Welcome to Kicking Back with Kick-butt!
Today we’re chatting with Jazz Taylor, the author of
MEOW OR NEVER
Avery Williams can sing, but that doesn’t mean she can sing in front of people. She likes to stay backstage at her new school, which is where, to her surprise, she finds a cat tucked away into a nook. Avery names the stray Phantom and visits any time she’s feeling stressed (which is a lot these days).
As she sings to Phantom one day, her crush, Nic, overhears her and ropes Avery into auditioning for the school’s musical. Despite her nerves, Avery lands the lead role!
She knows she should be excited, but mostly Avery is terrified. Can Phantom help her through her stage fright? And what will happen if anyone finds out about her secret pet?
Let’s talk to this lovely author about her fantastic book!
Welcome to Kick-Butt Kidlit, Jazz! Tell us about yourself!
I’m a writer, receptionist, and huge cat fan! I love watching cooking shows (despite being unable to make anything more difficult than ramen noodles) and live with my hilarious grandmother in Alabama.
High gives for being a cat fan!
What was the inspiration behind MEOW OR NEVER?
I was really drawn to the idea of accidentally landing a part in a school play and the hilarity that would ensue. But I also wanted to talk about how lonely it can be when you have an anxiety disorder, and to want something desperately that may be too painful for you to continue. Oh, and cute cats of course 😊
What were you doing when you found out there was an offer on your book? (We always love these stories!)
I was at work! My agent DM’d me on twitter and I had a happy dance break in the bathroom!
What were three interesting things you discovered while working on MEOW OR NEVER?
-I really love friendship stories!! I want to write a ton more!
-Avery is a big fan of Beyonce, so I discovered a few new favorites from research!
-Goldendoodles are so cute. Like seriously. Just google them because WOW
If you could transport your characters across book dimensions, which book would you most like them to end up in and why?
I’m going to go against the grain and say none of them. Avery, the MC, would absolutely pass out if she had to deal with any superpowers, magical schools, or heaven forbid, horror! Let’s keep her calm in the real world lol!
Ha! Okay, that’s totally fair. We don’t want anyone passing out!
Why were you drawn to writing middle grade?
I love writing YA and adult too, but MG will always be special to me. I love that each story has a thread of hope in it, and I can trust the characters will go through challenges and grow, but ultimately be alright.
Any hints about your next book project?
No hints!! It’s top secret!! 😊
Can’t wait until you can share!
What has been the most surprising part of your publishing journey?
I have really loved all the support from fellow authors. I’m still blown away that people want to read and talk about the words I wrote. From sharing my posts on twitter, to authors sending me kind messages, to interviews (thank you, Casey!!)—I really am so grateful. I hope it lives up to everyone’s expectations, and people love the characters as much as I do!
What are you reading right now?
I’m taking a break currently, but I cannot wait to dive into my friend’s MG horror for beta reading!!
What’s your favourite piece of kick-butt advice?
Celebrate the small wins! The big ones are great, but don’t forget to celebrate every time you write 500 words, or pen a particularly good sentence, or finish an outline. The little wins add up, and you can’t have a big one without the little celebrations along the way.
Yes! Love this.
BONUS QUESTION: If you were going to audition for a musical, what would your go-to song be?
I’ve actually done this! I was a bit of a singer in my youth haha! I auditioned with Think of Me from Phantom of the Opera
Oooh, classic pick! Hope it went well!
Thanks for joining us, Jazz!
Kick-butt Kidlit friends, make sure you check out MEOW OR NEVER!
It’s on shelves now!
Add MEOW OR NEVER on Goodreads!
Connect with Jazz through her website!
Click here to enter to win a copy of MEOW OR NEVER!
Contest closes Friday, January 8th at 11:59 pm EST
Thanks for reading!