1.22.2019: Strive to Fail

Writing about Writing (and Talking about It Too)

I wrote a piece for the February 2019 issue of The Writer magazine (on newsstands now) called Strive to Fail (published online as Six Counterintuitive Goals to Shake Up Your Writing Routine), in which I suggest some attainable—and perhaps surprising—objectives to set, such as Aim Lower, Seek Rejection, Slack Off, and Read Terrible Books, to aid in the pursuit of your writerly ambitions.

Last week I had the pleasure of speaking with author Mindy McGinnis for her podcast, Writer, Writer, Pants on Fire. We discussed redirecting anxiety into creativity; writing across age categories; the nuts, bolts, and vulnerabilities of publishing personal essays; and more. You can stream or download the episode here, or find it on your favorite podcast app.

I’ve been spending January away from social media, burrowing deep into my YA draft (and giving Anna, Banana book 8 a final polish), and exploring nearby trails with my favorite pup, Arugula. Here’s a photo from a recent adventure:

Happy trails to you, too!

3.16.18: Love, Sophia on the Moon

New book news! 

I'm over the moon to share this news about my third(!) picture book. Love, Sophia on the Moon is an epistolary story near and dear to my heart, and I'm thrilled to be creating it with the talented Mika Song (if you're not already familiar with Mika's amazing illustrations, please check out the cuteness on her website), super editrix Rotem Moscovich, and the whole wonderful team at Disney-Hyperion. 

There's lots of mischief and make-believe in this one, and some tugging at heart strings too. I hope you'll like it.

Here's the official announcement* from Publishers Weekly (plus a photo I took of a balloon last week in Tampa after AWP):

Love, Sophia on the Moon doesn't come out until summer 2020, but I have three new books coming out this year to tide you over in the meantime, and all of them are available for pre-order now: 

Anna, Banana, and the Recipe for Disaster (#6) comes out March 20 (next week!) in hardcover, paperback, and ebook. It contains baking disasters, friendship messes, snickerdoodle secrets, and, of course, a cute dog.

Always Forever Maybe, my YA debut, releases on June 5 in hardcover, ebook, and audio. I am really excited for you to read this one. I spent six years working on it, and it makes me nervous and giddy just thinking about it being real. It's about obsessive love, toxic masculinity, enduring friendship, and the risks we take with our hearts.

Anna, Banana, and the Sleepover Secret (#7) comes out October 2 in hardcover, paperback, and ebook. Cover reveal coming soon! This one includes a sleepover and many secrets (of course), not to mention Truth or Dare surprises and an enormous cat named Mewsic.

Click on any of the above titles for further information, including pre-order links. Thanks for your interest and support!

(*Photo text: Rotem Moscovich at Disney-Hyperion has bought Love, Sophia on the Moon, a picture book by Anica Mrose Rissi, author of the Anna, Banana series and The Teacher's Pet. In the story, Sophia writes letters threatening to run away to "the moon" to avoid being in trouble on Earth, and her mother writes back. Tea with Oliver author-illustrator Mika Song will illustrate; publication is set for 2020. Meredith Kaffel Simonoff at DeFiore and Company represented the author, and Erica Rand Silverman at Stimola Literary Studio represented the artist.)

1.13.2018: Picture-Book Revision Tips

From Promising to Polished

I wrote a piece for the January 2018 issue of The Writer magazine (out now!) about how to revise a picture-book manuscript. In it, I share my best tips, tricks, questions, and approaches to keep in mind as you play and experiment with your draft. To read a PDF of the article, click here.

Speaking of picture books, this week I got to see early sketches for Watch Out for Wolf!, my 2019 picture book with Charles Santoso, and I squealed louder than Pigbert—or Piggle, Piggleton, Piggit, or Piggums, for that matter. I can't wait for you to meet all five little piggies (and Wolf, of course) when the book comes out next April. As soon as I'm allowed to share a peek of the cover and interiors, I will. (If you'd like to add the book on Goodreads, you'll find it here.)

In the meantime, I'm finishing up revisions on Anna, Banana, and the Sleepover Secret (book seven in the series, coming in October), drafting what I hope will be my next YA novel, and trying to contain my nerves and excitement as advance reader copies of Always Forever Maybe make their way into the hands of booksellers and reviewers. Some fun news: In addition to the hardcover and ebook editions coming in June, HarperCollins will also publish Always Forever Maybe as an audiobook! (Available for pre-order now, wherever you like to purchase books.) Huge thanks to the B&N Teen blog for including Always Forever Maybe on their list 21 of Our Most Anticipated Debuts of 2018. They said: "This is a story about first love, sweet until it turns bitter....Rissi has a deft touch on a heavy topic, addressing abuse while still managing to infuse this meaty debut with romance, real #BFF goals, and dashes of humor."

And here are some photos of my dog with her new teddy bear.

7.20.2017: The Recipe for Disaster Cover Reveal

Get ready to make some messes....

Anna and her friends stir up some sweet treats—and a scoop of trouble—in the kitchen in Anna, Banana, and the Recipe for Disaster. This sixth book in the Anna, Banana series isn't out until March 2018, but I'm delighted to share Meg Park's adorable cover art and a peek inside today. 

First, here's the cover!

And here's what it's about:

Anna, Sadie, and Isabel love sharing sweet treats, and they're ready to put their baking skills to the test. The plan? To make the best-ever cookies for the library bake sale! Even Anna's dog, Banana, feels certain the girls can win.

There's only one problem: Monica, Sadie and Isabel's new friend who keeps stirring up trouble. Monica, who might be trying to steal Anna's best friends away from her. Can Anna's special new recipe help win them back, or will an unexpected ingredient turn things from sweet to sour?

