Saturday, May 26, 2007

Interview: Lisa Yee

Lisa Yee is the author of three Middle Grade novels: Millicent Min, Girl Genius; Stanford Wong Flunks Big Time and So Totally Emily Ebers. Read my review of the first book here. I interviewed Lisa about books, inspiration, and her latest project. You can visit her online at or her humorous blog,

When you were a kid, was your personality closest to Millicent's, Stanford's, or Emily's?

I was a combination of Millicent/Emily. If I got less than an A on a grade I would pass out. However, I enjoyed shopping and was somewhat social.

What inspired Millicent Min, Girl Genius?

Millicent Min's story was inspired by two words: Child Psychologist. I thought it would be funny to write a novel about a child who was a psychologist. And so, I wrote one. Later, I threw it all away, but kept the main character, a girl genius. Eventually, that morphed into Millicent Min, Girl Genius.

What are some of your favorite books for kids or young adults that have come out recently?

Recent adult books I've enjoyed are The Memory Keepers Daughter, the book by Craig Ferguson (who has a late night talk show)--I am blanking out on the title, and 19 Minutes by Jodi Picoult. Kids books that I've gobbled up include Hugo Cabret, Fan Boy and Goth Girl, and Grief Girl by Erin Vincent.

Describe something funny that has happened to you as a result of being an author.

I'm in Hawaii right now for the Hawaii Book and Music Festival. My author escort told me she's going to tell everyone that I'm Amy Tan. Tonight is a big gala ball and I forgot to bring something resort-y nice to wear. (I came directly here from the Toronto IRA and I have one nice cold weather outfit.) So I went shopping last night, but didn't find anything. Then I realized, it doesn't matter what I wear ... since everyone will think I'm Amy Tan!

Are you planning on writing any other books in Mil-Stan-Em's world?

At this moment, I am not planning any more Millie Trilly books.

What can readers look forward to next?

I have a YA coming out in 2008 called Charm School Dropout. It's very funny, but touches on some issues that are much edgier than those in my other novels.

What's the best writing advice you've ever received?

Stephen King once told me (okay, I read it in his book On Writing) that dialogue should be like gossip. Something you want to overhear. I thought that was brilliant.

What's your favorite thing about being a writer?

My favorite thing about being a writer is that I get paid to do what I love.

Thanks for the great questions, Erin!

Thank you for the great answers!


Anidori-Isilee said...

Great interview. Ms. Yee seems really nice.

Acting Gal said...


Sookie said...

Wonderful interview. I'll have to check out those books sometime.
And're reading Doomed Queen Anne!!!! You should also read Mary, Bloody Mary and the one about Elizabeth I and I think there's even one about Mary's mother-Catherine (all by Carolyn Meyer). Okay, so you can now tell that I am a total Tudor history junkie ;-)

Erin said...

Sookie - I've read all of those. :) 'Doomed Queen Anne' is the only one I hadn't. Did you know she had a new one just out in the series? 'Duchessina: A Novel of Catherine de Medici'.

Anidori-Isilee said...

Yeah. I saw Duchessina on and at Borders too.

Doomed Queen Anne was my favorite in the series.

Mary, Bloody Mary launched my certain-to-be-life-long love of everything Tudor England-related. :-)