Gillian McDunn: Caterpillar Summer
April is here! Wahoo! There are so many wonderful books this month! Are your eyeballs ready?
by Gillian McDunn
Cat and her brother Chicken have always had a very special bond--Cat is one of the few people who can keep Chicken happy. When he has a "meltdown" she's the one who scratches his back and reads his favorite story. She's the one who knows what Chicken needs. Since their mom has had to work double-hard to keep their family afloat after their father passed away, Cat has been the glue holding her family together.
But even the strongest glue sometimes struggles to hold. When a summer trip doesn't go according to plan, Cat and Chicken end up spending three weeks with grandparents they never knew. For the first time in years, Cat has the opportunity to be a kid again, and the journey she takes shows that even the most broken or strained relationships can be healed if people take the time to walk in one another's shoes.
April 2nd, 2019
Introduce yourself and your debut novel!
Hi! My name is Gillian McDunn and my debut novel CATERPILLAR SUMMER tells the story of a girl, her brother, and the summer they will never forget visiting grandparents they never knew on Gingerbread Island.
What’s the most surprising part about your debut journey so far?
One of the greatest surprises has been the amazing support and friendship from my debut group. It’s been so fun to share ARCs and get to know each other. Now that I’m starting to see everyone’s books out in the world, I am so excited! I am in awe of the talent of these brilliant, kind authors I call my friends.
Give a shout-out to a fellow debut!
I am a big fan of Karen Strong, whose debut JUST SOUTH OF HOME (Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers: May 7, 2019) absolutely blew me away. The plot kept me turning pages, the ghost story gave me chills, and I absolutely fell in love with the characters. I can’t wait to read what she writes next!
How long did it take you to write this book?
It took about six weeks to write the first draft, but I revised many times including two revise & resubmits (one agent, one editor) and then once it sold I revised over the course of the following year. I’m so thankful for those revisions because it took the book to where I hoped it could be.
What's a cool thing about your book that isn't in the blurb?
One cool thing is that the kids’ mom is a picture book artist and illustrator whose books are based on her kids. The book contains several of “her” books in a book-within-a-book format. The advance copies had several sketches and the final will have even more, beautifully done by Alisa Coburn.
What advice would you give to a new writer?
1-Read everything. 2-Feel the fear and write it anyway. 3-Make as many writer friends as you can.
What is your favorite word, and why?
I love the word roller coaster, which I realize is technically two words. I like it because of the Os and how the word feels like it’s going up and down. I also love the way people in the south say July.
If you could buy only one book this year, which book would it be?
This is the hardest question by far! Especially because I’ve been lucky to read advance copies of so many tremendous debuts. Even if I managed to buy only one book in 2019, it would mean that I’d be holding a very long shopping list in 2020, so I could get all the ones I’d been waiting for!
I am sure my family would have to buy a copy of MIDSUMMER’S MAYHEM by Rajani LaRocca as soon as possible. The story (a mashup between A Midsummer Night’s Dream and kids’ baking competitions) is absolutely delightful and there are recipes that I know my kids will want to make!
Share some book inspiration!
Thanks for interviewing! Go buy this book on 3/12/19!