More reasons to love indie bookstores…

SCIBABestsellerListI’m embarrassed by how much bragging  I’m getting to do lately: I’m not sure fictional Luna Vista’s Royal Court themselves could possibly feel more spoiled and feted than The Tiara on the Terrace in its first week out. Thanks to booksellers, friends, family, and local fans TIARA came out of the gate at #6 on the SoCal Indie bestseller list — and held the #1 spot in hardcover children’s fiction at Vroman’s, Once Upon A Time, and Warwick’s!

Very rightly so, Sherri Smith’s brilliant The Toymaker’s Apprentice was running rings around The Tiara on the Terrace at its #2 spot — above STAR WARS, no less.

I’ve been having a blast on the Royally Fun Reads tour with fellow Harper authors Jennifer Lynn Alvarez (THE GUARDIAN HERD series) and Anne Nesbet (THE WRINKLED CROWN). Pictures of our adventures in the Bay Area and LA coming soon! Favorite moment so far? When a savvy first grader on a budget raised her hand to and asked: “So. Which of your books is the best?”


Vroman’s and Warwick’s Bestseller Lists


Release Week Fun

I’m thrilled THE TIARA ON THE TERRACE is officially out in the world! This book took a while to write; I had some personally sad times that made it hard to channel the necessary silliness and sense of fun — but once I found my stride, I had so much fun — and I hope readers do, too. I’m very proud of it — and its universally positive trade reviews I’ve been forgetting to brag about here.


Publishers Weekly “Picture of the Day”

I was so grateful for (and overwhelmed by) its parade-worthy send-off this week. Over 250 people packed The Armory Center for the Arts in Pasadena to enjoy root beer floats (to honor the fictional Winter Sun Festival’s literal “root beer float” parade entry) generously donated by Mother Moo Creamery, play spy games, decorate mini-floats, and make silly faces in the photo booth run by Russell Gearhart and talented YA debut author Ingrid Sundberg.Photo by Joe Alvarez for Russell Gearhart Photography Author Kristen Kittscher's book launch for her middle-grade novel The Tiara on the Terrace, at the Armory Center for the Arts in Pasadena, CA on Jan. 3, 2016.

Photo by Joe Alvarez for Russell Gearhart Photography Author Kristen Kittscher's book launch for her middle-grade novel The Tiara on the Terrace, at the Armory Center for the Arts in Pasadena, CA on Jan. 3, 2016.

Surprising my goddaughter with her dedication (All below photos by Joe Alvarez for Russell Gearhart Photography)


Photo by Russell Gearhart Photography

Photo by Joe Alvarez for Russell Gearhart Photography Author Kristen Kittscher's book launch for her middle-grade novel The Tiara on the Terrace, at the Armory Center for the Arts in Pasadena, CA on Jan. 3, 2016.


Decorating success!

Photo by Russell Gearhart Photography

The actors from the book trailer ham it up in the photobooth!

Audiobook narrator and voice actor Amanda Philipson joined me to perform excerpts from the book — thank goodness. She brings the cast of characters to live so much better than I could reading.

Photo by Joe Alvarez for Russell Gearhart Photography Author Kristen Kittscher's book launch for her middle-grade novel The Tiara on the Terrace, at the Armory Center for the Arts in Pasadena, CA on Jan. 3, 2016.

I won’t be forgetting that day any time soon.


If I’m quiet here in the next months, it’s because I’m busy traveling and writing! Hope to catch some of you in either San Francisco, Berkeley, Portland, Seattle, Cincinnati, New York, or Connecticut soon and looking forward to the road trip:-)

Leaked Footage from TIARA’s Marketing Meeting!?

What’s the saying? If life hands you lemons, make lemonade? When embarrassing footage from a Tiara on the Terrace marketing meeting leaked out, Vroman’s bookseller (and filmmaker) Josh Crute and I decided to make…cake.

Check out Betsy Bird’s Fuse #8 blog at School Library Journal today and you’ll see what I mean.

What’s that? You don’t buy that story? You shouldn’t.

It was indeed very much a planned “leak.” A few months ago a fun idea struck me and I pushed it away, knowing I had neither the skill, talent, or time to pull it off. A few days later, I went shopping for books at Vroman’s. All the more reason to support your local indie: because there I happened to learn that children’s bookseller Josh Crute was also a recent film school grad whose thesis film was a kids’ comedy. We shared the same taste in kids’ books (Thurber’s Thirteen Clocks, among others) and–though I barely knew him–I knew we’d have fun. I didn’t know how talented he’d be, to boot! We had a blast writing a script together, then set to work scouting talent. Thank goodness for friends willing to let their kids spend a day in the spotlight!

It was a pretty hilarious day. Click through this gallery to see shots of our “behind the scenes” fun!

Filming didn’t always go as planned:

I wish I had footage of all the kids singing an operatic version of “Mary Had a Little Lamb” in between takes…

The Wig in the Window fans might remember the “higher-ups,” Jackie & Amelia from their first turn on the small screen, when they accused me of plagiarism. We had such a fun reunion. You’ll note the panda shirt’s been traded in for awesome purple hair. And that this time, I purposely made sure I had no lines.

