Barbara Dee is the author of numerous middle-grade realistic fiction novels, including the upcoming Haven Jacobs Saves the Planet and Maybe He Just Likes You, which tells the story of seventh grader Mila, who's beginning to get some odd--and unwanted--attention from boys, which seems to be much worse than the flirting everyone else makes it out to be. We loved the story's characters, realism and deftness, so we were thrilled to interview Barbara Dee about it!
Rapunzel Reads: The characters in Maybe He Just Likes You are all relatable, particularly Mila's friends: even when they're not helping her--or perhaps then specifically--they always feel honest and believable, like someone I could know myself. How do you create your characters? Do you have a favorite among them?
Barbara Dee: Thank you! Of course I relate most strongly to Mila. But I have a special place in my heart for her bratty little sister Hadley, who cracks me up. Also, I’m pleased with Zara, the toxic friend. Everyone has a Zara in their life!
When I’m creating a character, I always try to give them some quirks and inconsistencies—little (and sometimes big) surprises. So for example, Zara is the leader of their friends group--a loud, charismatic, extroverted kid who is also insecure about her body.
RR: Do you have any tips for an aspiring writer?
BD: First, if you want to be a writer, you need to be a reader. Read constantly. Read what you love, and ask yourself: Why do I love this book?
Author photo credit: Carolyn Simpson
Book Reviews By & For Kids
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