerful, ancient feminine energy always calls to me. A huge part of Thelma’s journey has to do with understanding that she IS powerful and figuring out how best to use that power.I think that’s a journey lots of people can relate with, even if we aren’t literally conjuring magic in our palms.
Shari: If readers enjoy Thelma Bee, what other books do you think they will enjoy?
Erin: I think readers of Thelma Bee will absolutely love CATTYWAMPUS by Ash Van Otterloo, THIS APPEARING HOUSE, a new one coming out soon by Ally Malinenko, and THE KEY TO EXTRAORDINARY by Natalie Lloyd!
Shari: What a fantastic list! What are YOU reading these days?
Erin: I actually just finished CATTYWAMPUS! Now I’m excited to dive into RAYNE AND DELILAH’S MIDNIGHT MATINEE by Jeff Zentner.
Shari: We are excited for this release coming soon. Can you tell us what you are working on next?
Erin: Yes, for sure! I’m working on a side quest story for Izzy Finkle, one of Thelma’s friends called THE LEGEND OF CAPTAIN BLOODBONES. Also, putting together the research for book three of the THELMA BEE series.
Shari: Where can our readers go to find out more about you and your writing?
Erin: Visit me online! My website is erinpettibooks.com and you can also find me on Twitter (@empetti) , Instagram (@erinpetti) , and Facebook (@erinpettiauthor).
Shari: Thank you so much for chatting with me about your new book! Readers are in for a real treat!
Erin: Shari, thank you so much for hosting me! This was a blast!
Erin Petti is a writer who specializes in stories for young people. She lives in New England with her husband, two daughters, a sweet dog, a murderous cat, and five chickens who defy description. Things Erin really loves include ghost stories, garden smells, watching live theater, practicing yoga, and when Peter Jackson cameos in the LOTR movies, especially when he’s eating a carrot.