Blog Tour: Dork Diaries

1416980067On June 2, 2009, author Rachel Renee Russell released her debut middle grade  book Dork Diaries.   Never fear, being a dork is cool these days and Nikki Maxwell, the dorky protagonist, embraces her dork status.

To welcome Nikki and Rachel to The Brown Bookshelf family, I sat down with the two of them recently to talk about the book, Nikki’s life as a dork, Rachel’s journey to publication, and what’s next for the both of them.

Nikki, what makes you a dork?
 NM:  It all started when that snob, MacKenzie, called me a dork because I was always writing in my diary.  She said, “OMG!  Only a dork writes in a diary!”  And, I was like, “If I flush, will you go away!”  But, after a while, that word started to take on a different meaning for me.  Now, dork means independent, different and unconventional, which are all good things.  I call myself, dorkalicious :-)!

Dork Diaries is coming to the big screen.  Who are your ideal choices to play you, Mackenzie, and Brandon?
NM:  I would love to be cast as myself in the movie.  I was the understudy for Little Red Riding Hood back in second grade, so I know I can do it.  And, of course, I think Brandon should play himself too, especially since I have this huge crush on him.   I would NOT want MacKenzie anywhere near the movie set.  She is such a diva! I think that snobby girl from High School Musical, Sharpay, should be cast as MacKenzie.  I believe the actress’ name is Ashley Tisdale.

Who’s your celebrity crush?
NM:  I have two: Nick Jonas, from the Jonas Brothers and Corbin Bleu, from High School Musical.  I even drew sketches of both of them in my diary.

The remote control is in your hand, what’s on the TV screen?
NM:  I LOVE that brand new TV show GLEE!  It’s High School Musical on steroids!

I believe a lot of kids will be able to relate to various things that happen to you.  Do you ever plan to go from a written diary to an online blog?  Maybe have an advice column for fellow dorks?
NM:  Actually, I already have a blog  at  http://www.dorkdiariesblog.com.  The advice column is a good idea.  I think I’m going to consider adding one since being in middle school can sometimes be really traumatic.

Nickelodeon or Disney?
NM:  I’m a Disney kind of girl.  Actually, I’m really hoping Disney will buy the film rights to my diary.  Then,  I can use the money to get that iPhone I’ve been wanting.  And, maybe buy some more art supplies and a new wardrobe from the Mall.  Oh!  And, since I don’t have a drivers license yet, I would need to buy a private jet like Oprah’s.

Rachel, what’s next for Nikki Maxwell?
RRR:  I’m currently working on Book 2 which will be released in the Spring of 2010.

What inspired you to create Dork Diaries?
RRR:  I wanted to write and illustrate a really funny book for Tween girls.  And, I wanted it to have a unique voice, be slightly quirky and contain a lot of pop culture.  I mainly wanted to make people laugh.

I loved the artwork in Dork Diaries.  What led you to create a graphic novel?  Who did the artwork for Dork Diaries?
RRR:  Actually, the book format is not a true graphic novel.  It’s usually referred to as a “hybrid” or “illustrated novel.”  I am the illustrator of the book.  However, toward the end, I started running a bit behind schedule so I took on two assistant artists to help get it finished by the deadline, which is not that unusual when you’re both writing and illustrating a huge project.

Every author has their own story about what led them to pick up a pen to write that first story and how their book was born.  What is your story?
RRR:  I started writing and illustrating homemade books for my family members back in grade school.  I also did several for my two daughters when they were younger.  So, it’s been something I’ve always loved doing.  In recent years, I’ve written a young adult book, a middle grade graphic novel and  Dork Diaries.  So, although this is actually my third book, it’s the first one to get published.

Your main character, Nikki,  is not an African-American. Why did you choose to do this?
RRR:  The character, Nikki, came to me as she is written.  At first I was hesitant, but I remembered reading an article about Shonda Rhimes, the creator, writer and executive director of the hit television show, Grey’s Anatomy.  She was my inspiration for attempting to write a main character very different from myself. The other two major characters in Dork Diaries are  Zoey, who is African-American and Chloe, who is Hispanic.  So, my book has quite a bit of diversity.  The three girls are best friends and are considered the biggest dorks in their school.  They get into all sorts of hilarious mischief.

Diary of a Wimpy Kid took the MG/YA audience by storm with its debut in 2007.  I’ve seen a lot of buzz about your book as well as the expected comparison and contrast to Diary of a Wimpy Kid.  How does that make you feel?  Is there more pressure for Dork Diaries to stand out from Diary of a Wimpy Kid’s shadow?
RRR:  Diary of a Wimpy Kid is a funny and well-written series.  So, I’m really flattered by any comparison.  Dork Diaries, however, is very different.  It’s from a female perspective and deals with issues Tween girls face on a daily basis.  My main character is a bit older and has an edgier voice.  And, my artwork has a slight manga influence.  However, I would be totally elated if  Dork Diaries does even half as well as Diary of a Wimpy Kid!

Rachel and Nikki have been busy blog hopping this week and it doesn’t end today.  Check out some of their other tour stops.

A Patchwork of Books

Peeking Between the Pages

Next week, she will be featured at Bildungsroman on June 8th, That Teen Can Blog on June 10th, and The Reading Zone on June 12th.

Don’t forget to leave a comment to be entered into a drawing to win a copy of Dork Diaries along with a very cool purse that contains items mentioned in the book.

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6 Responses to Blog Tour: Dork Diaries

  1. summer says:

    Great interview. The book looks really cute.

  2. olugbemisola says:

    Nikki has such a strong voice! Great interviews.

  3. imadork2 says:

    this sounds like a rly good book. Its nice to see more books out there that show that it’s ok to be a “dork” even tho deep down everyone is a dork in some way.

  4. Judy Mayton says:

    I can’t wait to read the book. Good luck and God bless you as you prosper and be in good health, even as your soul prospers.

  5. [...] of finding her place after she gives up on being part of the elite group. Ages 9-13. Reviews 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6. My Unwilling Witch: Rumblewick, a Highly Qualified Witch’s Cat, records in his diary [...]

  6. Ava says:

    Great Job Rachel! The book and illustrations are amazing!

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