Day 19: Rachel Renee Russell


Rachel Renee Russell grew up in Saint Joseph, Michigan, a small city located on the shore of Lake Michigan. She has 2 younger sisters and 2 younger twin brothers. She wrote and illustrated her first book in 6th grade as a birthday present for my brothers. Her New York Times bestselling series, beginning with DORK DIARIES: TALES FROM A NOT-SO FABULOUS LIFE (Aladdin/Simon & Schuster, 2009), and DORK DIARIES TWO: TALES FROM A NOT-SO FABULOUS PARTY GIRL (Aladdin/Simon & Schuster, 2010) is a favourite of kids everywhere (I see children clutching it on NYC subways all of the time!), and was recently name-checked in a Times article about the growing popularity of e-readers among kids and teens.

Called “charming and funny”, by Graphic Novel Reporter, DORK DIARIES follows eighth grader Nikki Maxwell, who chronicles through text and sketches her move to a snooty new school; her epic battle with her mom for an iPhone; her enthusiasm for drawing & art; and a love/hate fascination with the new school’s queen bee, a girl named Mackenzie who becomes Nikki’s rival in a school-wide art competition.

The saga continues, when, settled in at her new school and flanked by awesome friends Chloe and Zoey, life is looking up for Nikki Maxwell, especially since her crush, Brandon, asked her to be his lab partner—a seriously awesome development. However, when Nikki overhears mean girl Mackenzie bragging that Brandon’s taking her to the Halloween dance, a bummed Nikki signs on to spend Halloween at a kids’ party with her little sister, Brianna, instead. After she finds out Mackenzie was lying and her dream of going to the party with Brandon could be a reality, Nikki has two events to juggle… plus plenty of other entertaining trials and tribulations along the way.

You can feel the fun, can’t you?

Russell is an attorney, but enjoys writing children’s books more than practicing law. She currently reside in northern Virginia.

What aspect of storytelling most appeals to you? What’s the biggest challenge?

I enjoy taking my readers on an exciting journey that will ultimately lead them to some sort of self-discovery. I feel the most challenging aspect of storytelling is plot development. I also work really hard to present unique and interesting characters that readers can relate to.


Which of your characters are favorites (I know, that’s a hard
one!), and why? Which characters were more difficult to write?

My favorite character is Nikki Maxwell. Although she is insecure and a bit of a dork, she has a wicked sense of humor. Because I have two daughters, I’m very familiar with how teen girls think, act and speak. However, I sometimes struggle with writing authentic teen male characters.

How do you discover and get to know your characters?

Actually, I’m still in the process of getting to know my characters. I’ve found that the more time I spend writing about them, the better I get to know them.

What would you like to write that you haven’t written yet?
Is there anything, a different genre or style, that you’d like to try?

My Dork Diaries books are realistic fiction, so I would like to try writing fantasy or paranormal. I’d love to one day write a Young Adult book for older teens and a Chapter book for younger children.

What brings you joy?

I’m happiest when I’m spending quality time with my family.

What interview question would you like to be asked, and what’s your answer?

Your daughter, Nikki, helps illustrate the Dork Diaries series. Has she ever considered writing and illustrating her own book?

As a matter of fact, yes. Nikki is currently working on her own illustrated novel.

Congratulations to her! And a mother-daughter collaboration is inspiring. What can we look forward to seeing from you in the future? What are you working on now?

I’m looking forward to releasing a book offering fun and creative tips about how to keep your own personal Dork Diaries. I’m currently finishing Book 3 which is Dork Diaries: Tales From a Not-So-Talented Pop Star. It will be released in June 2011.

Ooh, there are a lot of people looking forward to that — thank you, Rachel!

See reviews of DORK DIARIES from School Library Journal and Graphc Novel Reporter.

Visit Rachel Renee Russell online, and be prepared for fun!
Check out the Dork Diaries book trailer and hilarious blog. And hear from Rachel herself on her inspiration, writing process, and more.

