Author Maria T. Lennon on “Who My Character Really Is” in Confessions of a So-Called Middle Child

9 Jan

Today’s guest is author Maria T. Lennon with her discussion on Charlie, the lead role, in her latest book.  In Confessions of a So-Called Middle Child, turning your back on popularity and facing the mean girls head-on proves to be fun and rewarding. Charlie is a hilariously spunky recovering bully and tween hacker who gets expelled from her fancy Malibu Charter School for a laxative prank gone wrong and finds herself “shrinked” for middle child syndrome and getting more than she bargained for at her new school in the über hippy community of Laurel Canyon, Los Angeles.

Maria’s target audience love Charlie and I wish to thank Maria for sharing her insights into her much loved character.



Interview with the author: When I go into schools and start the presentation of my new children’s novel CONFESSIONS OF A SO-CALLED MIDDLE CHILDI always start by saying that Charlie is no role model.  I tell the kids, “She’s really not that nice.  But,” I add, “She has a great heart.”  I show them the cover—the artists at Harper’s did a great job at conveying her standard expression of displeasure. confessions of a middle child

And then I ask the kids how many of them are middle children. Usually one half to a third of the group raise their hands. Then I ask them if they know what middle children are best known for. And they say:

“Being naughty.” “Trying to get attention by being bad.” “Getting blamed for everything.” “Getting the raw end of the family deal.”


And so I tell them about Charlie. She’s partially based on my own Charlie and so many Charlie’s I’ve met over the years of hanging out with my kids and all of their friends. And many of the situations that come up in the book are based on what I have seen over the last decade of going to schools every day. In particular, it addresses girls being mean to one another. But it does so—I hope—in a very funny way.

The thing I’ve also found is that kids like reading about someone who makes mistakes, about someone their age who deals with all of the same social issues and makes a real mess of things. Because they make a mess of things too.  No one wants to be like Charlie, but they see their bad sides in her and they can laugh at that, and at her as she stumbles through her middle school years.   Some parents say, “Charlie is so not likeable!”  And they’re right. She’s not.

Just like most girls are not likeable at one point or another. They gang up on others. They leave people out. They make them feel less worthy. I wanted to take a girl like that, an insecure girl, and make her want to change. To be better. Nicer. Kinder. And by the end, she is.   Now, don’t get me wrong, Charlie will never be saccharine sweet—because saccharine is not real.  I wanted Charlie and her life experiences to be multi-dimensional, flawed but real.  Many have welcomed her into their home as a unique and multi-dimensional character. They praised the book as a “funny issue book” which means it teaches while it entertains.  That’s all I hope to do.


maria lennon author

For more information about Maria T. Lennon please visit Confessions of a so-called middle child.   Like Her on Facebook and follow her on Twitter.

Purchase from Amazon at Confessions of a So-called Middle Child.

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