Saturday Night Author Fever #18 with Melissa Sarno

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Hi everyone and welcome to my interview series Saturday Night Author Fever, where I interview authors with a bit of a 70s music and diversity theme. I personally love 70s music, especially disco music, and sometimes on Friday nights when no one is looking you can find me dancing to classic 70s songs such as September, Bennie and the Jets and We Are Family. However, books are my true passion and because of this, I thought it would be a great idea to mix my two loves and start this interview series. The questions will be similar every week, but with a new author every time, and I hope you’ll enjoy the answers as much as I have. Now let’s get this party started!

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(gif source)*

This Saturday Night we welcome Melissa Sarno. Thank you so much for sitting down with me today in my galaxy of books.

Melissa, can you tell us a bit about yourself and your books? What do you think about 70s music?

My debut middle grade novel JUST UNDER THE CLOUDS is due out from Knopf Books for Young Readers in summer of 2018. It’s about a homeless girl who tries to figure out where she belongs by tracking all the trees, plants, and growing things around Brooklyn. But it’s also about new friendships and sisters and what it truly means to have a home.

When I think of 70’s music, I always think of Anita Ward and, especially, “Ring My Bell”. When I was a kid, I danced all around the house to that song and her albums. But I also think of Joni Mitchell, Patti Smith, Janis Joplin, and Carole King, who sing the words of my soul.

What do you want your readers to take with them after having read your books?

With everything I write, I just hope that readers close the final pages and feel like they are less alone. Words and stories, especially fiction, have always been a friend to me. It’s a wonderful feeling to escape into a book and live in that world for a while.

What does the future look like for you, Melissa? Future projects, releases etc.?

Well, I am looking forward to having a new baby (due in July) and releasing JUST UNDER THE CLOUDS next summer. I will also have another book coming out in 2019. But, eeks, I actually have to finish writing that one. : ) So, I think the future looks hopeful and happy and new but also like it’s going to be a lot of work!

If one (or several) of your characters got invited to a disco, what would be the most unforgettable part of their night and why?

It’s actually really fun to think of my 12-year-old main character, Cora, at a disco party! She’s a pretty soulful, serious, quiet, dreamy girl, like I was at her age (and still am)! If she did go, I think it would be with her best friend Sabina, who is quirky and smart and always open to new things. I think the best part of the night would probably have to be after the party is over, when the dance floor has cleared out, and you’re all sweaty from dancing. That kind of moment when you walk outside in the cool air and take a breath and listen to the quiet and know that you let loose a little and had fun dancing and laughing with your best friend. She would find a lot of happiness and peace in that.

You can easily look back at the 70s and see how the times have changed. If you look at the book community and publishing world today, what changes would you like to see for the future?

I want to see more books about diverse experiences. The more experiences we read about and understand, the better we are at accepting them. We are living in a time when I wish more people would be accepting of others. I’d really like to see more children’s books here in the United States that are set in other countries and cultures.

Melissa, can you recommend two already published diverse books you’ve read and loved and one you can’t wait to read?

I recently read and loved AMINA’S VOICE by Hena Kahn about a pakistani-american muslim girl. I also ran track as a kid and, so, I found myself completely obsessed with the first in Jason Reynold’s track series about four kids who are the newbies on a track team, GHOST. I can’t wait for the next three to release. The next one will be out this summer: PATINA.

Lastly, to end this interview, do you have a favorite 70s song to recommend your readers?

Kimberly by Patti Smith.

Thank you so much, Melissa, for answering my questions. I hope you readers enjoyed this interview, I know I did! Eager to find out more about Melissa Sarno? All information about her and her books can be found on her website. You can also find her on Twitter, Pinterest, Instagram, Facebook, and Goodreads.


About The Author

Melissa Sarno is a children’s writer who lives with her family in the lower Hudson Valley. Her first middle grade novel, JUST UNDER THE CLOUDS, will be out in the summer of 2018 from Knopf Books for Young Readers. You can find her online at www.melissasarno.com and on instagram and twitter @melissasarno.


Since I promised a very 70s music-themed interview series, I have one last surprise, a favorite 70s song of mine (and there will be a new one every week yay). Now let’s get those dance moves on, here’s Le Freak by CHIC.

Do you want to listen to all of the songs from my Saturday Night Author Fever interview series?

To make things easier I have created a Spotify playlist that features all of the songs mentioned in my Saturday Night Author Fever posts. You can check out the playlist below or go here. Every time a new interview is published new songs will be added to it.

Thank you so much for tuning in this Saturday, what did you think of the interview and the music? Let me know in the comments below or on my Twitter!

*Thank you to the lovely Claribel Ortega for the gifs used in this blog series. You have to follow her on Twitter and check out her website here.

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