This month, we talk to author Lisa Greenwald about her novel, 12 Before 13. She talks to us about friendship and staying true to oneself.

Want to catch up? Check out last month’s Ink Splat here.

Writing Challenge

This month, Lisa Greenwald has challenged us with a story starter. Use this first line and see where it takes you:

I walked into the hotel and I couldn’t believe what I saw…

The possibilities are wide open, so here are a few questions to spark your creativity:

1. What genre might I write? (sci fi, fantasy, mystery, historical fiction, realistic fiction …)

2. What kinds of characters might I use? (human, animal, magical …)

3. What form do I want my piece to take? (script, poem, comic, story …)

Aim for between 350 and 1000 words. Submit your response by emailing submit@younginklings.org. You might be published on our website!

An Interview with Lisa Greenwald

In your most recent novel 12 Before 13, which is the second in its series, BFFs Ari and Kaylan make a list of things they want to do this year. What inspired these stories and their characters?

I love to write friendship stories and especially for the middle school age. There’s so much anxiety that surrounds middle school and list making can be so helpful for many people. I like to think of the Friendship List books as an ode to friendship, a love story of sorts between best friends trying to overcome the challenges in their lives and support each other in the process.

Did you know when you wrote 11 Before 12 that it was going to be a series? How was writing a sequel different or similar from writing the first book?

I knew there would be two books but it was a surprise when I got to write a third, out this summer. I love to write multiple books with the same characters because I really get to know them. They become close friends to me, too, and I love to continue their stories.

In which character that you’ve written do you see yourself the most? Why?

I see myself as a combination of both Ari and Kaylan. There are parts of both of them that are similar to me and parts that are different. For example, I share much of Kaylan’s agita. And Ari and I have similar backgrounds in that we’re Jewish and love Jewish camp.

Do you do research before you write your novels? What does that process look like?

I don’t do much research in advance but I do often look things up along the way.

If you could tell your younger writing self something, what would it be?

I would tell myself to try not to stress so much, that things will work out and you won’t always feel so awkward in your own skin. Stay true to who you are and what you’re passionate about and all will fall into place.


The Inklings Book Contest is Here!

3rd-9th graders, send in your story or poem today!
Whether you write stories or poems, whether your words are funny, heartfelt, imaginative, or true-to-life, there’s a place for you in the Inklings Book Contest.

Winners receive a two-session editorial mentorship with a professional mentor-writer and will be published in our annual Inklings Anthology. Every writer who enters will receive feedback. That means this contest is a win-win, for every applicant!

A special thanks to Lisa Greenwald for sharing with us! You can learn more about Lisa at her website. Order a copy of 12 Before 13 from Lisa’s favorite bookstore, Book Culture.com.

Lisa Greenwald is the author of the Pink & Green series, the Friendship List series, the TBH series and four other books for tweens. She lives in New York City with her husband and two young daughters. She loves sunglasses, reading, the beach, and sushi.

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