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27 Responses to Day 19: Rachel Renee Russell

  1. tanita says:

    Hey, neat – not a lot of people of color in graphic novels, so yay for Ms. Russell. I’m not up on graphics, but even I have heard of this series! Exciting!

  2. I love Dork Diaries it is such a fun read.

  3. Karen Strong says:

    My god-daughters ADORE these books. Just like a lot of other readers they will be devouring the next installment in June.

  4. I’ve turned a nine-year-old on to my copy of Dork Diaries. Now she’s snooping around my bookshelves for more! That’s so awesome. Congratulations on a great interview RRR, and wishing you continued success with Dork Diaries! And Nikki, too!

  5. olugbemisola says:

    Have to add that I just came from my daughter’s dance class, and two girls were trading books 1 & 2 in the waiting room. Very cute!

  6. Kelly says:

    Just saw Dork Diaries at my daughter’s school book fair. So proud of all you’re doing!

  7. My oldest daughter’s (she’s 11) eyes lit up after I read Ms. Russell’s profile and told her a 3rd book was coming out in June! And she wants it as soon as it comes out (I’d suggested maybe she’d like it for her birthday in August–but, no, she can’t wait that long). Ms. Russell, you’re doing a FANTASTIC job! :)

  8. ashleigh says:

    I love your books

  9. Julie says:

    I read all your books 5 times and am still ready ing them i hated ready intell i read your books i beg my mom 2 meet u.

  10. anna says:

    Des is a cooles book

  11. SCARLETT says:

    HI RACHEL I AM SCARLETT FROM DELPHI COMMUNITY ELEMENTARY SCHOOL AND I REALLY NEED YOUR HELP I AM MAKIN AN AUTHOR SLIDE SHOW AND I SUPER NEED TO ASK YOU SOME QUESTIONS CAN YOU HELP ME AND HAVE TIME TO DO THIS OR RECCOMENED ME SOME WEBSITES CAUSE GIRL YOU ARE HARD TO FIND THANKS RACHEL AND I LOVE YOUR BOOKS I AM ALMOST FINISHED WITH ALL THE BOOKS I READ THE 1 AND 2 I AM READING THE 3 THANKS AGAIN

  12. jazmine says:

    i love all of your books i read all of them at least 4 times im a big fan i am doing a book progect on your 2end book and im having a lot of fun learning about you and would love to hear from you!

  13. jalia says:

    Rachel you rock! i just love all you books you know a girls perspective!

  14. kat says:

    Rachel i just read the third dork diaries and it totally rocked!you are the best author ever!

  15. Wonderer says:

    Hi. I am doing a book report on Rachel Renee Russell and i am wondering if any of you fans could possibly know the answer to one of these questions… Which books is she most proud of and why, and if she had any favorite auothers? Thank yall so much for answering these questions. :D

  16. Rebekah says:

    i am a huge fan i just got ur 4th book yesterday. i was begging my mom and dad to get it for me.i now have every one of ur books until #5 comes out. well nice chatting with you! bye! p.s. i love writing stories too!

  17. I love your books im doing a texte on you !!

  18. nakesha says:

    love your books love them llooooooooooovvvvvvvveeeeeeeeeee them

  19. sasha says:

    rrr is the best i love her books i am also doing a report on her peace out

  20. erin the singer says:

    i am OBSESSED with these books!!!!!!

  21. Eliza says:

    I loooooooooooove these books

  22. jocey says:

    i love these books i have all of them

  23. Marissa says:

    I love you Rachel! I am doing a research project on an author and I chose you. I am having lots of fun learning about you. I love all of your books and I am waiting for my mom to buy me book number six. All of these people posting comments love you too. Love you again!

  24. LEAH says:

    IT IS THE ONLY BOOK I GET COZY AND READ THE BOOK FOR MORE THAN HOUR!

  25. […] Acquires Rachel Renee Russell’s ‘Dork Diaries’ Book Series Posted by Wilson […]

  26. fancy says:

    i looooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooove your books you rock

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