Welcome to all our BOO-tiful readers and writers! We have the wonderful Vicky Fang on the blog today sharing her and Saoirse Lou's new book, The Boo Crew Needs You!. The Boo Crew Needs You! is an interactive story where the readers are asked to help the Boo Crew fix all of the messes made on Halloween night. Readers will help fix broomsticks, cupcakes, broken pumpkins, and more. How fun does that sound? Want to know more about Vicky, her monstrous-good book, PLUS want to hear the very cool trick she has for you? Read on...
Q: Hi, Vicky! Thanks for joining #SeasonsOfKidLit. We’re thrilled to have you Trick or Treat with us and hear all about your new book The Boo Crew Needs You!. First, you are the author of over 15 books, including multiple series like Layla and the Bots, Friend Bots, and Best Buddies - how exciting. Can you share a little bit about yourself and how you got started in writing for children? What kind of obstacles have you overcome in your writing career?
A: I started writing in 2016, just after my second son was born. I was a product designer at the time, but I loved reading books with my older son, who constantly asked me for stories. I connected with the wonderful kidlit community through SCBWI and 12x12, plus a couple of wonderful mentorships (thank you, Peter McCleery and Arree Chung!), and I fell in love with writing! Funnily enough, my second son constantly asked me to draw pictures, so I like to think he encouraged me into my path as a sometimes illustrator as well.
I think the hardest part about writing is all of the waiting! But I’ve come to just keep on working on the next project, and my critique partners are critical for surviving the slow and bumpy journey (thank you, Christine Evans and Faith Kazmi!).
Q: Thanks for sharing this with us! It's so true that critique partners and writing buddies are critical in the #kidlit journey.
The Boo Crew Needs You! is a spooky interactive story experience with Luna, Bones, and Fang―a ghost, skeleton, and vampire team who need the reader’s help fixing all the messes and frights of a Halloween night gone wrong! What a unique idea. Can you share more about the inspiration behind the story and how you incorporated the interactive element?
The story was kind of a mash-up of two different ideas, which is how many of my books start. First, I had a phrase floating around with no story attached to it: “It’s a glitch! There’s a hitch! Something’s screwy with this switch!” Years later, when I started work on this story about a team working together to save Halloween, I thought that phrase was a perfect fit! The book always included interactivity, though my first pass only had one, big interactive moment. When I shared it with my agent, she suggested I weave interactivity throughout. Ouf, I put it away for two years after that, because the thought was so daunting! But eventually, I pulled it back out again and tackled it bit by bit!
Q: What messes will young readers help The Boo Crew fix on Halloween night and what takeaway will young readers have from this frightfully-fun story?
I introduce different actions on every page, from tapping the page to mend a broken pumpkin, to blowing out a candle for a frightened monster, to turning the book to set a toppling haunted house back upright—the action prompts let kids join in on the fun and save the day! And I love Saoirse Lou’s adorable and enchanting Halloween illustrations that bring the concept to life!
Q: I love how your book lets kids be the heroes of the story and I know all the parents and young readers will, too!
Will there be a second Boo Crew adventure?
A: Yes, there will! I just finished a draft of Book 2 with the Boo Crew! I don’t know if can share the premise yet, but it will be another interactive adventure with the gang.
Q: What’s one of your favorite things about spooky season?
A: I love celebrating Halloween with my kids. They get so excited about their costumes and trick-or-treating that I can’t help but get excited too! It’s so much fun to wander around the neighborhood at night with them and their friends.
Q: Bonus question: What candy pairs the best with your book?
I love Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups! I think they’d pair perfectly with the book.
Thanks again for joining us, Vicky! We can't wait to check out The Boo Crew Needs You! and all your other fun titles.
Q: Would you like to leave a Trick or a Treat for the readers?
A: A Trick!
Okay, here’s my trick. I love crossword puzzles and sometimes I have to trick myself into treating my manuscripts like crossword puzzles to actually sit down and puzzle them through! I find this to be the case for anything that has strict constraints, like early readers, rhyming manuscripts, and in this case, adding interactivity. Instead of getting bogged down in the fussy technicality of it, I turn it around and have fun with the challenge!
Great suggestion. Thanks for such an awesome trick, Vicky!
Readers, please leave a comment below to thank Vicky for stopping by, and let her know why you can't wait to check out her books. Spooky GIFs are always appreciated.
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 Vicky Fang:
Vicky Fang is a product designer who spent five years designing kids’ technology experiences for both Google and Intel, often to inspire and empower kids in coding and technology. She started writing to support the growing need for early coding education, particularly for girls and kids of color. She is the author, and sometimes illustrator, of twenty-two new and upcoming books for kids, including the Layla and the Bots series, Invent-a-Pet, I Can Code board books, Friendbots series, and the forthcoming Ava Lin series, Best Buddies series, AlphaBot, and The Boo Crew Needs You!. You can visit Vicky at vickyfang.com.
For more about Vicky, check out the below links:
To purchase Vicky's book on Amazon, or to leave a review, click here.
To purchase Vicky's book from her website, click here.
For more about Saoirse Lou, the illustrator of The Boo Crew Needs You!, check out the below links:
A special thanks to David Rodriguez Lorenzo for the amazing custom-signatures!