The darling Amy Cobb holds the distinction of being my very first client! She came on board back in the fall of 2013. For this, she will always hold a special spot in my heart– she took a chance on a fledgling agent. I’m happy and proud to say that she’s now the author of three series–totaling 14 books! The talented Miss Amy is the author of a six-book middle grade series called BAND GEEKS, about the misadventures of a group of band kids, published by the awesome (seriously, I love them) educational publisher, ABDO. After the success of the first series, ABDO asked Amy to do a sequel series following the same characters plus a new generation of band geeks. We were thrilled at the opportunity to further explore these characters and this junior high world. And now, this month, BAND GEEKS 2 is available in schools and libraries! I also really love the illustrations by Anna Cattish. They’ve got a sort of anime vibe that is very cool. Here is what Amy has to say about writing BAND GEEKS 2:
Tell us about what it was like to write this series.
Do you know that feeling you get when you haven’t seen an old friend in a long time, and you finally get the chance to catch up on all that’s new? It’s warm and comfortable and just feels right. That’s what writing Band Geeks 2 was like for me! I got to hang out with an entire band room filled with old friends and some new ones, too.
What is it like to write a sequel?
Writing a sequel was easier in that I already had existing main characters and a junior high school setting in place. But because several months had already passed since Band Geeks 1 was published, I did spend a lot of time reviewing notes and even reading book excerpts and looking at illustrations to ensure that the characterization and dialogue between the two sets was seamless. That was actually much tougher than I’d expected!
What was your favorite part about writing Band Geeks 2?
When I was first contacted about writing Band Geeks 2, I was super excited! Because I had so much fun hanging out in the band room with the first set of characters, I could hardly wait to return to Room 217. I’m also especially proud of the character diversity this new set brings. Plus, the ABDO team is amazing to work with, and I was thrilled to be back on board for Band Geeks 2!
Who is your favorite character and why?
The Band Geeks are all so different, and it’s tough to choose just one who’s my favorite. But if I have to pick, it would be Zac Wiles. He’s so silly and always lightens the more serious moments, particularly when there’s a clash among the other Band Geeks. That said, Zac is also a much deeper character than that. When he’s not goofing off and cracking jokes, Zac is thoughtful, caring, and understands what it’s like to overcome learning difficulties—all things that he doesn’t want other students at Benton Bluff Junior High to find out.
Where and when do you write?
I typically write early in the morning before my family wakes up and while the house is still quiet. As far as location, I like to mix things up. Sometimes I curl up on the couch with my laptop. Other times, I head outdoors to soak up the sunshine and listen to the birds singing as I work.
Who are some of your favorite writers?
My favorite writers are writers who make me laugh out loud—Judy Blume, Beverly Cleary, Karma Wilson, and Jeff Kinney definitely tickle my funny bone!
What is some advice you can give to aspiring writers?
Early on in my writing journey, I got easily discouraged when publication opportunities didn’t immediately come my way. I can’t tell you the number of times I said, “I quit!” But writing was something I couldn’t walk away from, at least not for very long. Looking back, if I’d had more patience, I would have enjoyed the road to publication so much more. So be patient and be kind to yourself. You’ll get there! Also, it’s extremely important to schedule writing time each day (Jot it on the calendar if you have to!) and to surround yourself with people who support you and your work.