Author Archives: Jan Gangsei

The Best (Fictional) Mom in the World

Hey, MUF peeps! Mother’s Day is just around the corner (yay for moms!). We all know that being a mom isn’t always an easy job (even more so in literature, where the moms are often clueless, absent, or well, lucky to be alive at all…).

So! In honor of all the awesome moms out there, I’d like to celebrate some of my favorite mothers in middle-grade fiction. Without further ado, here they are!

Caroline Ingalls: What can I say, when I was a kid I really, really wanted to be Laura Ingalls and live in a little house on the prairie with Ma and Pa. I even had the bonnet. See?

The author at age six, in her bonnet waiting to move to the prairie.

The author at age six, in her bonnet, waiting to move to the prairie.

Mrs. Quimby, Ramona’s mom: Another favorite from my childhood, not that I was a pest or anything. Just ask my brother, he’ll tell you… um, I mean, nevermind. Ahem. Anyway, Ramona’s mom was great, because she seemed like a real mom (and I kinda loved that she let Ramona be Ramona–quirks and all).

Gigi’s mom in The Truth About Twinkie Pie: No spoilers, but I loved this charming story about motherly love that is part mystery and part coming-of-age — with recipes, too boot!

But my all-time favorite fictional mom is, hands down: Molly Weasley of Harry Potter. Maybe it’s just that we have so much in common — I mean, MY kids are redheads! And of course, I can cast spells and create a patronus and… okay, well, we do have the redhead thing in common. But I guess Mrs. Weasley just speaks to the mom in me — she loves, encourages and protects her kids, she’s kindhearted but tough (and more than willing to send a Howler when her son does something he shouldn’t…)

Then, of course, there’s this, which is quite possibly the best mom moment in all of book/movie history:

Yeah, don’t go messing with Mama Bear and her cubs…

So tell me, who is YOUR favorite fictional mom! Let me know in the comments below. And Happy Mother’s Day to all of our Mixed-Up Files mommas–enjoy your day. You’ve earned it!

Jan Gangsei is the author of ZERO DAY (Disney-Hyperion, 2016), and several middle-grade series for Working Partners Ltd. She’s the mom of two awesome redheads (who are both probably relieved Howlers are not an actual thing…). Say hi to her at www.jangangsei.com.

How social are you?

So today I finally activated my Instagram account. I know! How very 2010 of me, right?!? (I’m just mildly behind the times… Give me another six years and I might actually post something on it!)

Now, I’m not anti-social media. Not at all. In fact, I probably spend a little too much time there. I love the connections, the real-time updates from friends, and communicating with fellow writers and readers. I’m pretty active on Facebook (great for keeping my mom up-to-date on my whereabouts, or so she tells me); and Twitter (which I understand is an excellent place to beg Mark Zuckerberg for money, haven’t tried yet though). And I’m actually rather excited about following the whole #bookstagram community (some of the photographs are truly works of art!).

But.

(And I know I’m hardly the first person to say this… ) But… all of it can be a bit daunting, right? So. Much. Information… In so. Many. Different. Places. And just when you think you’ve mastered one social media site, a new one pops up and takes its place (I know, I know, this is coming from the person who just discovered Instagram. Please, whatever you do, don’t try to Snapchat me, okay?!?) I mean, I haven’t even ventured into Google+ territory. Or Tumblr. And my YouTube presence is limited to watching music videos while I work out. There’s only so much time in the day, and that laundry isn’t going to do itself… (um, is it?)

So, I’m curious — how social are you? Do you do Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr, Snapstagramchat… or would you be just as happy if people started communicating with tin cans and strings again? Do you have a favorite social site? And why? Tell me in the comments below… And maybe we can @ each other!

Jan Gangsei is the author of ZERO DAY (Disney-Hyperion, 2016), as well as several MG series for Working Partners, LTD. You can find her on Twitter, Facebook and yes, now Instagram (where eventually she may even post a picture of what she ate last night!).

We have a winner!

Thank you everyone for the kind and encouraging comments about my upcoming debut! This is why I am so grateful for the kidlit community! And now, without further ado, the winner of a signed copy of ZERO DAY is:Zero-Day_Final

SHANNON!

Shannon, I’ll be emailing you shortly with details. And again, thank you all for your incredible support! Wishing everyone a Very Happy 2016!