Hope you enjoyed watching! Want some very fun spy swag and a signed copy of The Tiara on the Terrace? Vroman’s and Once Upon A Time Bookstores are offering a special pre-order giveaway.

Thanks to this amazing group of kids and the crew of friends who so kindly offered their professional services and much, much time, effort, and good humor: Josh Crute (director, co-writer, editor), Alex Cameron (director of photography), Tina Trinh (costume design), and Chris Thueson (sound mixing). And while I don’t want to post minors’ names, if you’re a film producer looking for your next star, shoot me an email and I’ll have their people call your people:-) A very special thanks goes to the stars’ parents, to Alyson Beecher for casting help, and to J. Scavo and Warner Brothers Records for allowing us to film at their offices — not to mention my husband, Kai, and cousin, Konrad, our resident PAs!

Advance Reader Copies of TIARA!

TiaraArrivesThey’re here! They’re here! Advance Reader Copies of THE TIARA ON THE TERRACE arrived today, and I’m over the moon. It took me a good long while to get this book the way I wanted it—–but I couldn’t be prouder of the result.

I can’t wait to share it!

January 5th feels so far away, but keep an eye out for fun pre-order promotions and giveaways when we get closer.

Adventures at Thurber House

“Columbus is a town in which almost anything is likely to happen, and in which almost everything has.” – James Thurber

Thurber-HouseFall may be approaching, but my head is still back in Columbus, Ohio, where I was lucky enough to spend the better part of the summer as this year’s Children’s Writer-in-Residence at Thurber House, a literary center and museum located in James Thurber’s former home.

I already miss it! For me, there could be nothing better than five glorious weeks of writing, teaching workshops to brilliant kids, touring Columbus, and soaking up Thurber’s wit—all while fulfilling my childhood Mixed Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler dreams of living in a museum. A haunted Victorian mansion, no less.

The summer was a perfect combination of retreat and inspiration. Most mornings I’d have the chance to work with kids in the community, either at Thurber House’s own creative writing summer camp or at various community outreach organizations and libraries, such as the Dowd Center for Homeless Families and the Old Worthington library. The students wowed me with their inventive ideas involving mysteries set in everything from other dimensions and haunted taco stands, and their enthusiasm spilled into my own work each afternoon. I’d even frequently take writing breaks to hash out my own plot troubles with fourth and fifth graders: they made the perfect lunchtime critique partners!



Columbus certainly lived up to Thurber’s famous description: Not two hours into my stay I nearly died of a heart attack when I stumbled across a mannequin in period dress as I searched for a light switch.


The next afternoon I accidentally had my groceries delivered smack in the middle of a donor’s birthday party and a tour group’s afternoon visit of the mansion.

2014-07-16-19.22.02-1024x576Over the course of my month there, I managed to call the police on the police (what can I say? I heard a squeaky gate at midnight!), got pulled into a musical flash mob to celebrate a couple’s engagement, and happened into no fewer than four summer festivals underway – including a Hitchcock film series!

Then, there was, of course the day the “ghost” got in. The security alarm accidentally went off, landing me squarely in a Thurberesque tale when the police came (again!), guns drawn, to search the house.

2014-07-20-10.25.42My favorite moment might have been settling into Thurber’s parlor to read The Thirteen Clocks aloud with my pal, Caroline Carlson, who came to visit for the weekend.



It’s so rare for a writer to be able to strike a balance between having time away to dream and filling the creative well. Thurber House was a magical place where I had the best of both worlds – along with more than a little inspiration from the ghost, the wonderfully nurturing staff, and the many visiting writers who’ve come before me. I’m deeply grateful for the experience — and honored my picture will hang next to so many writers I admire.


If you’re a children’s writer with fewer than five published books out, I highly recommend you apply. Don’t just take my word for it, either! Past residents Lisa Yee, Donna Gephardt and Alan Silberberg have shared their own Thurber adventures online. (Many, many thanks to them and past residents Keith McGowan and Hope Anita Smith for reaching out to welcome me and offer advice)

And—if you have kids who are interested in writing—I wouldn’t think twice about booking a vacation in Columbus for a week so they could attend their incredible writing camp. I’ve taught for 15 years and haven’t seen anything like it!

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The Wig in the Window, Hungarian Edition!

Paroka az Ablakban Paróka az Ablakban releases in Hungary today! As a language nerd and former Comp Lit major, I’m especially excited about it. I might just have to learn Hungarian…

Many thanks to translator Brigi Hudácskó and publisher Főnix Könyvműhely! I love the cover, and am especially pleased my favorite middle grade author Kirsten Miller’s blurb graces it.

The next time I visit my husband’s family in Germany, I think I’ll have to make a detour through Hungary…



Want a signed copy of The Tiara on the Terrace with fantastically fun spy swag?Click here for details.

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Find out more about my school visits!