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  • Writer's pictureMary Boone

Six Questions with PJ McIlvaine

PJ McIlvaine is a prolific best-selling author, screenwriter, and journalist. She lives in Eastern Long Island with her family and Luna, a pampered French Bulldog. She is the author of the picture book Little Lena and the Big Table (Big Belly Book Co.) Her most recent work is the middle-grade supernatural historical mystery Violet Yorke, Gilded Girl: Ghosts in the Closet (Darkstroke Books). Visit PJ's website to learn more about her and her writing projects. Feeling social? You can connect with her on Twitter, Facebook, or Instagram.

1. Who was your favorite author when you were a child? Why?

This is a tough question. I was an avid reader (still am) and read widely in many different genres: kids, adult, science fiction, true crime, etc. But if on the spot, I would cite Robert Heinlein (simply because he was amazing and broadened my horizons) and Harper Lee for writing what I consider one of the best books of all time.

2. If you could be any character in a book, who would you be? Why?

Scout in To Kill A Mockingbird. Her unwavering love for her family, her belief in justice, and perhaps most of all, her sweet innocence in the face of so much bigotry, prejudice, and evil.

3. Do you ever struggle to come up with your next project? Or do you have lots of ideas and find it a challenge to narrow down your ideas?

I wish! I’m one of those rare birds who has more ideas than I know what to do with, quite frankly. I juggle multiple projects in different genres, and I have a long to-do list of ideas. I’m a machine. When I finish one project, I go straight to another. I’m always working on something. Whether it's any good or not is another thing entirely.

4. If you could tell readers one secret about Violet Yorke, Gilded Girl: Ghosts in the Closet, what would it be?

Hmmm…it would be that the main character, Violet Yorke, is a composite of several real-life characters and situations with a lot of creative license.

5. What was the most challenging thing you faced while researching and writing this book?

To not make it read like a dry book report. I blend a lot of fact and fiction in Violet, and I really wanted to make it a high-octane, engaging adventure tale that would keep readers both young and old turning the page.

6. What’s a particularly striking or memorable reaction someone has had to Violet Yorke, Gilded Girl?

That they wished they’d had a book like Violet Yorke to read when they were younger. One even told me that if she had, she probably would’ve done better in History.

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