Happy Halloween, everyone! The big day is officially here and we're excited to officially share Lisa Schmid's new MG novel, Hart & Souls, with everyone. On Stix's first day of the sixth grade, his anxiety is off the charts. To make his anxiety worse, Stix soon encounters three kids who take interest in him and he learns the spooky truth - the trio are lost souls who have been stuck in middle school for decades. This seriously sounds like so much fun! Want to know about Lisa, her new ghost story, Hart & Souls, plus want a chance to win an amazing treat from her? Read on...
Q: Hi, Lisa! Thanks so much for joining #SeasonsOfKidLit again. We're thrilled to Trick or Treat with you another year and hear all about your new book, Hart & Souls. Readers, if you missed Lisa's fright-filled interview last year, check it out here.
Lisa, can you share the setting and time period of Hart & Souls with us?
A: Thanks so much for having me back! I am honored to land on the extra-special spooky spot of Halloween. My favorite day of the year!
Hart & Souls is a contemporary novel set at Gilbert Greene Middle School. Fans of OLLIE OXLEY AND THE GHOST will catch the subtle clue that this story takes place in the fictional town of Granite City, CA.
Q: Hart & Souls follows an anxious sixth-grader who helps three ghosts, a cheerleader, a bully, and a breakdancer, find out why they can't make it to the afterlife. Can you introduce your characters and tell us more about them and their struggles?
A: I love this cast of characters! I'm so excited to introduce them to the world. They hold a special place in my heart. I'm going to have a hard time letting them go.
Our hero, Stix Hart, suffers from panic attacks due to a traumatic event. And even though he is a talented drummer, he's never summoned the courage to play in front of a crowd.
Summer is a spirited cheerleader from 1997. Dante is a sixth-grade breakdancer from 1989, and Jesse is an eighth-grade bully who passed away only a few years earlier. The trio have complex problems that are neither straightforward nor easily fixed. Stix will have to do some serious sleuthing to solve this paranormal mystery.
In turn, the ghosts play a vital role in helping Stix. Summer is like a spirit guide, advising and encouraging Stix to face his present-day fears. Jesse is the antagonist who helps him face his past, and Dante is the fun sidekick who helps him face his future.
It's all very Christmas Carol meets middle school, minus the grumpy protagonist.
Q: That sounds like such a fun read! Thanks for sharing it with us.
What will readers experience when reading through your book, and what do you hope their main takeaway will be?
A: My goal is to make kids giggle and smile. But some moments will definitely tug at the heartstrings.
The story idea for HART & SOULS came to me after seeing the local "school bully" at Target. He was on the phone at the front of the store, crying and frightened. After eavesdropping, I learned his dad forgot to pick him up from school. He walked to the store because he had nowhere else to go. I kept an eye on him until his dad arrived.
It was heartbreaking.
An important lesson I've always taught my son is that when somebody is unkind, it usually means they're fighting a battle we know nothing about. By the time I got to my car, I had the title HART & SOULS firmly planted in my brain. While sitting in the parking lot, I figured out how the story would begin and end—I've never veered off course. I knew I had something special. I even recreated the Target scene in my book through the eyes of Stix.
Readers, to see an excerpt from Hart & Souls and to pre-order the book, click here.
Q: Super serious question fitting for Halloween: Have you ever seen a ghost?
A: The answer is no, but it doesn't mean I'm not looking. I am the first to embark on a ghost-hunting adventure when staying at a spooky hotel or historically haunted location. But, as brave as I sound, I would probably be the first to Scooby Doo it out of there if I did see a ghost.
The only spirits currently haunting me are the characters in my book.
Q: What is one of your favorite things about Halloween?
A: Halloween has always been my favorite holiday. I love decorating the house and handing out candy. There is something very nostalgic about kids Trick-or-Treating. The cute costumes, the laughter, the families trailing behind as the kids scamper to the door. Perfect night! It's also my son's birthday, which makes it extra special.
Q: BONUS QUESTION: What's your favorite Halloween Candy? OR What candy pairs the best with your book?
A: I love candy corn! I also love corny jokes and silly puns, so this makes for the perfect pairing with HART & SOULS.
Yay! I'm totally #TeamCandyCorn, too! Thanks again for joining us, Lisa. We can't wait to check out Hart & Souls!
Q: Would you like to leave a Trick or a Treat for the readers?
A: A Treat! I'd love to offer a signed copy of Ollie Oxley with a bag of candy corn now and an ARC of Hart & Souls when it's available.
WOW! Thanks for such a boo-tastic treat!
Contest Details: To enter to win this amazing giveaway make sure to 1) share this post on social media and 2) share a Halloween-themed GIF bc #HalloweenRocks!
#SeasonsOfKidLit's Trick-or-Treat Winners will be chosen on or about November 5th.
*Books will be shipped in the US only*
Note: Those who leave a comment on all posts will be eligible to win one (1) of ten (10) Rate Your Story Speed Passes, perfect for quick MS feedback, provided by Agent Mentee Lynne Marie & Author Heather Macht.
About Lisa Schmid:
Lisa Schmid is an author, a stay-at-home mom, and co-host of the podcast, Writers With Wrinkles. When she is not scaring up ghostly adventures, she is most likely visiting schools to talk about writing and books. She lives in Northern California with her husband, son, two dogs, and one very sneaky hamster.
For more about Lisa, check out the below links:
To purchase Lisa's books on Amazon, or to leave a review for them, click here.
A special thanks to David Rodriguez Lorenzo for the amazing custom-signatures!