Adele Griffin is the author of All Pets Allowed. The book is the second one of the The Blackberry Farm series. The novel explores the differences that make us who we are, the importance of love and kindness between siblings, and the many ways that owning a pet can help kids to learn responsibility and compassion for others. YEM was able to speak with Adele about what readers can expect from All Pets Allowed, advice she has for other authors, and what her writing process looks like.
Young Entertainment Mag: When did you first start getting into writing?
Adele Griffin: The time I wrote a story about this girl who froze a cup of tea and invented a new dessert. When I was about 7-8 years old, I liked to freeze things—mud, erasers, gum, food or drinks, ketchup, markers flowers, hot tea. After I wrote the story, I remember feeling so happy to read it. I knew that girl!
YEM: What can readers expect from your new The Blackberry Farm series book All Pets Allowed?
Adele: More animals! In The Becket List, I loved writing about Laying Godiva (the hen) and Mr. Fancypants (the pug) and the relationships between kids and animals. And Le-Uyen’s animal illustrations add such a sparkle. So in this book, each of the kids gets a pet. More pets, more pet pics!
YEM: What would you say is the major difference between All Pets Allowed and the first book in the series?
Adele: In the first book, Becket is working through how it feels to be a city kid who moves out to the country. In All Pets Allowed, she is learning how to care for her new, quirky, time-intensive adopted dog. So in book 2, Becket’s attention and problem-solving is all focused outward. It’s a book about how we care for the ones we care about.
YEM: What is something that you want your readers to take with them after reading your book?
Adele: I think there’s lots of love blended in with the humor of the Becket books. Caroline, Becket, and Nicholas all have strong, self-determined personalities—as do the pets, Dibs and Given—all under one roof. But the kids all learn how to make space, because of course there is enough room for everyone.
YEM: Do you have any advice for those who also want to be an author?
Adele: My advice to myself is not to be shy about sharing work. I think it’s good practice for publishing a book to have those strong support groups and readers as early as possible.
YEM: What does your writing process look like?
Adele: We just moved to Los Angeles, and I’m getting used to how the day starts earlier. We are always trying to catch up with the East Coast. Laptop open by 8 AM. I love mornings, but I’ll work anytime. I enjoy multiple projects in a day. The risky will-this-work project, the more sure-footed project, and the revise-or-related projects, like q&as J I put lots of reading in my writing day/night—fiction, nonfiction, middle grade, anything. Especially debuts. I read a debut YA this week, Both Sides Now by Peyton Thomas and it is incredible!
YEM: It has been said that the personality of the character Becket Branch is inspired by your two sons, is anything else in your books inspired from your life?
Adele: We have a dog, Trudy, who is 3 years old, and a cat, Toby, who is 4 years old, and The Trudy and Toby Show absolutely took over our house. They love to play, and their personalities rub off on each other. The dog bats her paws, and the cat rolls over. It’s easy to be inspired by their activity.
YEM: Is there someone who always reads your work before anyone else?
Adele: My friend Courtney Sheinmel is my go-to my read. She also writes for kids and so her mind and editorial thoughts are intuitive and supportive. Courtney and I just wrote something together and we asked Sarah Mlynowski to read it, for this same reason.
YEM: Who inspires you most to write?
Adele: Me, I guess? Nobody wants me to write a book as much as I want me to write it!
YEM: What is your favorite part of the writing process?
Adele: First drafts, no matter how flawed, are where all the fun is at. After draft 1, it’s work.
YEM: Where did the initial idea for The Blackberry Farm series come from?
Adele: Elise Howard, my editor, wanted another adventure for Becket (hooray!) but all I had at first were Becket and Nicholas, the twins, experiencing this semi-disastrous birthday. I also imagined Becket and Nicholas each getting a pet as birthday gift. But it was a piecemeal plot. The last piece was the Branch family divided over their school fundraiser donations, one half of the family saving everything, the other half wanting to donate all. That is my own real-life family, for sure.
YEM: Do you have any more plans for The Blackberry Farm series?
Adele: I’d love to write more Blackberry Farm books. Becket has a voice that’s honest and open, and she’s such an easy hang with her siblings and friends and animals. She’s time well spent!