Mo Wren doesn’t really approve of blabbing—she prefers to keep her many thoughts to herself, thank you. But as her author (ahem!) I was able to persuade her to stop by for a brief interview in honor of today’s publication of MO WREN, LOST AND FOUND, which just got a nice shiny star from Booklist. It’s the sequel to the award-winning WHAT HAPPENED ON FOX STREET (which comes out in paper today!)
Me: Yo, Mo. Wow, you’re taller than last time I saw you. And I like your hair long. So, as we agreed, I’ll try to keep this short and sweet and not ask anything too, you know, personal.
Mo: Actually, could I ask you a question?
Mo: Why’d you write a second book about us?
Me: You know why! After I finishedFOX STREET, you and that wild child sister of yours kept hanging around my head. I’d be out for a walk and start wondering how you were doing, and whether your dad ever managed to get that sports bar, and if you and Mercedes were still friends. Not to mention, I had all those readers asking me, “So? Does Mo have to move or not?”
Mo: Don’t forget– you’re the one who left my family in the middle of all those changes. That sure wasn’t my idea.
Me: Let’s not get into an argument in front of all these other people. A writer has to be hard-hearted—it’s in our job description. How about if you say a little about what life is like afterFox Street?
Mo: Different! Way different. When we moved off Fox Street, I was pretty sure my heart would break, and I was right, at least at first. The new neighborhood is nothing like our old one. It’s crowded and noisy and nothing stays the same for a single minute. Remember how you described the change? “Being a dead end, where Fox Street began and where it stopped were perfectly clear. Once Upon a Time and The End. But if East 213th was a story, it’d say, To be continued…with those three dots that meant anything might happen.”
Me: Oh yeah. I kind of like those lines.
Mo: And lots of things do happen. For starters, Dottie turns into a traitor, and brings home a new family member. Dad buys Corky’s, which turns out to be cursed. And I don’t have any friends except hyper-crazy Shawn and the lady who runs the Laundromat. (smiles) Carmella. Thanks for introducing me to Carmella.
Me: I had the feeling you two would like each other.
Mo: But you know, I had the feeling this book wasn’t easy for you to write.
Me: Right as usual, Mo Wren. I thought doing a sequel would be a piece of cake, since I know you all so well. But I discovered that in between the two books, you, Dottie and Mercedes did some growing and changing, and not only that. Your new neighborhood was as much a mystery to me as it was to you. Figuring out who lived there, who’d be your new friends (or enemies), and how Corky’s got that curse and whether you all could un-curse it, well. Remember that early version where you were friends with the strange girl who walked dogs? And that other version where Dad almost got a girlfriend?
Mo: That was all very unpleasant.
Me: Every time I write a book, it feels as if I’m learning the process all over again. I grind my teeth and get insomnia and consider applying for a job as the person who delivers flowers to people’s houses (wouldn’t that be the perfect job?). Tons of revision—it’s the only way I manage to find the true heart of my story. Which, I hasten to say, is always worth it.
Mo: I like the way it all turned out. Now I know that everything I do, good or bad, comes back around in some way. And that when it comes to curses, the worst ones are the ones people put on their own selves. I’m going to remember that.
Me: You know, a reviewer suggested I should write a third book about you guys. What do you think?
Mo: Thanks, but the Wrens are in a good place right now. Maybe it’s time you messed around with some other people.
Me: I’m actually working on two new books. One’s a sort of mystery about a boy a little older than you, who lives on an island inLake Erie. And the other one’s for younger readers, about a very, very helpful girl named Cody and her big brother Wyatt, master of the Houdini headlock.
Mo: Dottie might like that one. She’s a really good reader by now. But she’s still crazy. You know how she used to collect beer bottles? Now it’s ketchup and mustard packets.
Me: (sighs) I really miss you guys.
Mo: (smiles that modest, big-hearted Mo smile) We’ll always be here.
Me: Give everybody my love, okay?
Mo: I will. Bye.
Me: Bye, Mo.
Thanks to Mo for stopping by. If you’d like to read more about her, you can visit us both at www.triciaspringstubb.com To win a signed hardcover copy of MO WREN LOST AND FOUND and a paperback of WHAT HAPPENED ON FOX STREET, both published by HarperCollins, Balzer & Bray, please leave your comment below.