On Wednesday evening I was in the audience for a virtual interview with author Jamie Sumner, supporting her new middle grade release, Tune It Out. The event was sponsored by Anderson's Bookshop in Chicago, and one of its employees served as the interviewer. I, of course, am in Connecticut. Another great opportunity for me to
get out and about without changing out of my yoga pants or even putting on a clean shirt. I did put on some earrings. Did I comb my hair?
Tune It Out is about a girl with a strong musical talent. It's a talent that could very possibly take her places. But she also has sensory processing disorder, which could make it very difficult for her to deal with the kind of life that goes along with being a successful musician.
Couple of interesting points Sumner made:
- In writing it's important to go for the universal as well as something specific, such as sensory processing disorder.
- Humor, strength, and silliness are ways to keep stories from being overwhelmed by problems.
Jamie Sumner has a child with cerebral palsy and sensory processing disorder. She's written extensively about special needs parenting. She also has three more middle grade books coming out over the next three years. One Kid's Trash will be published in September, 2021.
She's very well spoken and was an excellent interviewee. I believe she has other virtual events lined up for Tune It Out, though I can't find information on them now. If you stumble upon news of one of her virtual appearances, it would be worth your while to attend--from anywhere in the country! All you have to do is figure out the time difference. She was speaking at 5 in Chicago. I was watching from my cellar in Connecticut at 6.
Anderson's Bookshop, which hosted this interview, is interesting. It has been in Chicago since the 1870s, and it might be family owned. One of the staff members said they usually host 400 author events a year, and they're working on developing a virtual calendar.
New England picture book author Josh Funk will be making an Anderson virtual appearance on the 26th of this month.