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The Mommy’s Pen Podcast
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The Mommy’s Pen Podcast

Author: Sue and Nora Campbell

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Writer Sue Campbell talks books, stories and story structure with her eleven-year-old daughter, Nora. Great for budding young writers and #kidlit lovers. New episodes every Friday.
60 Episodes
This week with speak with Jamie Sumner, author of the break out hit novel Roll With It.  She dishes about her books and writing process as well as her love of baking and we all share what we made for Thanksgiving dessert. Jamie's essays have appeared in the New York Times and the Washington Post. She writes and speaks about disability in literature. She loves stories that celebrate the grit and beauty in all kids. She has two more forthcoming middle grade novels due out in 2020 and 2021. Visit her and sign up for her mailing list at
This week we interview author Julie Sternberg who's written 8 books for kids of all ages including the wonderful LIKE PICKLE JUICE ON A COOKIE. We talk to Julie about how she became a writer and how she got the idea for her first book and what she does when she doesn't feel like writing.
This week we to talk Kristin Glasbergen, a Canadian author who was brilliant enough to mix Lit RPG with Dragons! She writes a middle grade series called Dragon Canyon. The first book is Fire of Four and we learn the story behind it and the help she got from her 12-year-old, dragon-loving daughter.
This season we're launching a series of interviews with authors of middle grade fiction. First up, Valerie Francis, author of Nature Knights, Crossing the Rubicon, a middle grade fantasy. Valerie Francis is both author and Certified Story Grid Editor. She has published fiction for both women (love stories for busy women) and children (middle grade fantasy), and is currently working on her first thriller. As a bona fide story nerd, her passion for the craft of storytelling led her to become a Certified Story Grid Editor in 2017. Her non-fiction credits include a Story Grid Guide to Bram Stoker’s Dracula (publication TBA) and regular articles for the Fundamental Fridays column on Shawn Coyne’s Story Grid website. Valerie co-hosts two podcasts for writers. The first, The Story Grid Editor Roundtable, is focused on the craft of writing. Each week Valerie, along with four fellow Certified Story Grid Editors, analyze a film according to the editing method developed by Shawn Coyne. The second is focused entirely on book marketing. On The Book Launch Show, Valerie learns how to develop a relationship with her readers from book marketing expert, Tim Grahl.
S7, E6: School Visit Recap

S7, E6: School Visit Recap


We describe a school visit we did —in matching outfits—where we tried to convince a bunch of kids to become writers and gave them the secrets they need to know.
We are SO excited to talk about the release of the second book in the Simon Snow series from Rainbow Rowell. No spoilers!
S7, E4: Moana

S7, E4: Moana


Nora’s got homework so Alma is our guest cohost for this episode. So, we’re looking at the story structure for Moana. Because the four-year-old got to choose the story.
This week we brainstorm and work through some ideas in Nora's story plotting—playing with the idea of time travel in different eras. There might be a climax that takes place in the kitchen at Hampton Court Palace! Read full show notes at
In this episode, 12-year-old Nora starts brainstorming some details to plan her story and confesses that wearing headbands makes her feel "elevated," a feeling she shares with her protagonist. Read full show notes at
This season 12-year-old Nora is going to write a short story using all of the story structure principles we’ve been discussing for the past year on the podcast. We discuss how to start story planning. Follow along and write your own story!
S6, E7: Mary Poppins

S6, E7: Mary Poppins


This week, we're going backwards, looking at the original Mary Poppins movie after our analysis of Mary Poppins Returns last episode. This time, we're looking at it through the 5 Commandments of Story developed by Shawn Coyne of Story Grid.
It’s summer and we’re lazy so we’re doing a movie instead of a book. We liked Mary Poppins Returns way more than we thought we would and we’re analyzing the four act structure.
This week we dissect Sense and Sensibility by Jane Austen, looking at the five commandments of storytelling for both Eleanor and Marianne’s story arcs.
S6, E4: The Book of Boy

S6, E4: The Book of Boy


This week we discuss the BRILLIANT middle grade novel THE BOOK OF BOY by Catherine Gilbert Murdoch. The first part of the episode we tell you why you should read the book, then deconstruct the book’s structure, complete with spoilers.
If you're looking for books that feature diverse characters and tackle inclusion themes (and you should be), this lovely little book deserves a spot in your stack. It's the story of a young Chinese immigrant, Mia Tang, who helps her parents manage a hotel and uses her ever-improving English skills to help just about everyone around her.  Full show notes at
S6, E2: One Mixed-Up Night

S6, E2: One Mixed-Up Night


We start off with a few Alma anecdotes and then launch into this week’s book review: ONE MIXED-UP NIGHT by the brilliant and lovely Catherine Newman who is everything, amen.
This week we’re gushing over a young adult novel we love: Carry On by Rainbow Rowell. First we talk about why we love it. Then we switch to spoiler territory and look at the four act structure of the book and break down the genres.
S5, E5: The Fort

S5, E5: The Fort


This week is the last chapter in the beginning hook of my novel: The Cat, the Cash, the Leap, and the List.
We're reading from my novel, The Cat, the Cash, the Leap, and the List. In chapter 4, we find out what Martha's parents have to say about her secret cat adoption and we see Sanjay hide something he was supposed to share with his brother.
Since my book, The Cat, the Cash, the Leap and the List will be published on May 17, we decided to give you a preview by reading from it up to the first plot point. This episode is Chapter 3, where Martha's secretly stashed cat is discovered.
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