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Author Spotlight: Ellen Booraem

Time for more Author Spotlights! Today, I bring you Ellen Booraem. I've had so much fun getting to know Ellen for this post. She is truly amazing, and if you haven't checked out her books, you are missing out. 

Here is a little bit about her most recent release, Texting The Underworld [love that title]:

BROOKLIN, Maine—What would it take to bring out the hero in a naturally fearful person?

Which is worse: Losing a loved one or dying yourself? 

Those are two of the questions facing 12-year-old Conor O’Neil, the protagonist (some would 
say “hero”) of TEXTING THE UNDERWORLD, Ellen Booraem’s latest fantasy for ages 10-14. 
Published by the Penguin imprint Dial Books for Young Readers, the book hit bookstores 
August 15, 2013. 

As of late June, Kirkus Reviews had given the new book a starred review. The Horn Book praised 
it for “complex characters, a moving story line centered on family and courage, and plenty of 
exciting moments.” 

Conor, a perpetual scaredy-cat, has the fright of his life when a young banshee named Ashling 
shows up in his bedroom. Like all banshees, Ashling is a harbinger of death—but she’s new at 
this banshee business and first she insists on going to middle school. Even as Conor struggles to 
hide her identity from his classmates and teachers, he realizes his family won’t be safe unless he 
does the scariest thing ever: pay a visit to the Underworld, trusty cell phone in hand. 

Booraem’s SMALL PERSONS WITH WINGS, now out in paperback, made Best of the Year 
lists for Publisher’s Weekly, Kirkus Reviews, The Washington Post and the Bank Street Center 
for Children’s Literature. Her first middle-grade fantasy, THE UNNAMEABLES, was a Junior 
Library Guild selection, an American Library Association Best Book for Young Adults and a 
Kirkus Best Book of 2008. 

A reporter and editor for The Ellsworth American and the Penobscot Bay Press papers for two 
decades, Booraem quit her job in 2003 to write her first book. Before moving to Maine, she was 
a writer and editor in Rhode Island and Massachusetts, where she grew up. She lives in Brooklin 
with artist Robert Shillady. 

More information about Booraem and TEXTING THE UNDERWORLD is available at She also is a member of The Enchanted Inkpot, a blog by and for 

children’s fantasy writers ( )

My favorite part of the Author Spotlights are the wacky Q&A I make them do! Here are Ellen's answers to these December-inspired questions:
  • Your main villain has decided to take over traditional Christmas traditions. Tell me what he/she does to make the holiday different (think Nightmare Before Christmas)  - Hmm. I guess my villain is the Lady who runs the Underworld, although she’s more nuts than evil. (So would you be if you were stuck in the same place and the same job for all time.) She entertains herself by manipulating people and events,  just to see what happens.  So at the very least she’d switch the tags on presents worldwide and turn off everyone’s oven an hour after the turkey went in.  (If we ate the turkey and died of salmonella, so much the better.) She’d try to get her Birds to confer the power of life and death on random unsuspecting revelers, but I suspect the Birds would just look at her funny and groom their feathers.
  • You are giving a present to your all-time favorite author. What is it and why did you choose it? - Selfishly, I would figure out a way to reincarnate Diana Wynne Jones as herself (and healthy!) so she could write more books. Unfortunately,  I don’t think either the Lady or her Birds could pull that off. Nor am I sure Ms. Jones would thank me.
  • If you could achieving absolutely anything in 2014, what would it be? - I would make the book I’m working on come out with exactly the humor, color, and texture I’ve given it in my head. That never happens. But I can always hope!
    Oh dear. I should have said peace on earth, shouldn’t I?
See why I am loving Ellen! She is just epic, as are her books. THANK YOU Ellen for joining me today.

Be sure to join me next week, when I spotlight Ednah Walters


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