Episode 336: Realistic Middle Grade: Balancing the Light and Dark— Interview with Marcella Pixley

by Gabriela Pereira
published in Podcast

Today, I have the pleasure of interviewing Marcella Pixley, the author of four acclaimed books for young people.

Her novel Freak was a Kirkus Best Book of the Year for 2007, Without Tess was a Junior Library Guild Selection, and Ready to Fall was a Bank Street of Education Best Book for 2017. Her most recent novel Trowbridge Road was just recently named as one of ten books for children for the National Book Awards 2020.

Marcella first began her writing career as a poet and has published in several literary journals including Sow’s Ear Poetry Review, Prairie Schooner and Poet Lore, plus she was nominated for a Pushcart Prize. Her fiction has a lyric quality, which makes sense given her roots in poetry, and teaches 8th grade Language Arts at the Carlisle Public Schools.

Today we’ll be discussing Marcella’s most recent book, Trowbridge Road.

In this episode Marcella and I discuss:

  • How her personal childhood experiences and her diagnosis of OCD inspired her book Trowbridge Road.
  • Why she believes that MG should be written authentically to reflect realistic, traumatic, and difficult childhood experiences.
  • What character voices, detailed moments, and scenes she specifically crafted to reflect her experiences. 

Plus, their #1 tip for writers.

About the Author

Marcella Pixley is the author of four acclaimed books for young people. Her novel FREAK was a Kirkus Best Book of the Year for 2007, WITHOUT TESS was a Junior Library Guild Selection, READY TO FALL was a Bank Street of Education Best Book for 2017, and her most recent novel TROWBRIDGE ROAD was just recently named as one of ten books for children on the National Book Awards 2020. Marcella began her writing career as a poet and has poetry published in numbers of literary journals including Sow’s Ear Poetry Review, Prairie Schooner and Poet Lore, and she was nominated for a Pushcart Prize. Her fiction has a lyric quality which comes from her roots in poetry. Marcella Pixley teaches 8th grade Language Arts at the Carlisle Public Schools.

You can follow Marcella on Facebook, Twitter, and Goodreads

TROWBRIDGE ROAD

Marcella Pixley

In a stunning novel set in the 1980s, a girl with heavy secrets awakens her sleepy street to the complexities of love and courage.

It’s the summer of ’83 on Trowbridge Road, and June Bug Jordan is hungry. Months after her father’s death from complications from AIDS, her mother has stopped cooking and refuses to leave the house, instead locking herself away to scour at the germs she believes are everywhere. June Bug threatens this precarious existence by going out into the neighborhood, gradually befriending Ziggy, an imaginative boy who is living with his Nana Jean after experiencing troubles of his own. But as June Bug’s connection to the world grows stronger, her mother’s grows more distant — even dangerous — pushing June Bug to choose between truth and healing and the only home she has ever known.

Trowbridge Road paints an unwavering portrait of a girl and her family touched by mental illness and grief. Set in the Boston suburbs during the first years of the AIDS epidemic, the novel explores how a seemingly perfect neighborhood can contain restless ghosts and unspoken secrets. Written with deep insight and subtle lyricism by acclaimed author Marcella Pixley, Trowbridge Road demonstrates our power to rescue one another even when our hearts are broken.

If you decide to check out the book, we hope you’ll do so via this Amazon affiliate link, where if you choose to purchase via the link DIY MFA gets a referral fee at no cost to you. As always, thank you for supporting DIY MFA!

Link to Episode 336

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