Niki Lenz: Bernice Buttman, Model Citizen
Welcome to March, where the debuts are plentiful and the books are awesome!
Bernice Buttman: Model Citizen
by Niki Lenz
When you're a Buttman, the label "bully" comes with the territory, and Bernice lives up to her name. But life as a bully is lonely, and if there's one thing Bernice really wants (even more than becoming a Hollywood stuntwoman), it's a true friend.
After her mom skedaddles and leaves her in a new town with her aunt (who is also a real live nun), Bernice decides to mend her ways and become a model citizen. If her plan works, she just might be able to get herself to Hollywood Hills Stunt Camp! But it's hard to be kind when no one shows you kindness, so a few cheesy pranks may still be up her sleeve. . . .
March 26th, 2019
Introduce yourself and your debut novel!
Hi! I’m Niki Lenz, and my contemporary middle grade novel is called BERNICE BUTTMAN, MODEL CITIZEN. Bernice comes from a long line of bullies. When one of her schemes goes wrong, she is sent to live with her Aunt, who happens to be a nun. Bernice decides to try turning over a new leaf and giving up her bad girl ways. But there might still be a few cheesy pranks in store…
What’s the most surprising part about your debut journey so far?
I kind of thought I would have a better idea of what I need to be doing and what’s going on by this point in my career, but it turns out I know less and less all the time! Somebody should write a book called “Everything A Debut Author Needs to Know But Nobody Tells You.”
Give a shout-out to a fellow debut!
I SUPER DUPER LOVED Gillian McDunn’s CATERPILLAR SUMMER and I am incredibly excited that we are going to be doing an event together the first week of April in St. Louis, Missouri! I am going to be a squealing fan-girl!
What's a cool thing about your book that isn't in the blurb?
A cool thing about my book that isn’t in the blurb is that while Bernice is living at the convent, one of the nuns teaches her how to ride a horse… and do stunts! When I was a kid I loved reading about horses more than I loved real-life horses. And the scene when Bernice first rides a horse is straight up memoir from my life!
What inspired you to write this book?
I really wanted to write an anti-hero, a main character that was very different from any other character’s I’d written before. Bernice definitely fits that bill! She is a bully, and sometimes she does and says terrible things. But she also wears her tender heart on her sleeve, making readers love her and want to cheer her on.
What advice would you give to a new writer?
Read Read Read Read Read Read Read Read Read. And then read some more. Seriously, there is nothing better for internalizing how story works and discovering what is selling in the industry currently.
Describe your writing space.
I have a beautiful local library where I have written almost all of my books! Shout out to Woodneath Library Center in Liberty, MO! It is quiet, but not too quiet. There are books and kids everywhere for inspiration. And there is coffee. What more could you need?
Who is your favorite author?
You know on the movie EVER AFTER when Prince Charming asks Cinderella which is her favorite book in the library and she says, “I could no sooner pick a favorite star in the sky!”
Tell us your favorite recipe!
Here is a link to a recipe for PB and J Pinchy Pies, which makes an appearance in BERNICE BUTTMAN, MODEL CITIZEN. One girl’s fried white bread is another girl’s hand pie!
Catch Bernice hanging off a horse in a bookstore near you on 3/26/19!