Thursday, December 10, 2015

The Secret Files of Fairday Morrow

This fun new book is being released and I'm lucky enough to have its authors, Jess and Stephanie, here on the blog to answer a few questions.  Hi Jess! Hi Steph!

If you could swap places with one of your fictional characters for 24 hours, who would you choose to be? Why? And what would you do that day?

Stephanie: Margo, Fairday’s little sister. As a toddler she sees the world with fresh eyes, and I would love to spend some time in her head.

Jess: Eldrich the gypsy, because she’s so mysterious. I would enchant everyone I meet.

• In what way is your story unique compared to other books in this genre?

Stephanie: Some of the clues like bagpipes and dried rose petals are things that don’t usually come up in other mysteries. Often the parents of characters are not involved or they aren’t paying attention to their child because they are too busy. Fairday’s parents keep tabs on her and are concerned when they think she is letting the ghost stories about the house get to her.

Jess: The original idea for Ruby Begonia’s high-heeled sneakers was given to me by my grandfather, John Haight. The story evolved from a rhyming children’s poem to a middle grade chapter book. Stephanie and I both love to read, write and be creative, so I would say the story is unique because it was born from our imaginations, and we wrote the story from our childhood experiences. Fairday and Lizzy’s friendship is very similar to our own. :)

• What part of the story was the most fun to write? The most challenging?

Stephanie: I liked working on the scene with Marcus at recess. I don’t want to give anything away, but it was especially easy to picture the scene. The most challenging was working on our editing skills. Taking out unnecessary words can be tricky, but we are getting better all the time.

Jess: Our editor, Krista Vitola, was inspirational in helping us to craft clever ways to piece together the clues in the story, and working with Stephanie to reveal the secrets to the reader was extremely challenging and fun- I also love working on the spooky parts. :)

• Which of your characters is most like you?

Stephanie: No one! I am a combination of them, or they are a combination of me. I devour books, just like Fairday. I try to be positive and Lizzy is always looking on the brighter side of things. Marcus and I both love science and have great memories.

Jess: I am a 50/50 mix of Fairday and Lizzy. Fairday loves words and rhyming, which is a passion of mine, and Lizzy can’t resist sparkly things- neither can I!

• If you could have one superpower, what would it be and how would you use it?

Stephanie: There are so many powers I would like. But, based on how busy things are right now I would love to freeze time. I dream about that extra pocket of time I could get each day to catch up or take a nap.

Jess: I would want the power to fly, and that’s what I would use it for- to soar around and check everything out from above.

• If you could reenact a scene from any book (not necessarily your own), what would it be? Who would you choose for your scene partner(s)?

Stephanie and Jess: Without a doubt we would visit Hogsmeade together. It would be amazing to sit down with Ron, Harry, and Hermione at The Three Broomsticks and have a butterbeer.

• Tell us something we’d be surprised to learn about you.

Stephanie: I can wiggle my ears.

Jess: I do not want or have a cell phone.

• What other interests do you have outside of writing?

Stephanie: Reading, traveling, and astronomy.

Jess: Drawing, collecting rocks, gardening and photography.

• Do you have a nervous habit when writing? A guilty pleasure when writing? (example: chew a pen to death or have a stack of Hershey’s kisses while you write)

Stephanie: I always pour myself a nice cup of coffee when I start writing, but when I finish working I realize I only drank one sip. I guess once I get going I forget about the world around me.

Jess: The writing itself is the ritual. I tend to pick away at various chapters, and I can get lost doing that for hours.

Thanks so much for coming to visit me!  And after that, I bet you're dying to know more about the book....

Fear Not the Unexpected

Eleven-year-old Fairday Morrow is less than thrilled that her family is moving thousands of miles from civilization to the quiet country town of Ashpot, Connecticut, where she’s absolutely certain she’ll die of boredom.

As if leaving Manhatten and her best friend, Lizzy, the only other member of the elite Detective Mystery Squad, weren’t bad enough, Fairday is stuck living in the infamous Begonia House, a creepy old Victorian with dark passageways, a gigantic dead willow tree, and a mysterious past.

Before she can even unpack, strange music coming from behind a padlocked door leads Fairday up a spiral staircase and into a secret room, where she finds an ancient mirror, a brass key, and a curious portrait of a red-haired lady. These seemingly unrelated items prove to be the first in a series of clues that takes Fairday, the visiting Lizzy, and their new squad member, Marcus, on an amazing adventure.

Can the members of the Detective Mystery Squad piece together the puzzle before it’s too late? Or will whatever’s causing trouble find Fairday and her friends first?

 And what about the authors?

Jessica Haight is a true New Englander, with a deep desire to be near the ocean and a love of the four seasons. She enjoys drawing while standing up and cultivating magic in her garden. She easily floats away in the pages of a good story and is still waiting for her owl from Hogwarts. Jessica lives in Connecticut with her charming fiancĂ©, James; dog, Jack; cat, Bill; and a very entitled bunny named Alice. 
Stephanie Robinson lives with her husband in a quiet town, though not as quaint as Ashpot. After teaching fifth grade for almost fifteen years, she is now enjoying her role as a school media specialist. One of the many benefits of her job is that she learns something new every day. When Stephanie isn't working, she spends her time creating stories, getting lost in books, and traveling to new places. 


  1. Great interview! Love that Fairday's parents are involved. I agree that often in MG and YA books, the parents seem absent even if they're a normal family. Have a lovely day. :)

    1. Christine- Thanks so much! You don't always find involved parents in MG or YA books. But, Fairday's parents are very much involved. :) So great to hear from you. ~Jess and Stephanie

  2. Kate- We are so happy to be visiting with your blog readers today. Thanks so much for having us! ~Jess and Stephanie