Vital Life Lessons
Emma Just Medium: The Beach Dilemma follows Emma, the middle child, on a family trip to the beach as she struggles to cope with being ‘medium’. What was the inspiration for the setup of your story?
I’ve always been fascinated by family dynamics and birth order. I’m the oldest of two myself, but became interested in the middle position while raising my own three children. I went on to imagine what would happen if a middle child had officially had it with her family position. The backseat of a car is a spot where someone is literally smushed into the middle, so a road trip seemed a natural place for a middle child to decide it’s time for a change! This story is based on my own family experiences.
Your characters are fun and relatable. What were some driving ideals behind your character’s development?
I became quite attached to my Emma character and it was difficult, although often amusing, to see her struggle. I ultimately wanted her to find a comfort level with where she is at this point in her life and ultimately with who she is as a unique individual. I also wanted to see her parents develop in their understanding of their daughter. Even Emma’s older brother, Big, has a moment of recognition for what his sister is going through, albeit somewhat begrudgingly, which indicates his own growth at the end of the story.
What were some themes that were important for you to explore in this book?
I didn’t set out to work themes into the story-they developed as I followed Emma’s journey. But when they emerged, they boiled down to what I consider vital life lessons: we all have individual strengths and weaknesses, and acceptance of who you are is not only vital but also a dynamic process. These are lessons that are certainly not just for kids–I need to relearn them constantly myself!
What is the next book that you are working on and when will it be available?
I’m cooking up some new ideas for Emma–I’d like to follow her at school, with friends, at camp, and more. I’d also enjoy exploring the world from her brothers’ points-of-view.
In addition, I completed a middle grade novel for kids who are a bit older than this age group featuring triplets that I am putting finishing edits on.
Simultaneously I’m trying my hand at an adult mystery/thriller!
Even though her family calls her Emma Bemma, seven year-old Emma knows she is really just medium. That’s because she’s the middle kid between her two brothers, who everyone calls Big and Little. Big thinks he’s the coolest kid on the planet now that he’s 10. That means he doesn’t want to play Legos, or anything else, with Emma anymore. And everyone thinks Little is just adorable even when he picks his nose and eats it! Ugh. What’s a middle child to do? Sometimes Emma feels like the only one who understands her is her Japanese fighting fish, Star, whose tank is stuck in the middle of his two brothers. And now, Emma has to ride in the middle seat as her family embarks on a weeklong beach vacation with friends, where being just medium will only get worse! Then Emma has an idea. What if she could get out of being in the middle by taking on a new role? What if she acted big? Or even bigger than that? Will things go as planned? Or will she have a huge dilEmma?