I met the cast who inspired me to write Middle Grade

Over the weekend, I was invited to present my book to 100 Emmy nominees. (Tune in Sunday, September 18 to see who wins.) Believe me, I was both excited and honored to share what I’d written. The day was spent meeting young actors, bands, and recording artists who have been tapped to pick up an Emmy.


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A familiar face appeared before me, and I realized it was Sloane Morgan Siegel, the uber-talented young actor who played Gortimer on Amazon’s Gortimer Gibbon’s Life on Normal Street. My heart filled with the kind of happiness you feel when a kid you love graduates and you realize how impressed you are with the young person he or she has become.

I am on the author appearance circuit with my adult novel, but I’m especially proud to have recently completed my first Middle Grade novel, How I Learned To Play Guitar, after two years of writing and revision. It’s no coincidence that my children also entered middle grade over the course of writing my new book. But I owe tremendous gratitude to the writers of Gortimer Gibbon’s Life on Normal Street. The mix of magic realism, authentic relationships, humor, and thoughtful approaches to real-life family issues was hugely inspirational for me. gg-gf2

An excellent TV show is as transcendent and emotionally powerful as a beautifully written book. Siegel’s Middle-Grade show marked their transition from “little kid” stories to wrestling with bigger questions about friendships, family, and school. david-bloom-2While my boys liked the mysteries and laugh-out-loud humor, I couldn’t make it through a Normal Street episode without crying. The show depicts what growing up is all about, and often the lessons are bittersweet. Sloane’s portrayal of Gortimer, and the adventures and conflicts explored by the trio of main characters, including Ranger (Drew Justice) and Mel (Ashley Boettcher), riveted us. As I chatted with the cast, I thought, “I wish my boys were here. They would FREAK.”

I wish the cast, creator David Anaxagoras, and crew every success.





Filed under Fiction Novel Writing, Your highest potential

2 responses to “I met the cast who inspired me to write Middle Grade

  1. Mindi

    I really enjoyed reading this, and I can relate to everything you’ve said! I found this series one night this past March. I was looking at videos on my Kindle after my kids went to bed. I found Gortimer and decided to watch one episode to see if it was something that would be good to start showing my kids (ages 8, 6, and 3). I ended up getting hooked myself, though. Over the next few weeks, I watched the entire 2 seasons (the final season wasn’t out at that time.) I finished both seasons before even showing them to my kids! I rewatched several episodes and then finally started my kids watching them! They also thoroughly enjoyed them, although, just like you stated, they enjoyed the surface of what was happening, while I was pulling out the deeper meaning of the whole story. For 3 months, I anticipated the release of the final season. When it arrived, I again watched the season by myself first, at night (call me selfish, but I wanted to be able to take it all in without talking, and interruptions and questions about things that were happening 😉). Needless to say, as I watched the episodes, I had several good middle-of-the-night cry fests and moments of nostalgia. Then I mentioned the new season to my kids, and rewatched it with them. This show has been an excellent find and has been so inspirational for me. The writing is fantastic, and the actors are superb. Loving to write myself, I can see how this show inspired you to write a book. I hope your book is available soon. I would love to read it!

    • Thank you for this wonderful, heartfelt message! So good to hear from another mom. I’d love to have you read my next book.
      I hope that the success of this show inspires Amazon to create more meaty, entertaining and well-written content. I think viewers are hungry for intelligent shows with talented young actors exploring real (or even better–magical!) adventures. Thanks for letting me know I’m not alone. You just made my day.

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