Author Archives: Amie Borst

Somebody on this Bus by J.B.Cheaney


SOTB final

From Amazon:

Spencer’s the smart kid. Shelly’s the diva. Miranda’s the scaredy-cat. Matthew’s just average (so far). In fact, there’s nothing about any of the nine middle-schoolers on Mrs. B’s bus route that screams “fame.” But before the end of the year, somebody on this bus is going to be famous.

Every morning, their school bus waits at an empty bus stop. Nobody ever gets on. Nobody ever gets off.

And Mrs. B refuses to answer questions about it. Strangest of all, it’s Bender the bully who decides to investigate the mystery. But it will take all nine students to find out the truth, for each of them has a clue to the mystery that will change their lives forever.

Award-winning author J.B. Cheaney’s new middle grade novel weaves nine distinctive narratives into one fascinating read. Part detective story, part tale of self-discovery, this funny and touching novel is destined to be a modern classic.

Amie: Welcome J.B! I noticed on your website that you’ve written quite a few books for children. Why do you write middle-grade books?

J.B.: I never thought I would want to write middle-grade books. That age was terrifying for me when I was in it! And middle-graders terrified me as a grown-up, too, until I got to know them. I see it now as a magic age, that transition from childhood to adolescence, when they’re struggling between sweet and hip, eager and cool. They’re vulnerable, yet sharp and funny. And besides, the novels I wrote for middle-graders are the only ones that publishers have wanted, at least so far.

Amie: Well, that definitely speaks for itself! What was your inspiration for your latest book, Somebody on this Bus is Going to be Famous?

J.B.: Brad Pitt. No, seriously: I lived in Springfield, Missouri, for a short time in the 1980s, about the time that he was becoming a major star. Springfield is where Brad grew up and where his parents still live, and I would hear of Brad-Pitt sightings from time to time. It made me start thinking about what it would be like to encounter him, or any other famous person, before they became famous. Like, way back in middle school. Suppose we rode the same bus. A title drifted into my mind: Somebody on This Bus Is Going to Be Famous. The title demanded a story. So I gave it one—over a period of many years and many rewrites, I’ll have to say.

Amie: Oh. Well, can Ben Affleck be my inspiration? *school girl giggles* Tell me about a favorite character in your book.

J.B.: You know how to ask hard questions, don’t you? Okay, this book has nine protagonists—more than most epic novels, even—and after spending so much time with them it’s hard to pick a favorite. I love all of them for different reasons. But since you asked, I’ll tell you about Kaitlynn. I met the real Kaitlynn—not her real name, of course—when she stomped into my classroom on a Saturday morning during a Young Authors literary conference. I had no idea what she was mad about, but I didn’t take it personally. She was a skinny little girl with long straight hair and glasses and a headband, just like I described her in the book. By the time we got to my planned activities she was over her funk, and after class she had to tell me her story about a superhero spider. A few months later, when I started the first chapter of this book, Kaitlynn stepped right up and joined the kids getting on the bus.

Amie: I’ve never met a Kaitlynn before in my life. Nope. Never. And I certainly wasn’t one either. Nope. Never. One final question.  Eggplant parmesan or Sesame chicken?

J.B.: I’m no vegetarian, but eggplant parmesan every time. When do you expect me for dinner?

Amie: We eat at six. Dessert is at seven. Table is set, stop on by! Thanks for telling us about your book and inspiration, J.B!

J.B. has moved over twenty-three times, is the author of eight books, and is the mother of two children. You can find her at the following places: blog and website.

We’re giving away a copy of Somebody on This Bus is Going to be Famous! Just enter the rafflecopter giveaway below.

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Amie Borst is the author of Cinderskella and Little Dead Riding Hood. You can find her on her blog, twitter, and facebook. She’s not famous. Yet.

Winner – Always, Abigail!

The winner of Always, Abigail is….

Krusheta Wiley!!

Please contact me at Amie (at) fromthemixedupfiles (dot) com and we will make sure your book is shipped to you!

Congratulations and enjoy!

My Year of Epic Rock by Andrea Pyros


If Life Was Like a Song

Nina Simmons’ song would be “You Can’t Always Eat What You Want.” (Peanut allergies, ugh). But that’s okay, because as her best friend Brianna always said, “We’re All in This Together.” 

Until the first day of the seventh grade, when Brianna dumps her to be BFFs with the popular new girl. Left all alone, Nina is forced to socialize with “her own kind”–banished to the peanut-free table with the other allergy outcasts. As a joke, she tells her new pals they should form a rock band called EpiPens. (Get it?) Apparently, allergy sufferers don’t understand sarcasm, because the next thing Nina knows she’s the lead drummer. 

Now Nina has to decide: adopt a picture-perfect pop personality to fit in with Bri and her new BFF or embrace her inner rocker and the spotlight. Well…

Call Me a Rock Star, Maybe.


We have TWO great reasons to celebrate on the blog today. Not only do we have this awesome book and it’s author, Andrea Pyros, visiting us….but it’s the official release day for My Year of Epic Rock!! We’re so thrilled to be part of this exciting event!

Amie: Welcome to the blog, Andrea! Tell our readers a little about why you write MG books.

Andrea:  I’ve always loved reading, but during my middle school years, I really needed my books the most. Books helped me feel less lonely, taught me about things no one else was talking about, and generally made me happy. So when I started writing fiction, I just naturally gravitated towards this age group. I’m also a former teen magazine writer and editor, so it’s a voice I’m comfortable using.

Amie: I love that! I think it’s true that those middle-grade years are the times we make connections that stick with us, such as with the impact of books. What was your inspiration for The Year of Epic Rock?

Andrea:  I started working on this book after we found out our daughter had food allergies. I wondered how she’d feel as she got older. Would she feel left out? Embarrassed? How would she cope with them? So I made my main character, Nina, a food allergic kid and threw her in to a situation where her food allergies made her feel like she was sticking out when all she wanted was to fit in.

Amie: I think it’s great that you’ve featured a MC with food allergies, even naming the band The EpiPens! Tell me a little more about that. (I have them, too. Red meat if you can believe it! From a tick bite!!)

Andrea: Wow, I’ve heard about that happening after a tick bite. How crazy! Yes, my main character Nina has food allergies to eggs and nuts, and she hates hates hates them! The more I wrote My Year of Epic Rock, though, the more I realized that the book was about fitting in, being part of the group, and learning to stand on your own, which feels like a universal struggle for most kids during these tricky years rather than specifically about food allergies.

Amie: Agreed. I love how you were able to create a universal theme that all children could relate to. Peanuts or pistachios? Lava or quick sand?

Andrea: Peanut butter is my #1, but I’d take pistachios for snacking over peanuts any day. As for the second, I’d choose lava—hopefully it would all be over much sooner than the long slow sink of quicksand.

Amie: Queue the volcano! Start running now for your chance to win a copy of My Year of Epic Rock.  Just enter the rafflecopter form below. Thanks Andrea for joining us here at The Mixed-Up Files!



Andrea Pyros is an experienced writer and former teen magazine editor. She’s also had jobs waiting tables (hard!), baking cookies (delicious!), steaming clothing (hot!) and interviewing celebs (terrifying!). But other than a brief period wanting to be a private detective like Nancy Drew or Trixie Belden, she’s dreamt of being a writer all her life. A native of New York City, she now lives in New York’s Hudson Valley with her husband and their two children. My Year of Epic Rock is her first novel. Visit her at her website and twitter.


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Amie Borst is the author of Cinderskella, co-written by her 14 year old daughter. Little Dead Riding Hood releases October 14th, 2014!