Would you like a peek inside? Here's a brief excerpt from Chapter Nine: Take a Bite.

Sadie perked right up. “Do you want to bake with us on Saturday morning?” she asked Monica. 

Say no, say no, say no, say no, I thought. I didn’t want to be mean, but I also didn’t want to bake cookies with her. I barely knew this girl, yet somehow she and my best friends had a secret handshake and inside jokes. I didn’t want to include someone who made me feel so left out.

I knew that friendship, like the bake sale, wasn’t really a competition. But I couldn’t help it: I wanted to win.

—From Anna, Banana, and the Recipe for Disaster

Hooray for cookies and messes! And, as always, for friendship and dogs. If you'd like to pre-order a copy (thank you) or add the book on Goodreads, here are the links: Indiebound | Amazon | B&N | BAM | Goodreads. The hardcover, paperback, and ebook editions will all be released on March 20th.  

Also: When I wrote that first story about a girl and her dog and a fight with a best friend, I never imagined that a few years later, I'd have written six books about that girl, her dog, and her friends, and be about to start writing the seventh. THANK YOU to all the friends and strangers who have read one of my books; bought one of my books; shared it with a kid; spread the word amongst readers, teachers, booksellers, parents, or librarians; come to one of my book events; invited me to visit your library or school; or even just clicked a supportive "like" on a writing-related Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram post. Your support has meant the world.

Chapter One: Batter Up

6.6.2017: Watch Out for Wolf!

Picture-book news: 

I'm the luckiest duck to get to work with editrix Rotem Moscovich and illustrator Charles Santoso (if you don't already know his work, check out the wonderful Ida, Always by Caron Levis and I Don't Like Koala by Sean Ferrell) on a new picture book featuring five little piggies and one very big surprise. Hey, piggies: Watch Out for Wolf!

Here's the announcement from Publishers Weekly:

Pre-order links won't be up for a while, but if you'd like to add the book on Goodreads, please click here. 

Meanwhile, my first picture book, The Teacher's Pet, illustrated by Zachariah OHora, comes out in two weeks. It recently received a starred review from Publishers Weekly and was named one of the Best Children's and YA Books of June 2017 by the editors at Brightly. There's still time to pre-order a copy by following one of these links: B&N | Amazon | Indiebound | BAM | Target | iTunes | Indigo. I can't wait for you to meet Mr. Stricter, Bruno, and the clever kids who must save the day! 

5.12.2017: Always Forever Maybe

If you follow me on Twitter or Instagram, you may have caught a glimpse of the secret project I've been writing and revising for the past few years, in between drafts of the Anna, Banana books.

I'm thrilled to share that the project is no longer a secret: My book will be a book! Always Forever Maybe sold to Rosemary Brosnan at HarperTeen last fall, and yesterday the announcement went live on Publishers Weekly Here it is:

I've had this story in my head and heart (and computer) for a long, long time, and I can't wait to share it with you. 

Pre-order links won't be available for a few more months*, but if you would like to add the book on Goodreads, please do: you'll find it here

*Edited to add: The book is now available for pre-order! Here are the links: IndieboundAmazon | B&N | BAMKindle | iTunes | IndigoHarperCollins You can also request a pre-order from your local independent bookstore by giving them the ISBN (978-0-0626-8528-5), title, and release date (June 5, 2018). Thank you!

5.5.2016: Happy Birthday, Little Book!

This calls for cake.

One year ago today, my first book was born. I've been celebrating all week by making up new stories with the creative kids in the Princeton Young Achievers programand by eating chocolate cake with pink vanilla frosting (Anna and Sadie's favorite). Thank you to all the readers, booksellers, librarians, educators, parents, and friends who made this such a fun year for Anna, Banana, and me.

If you've been waiting for Anna, Banana, and the Friendship Split to be cheaper and more bendable, wait no longer! It is now out in paperback. Here are some of the places you can find it: Indiebound, Amazon, B&N, BAM.  

I just sent the manuscript for Anna, Banana, and the Little Lost Kitten (book five) to my editor. I'm excited for you all to read it. But first: revisions (and more cake). 

4.21.2016: Some Poems for Your Pockets

Happy Poem in Your Pocket Day!

I hope you’ve been having a mud-luscious and puddle-wonderful National Poetry Month

In honor of Poem in Your Pocket Day (and springtime!), here are two poems I published in my hometown newspaper, the Island Ad-Vantages, in May 1986 (age 7), plus some never-before-seen original artwork. 

And here's a link to another spring poem, "April Prayer," by a much better Maine poet, Stuart Kestenbaum.

2.3.2016: More Bananas! and the Price of Promotion

Announcing...Anna, Banana, and the Little Lost Kitten!

I'm thrilled to share the news that there soon will be two more books in the Anna, Banana series. Up next: Anna, Banana, and the Little Lost KittenI can't wait to see the cover art! (But first I have to write the book.)

Here's the official announcement from Publishers Marketplace. I'm lucky to continue working with the fabulous team behind the first four books: editrix Kristin Ostby, agent Meredith Kaffel Simonoff, illustrator Meg Park, and art director Laurent Linn.

Click on the image above to open a PDF of the article.

Click on the image above to open a PDF of the article.

I have a new piece in the March issue of The Writer magazine, called the Price of Promotion. In it, I share what I did to help promote my debut novel (Anna, Banana, and the Friendship Split), and what it cost, in time and money. I hope other writers will find it useful. (Click on the image to open a PDF.)

Anna, Banana, and the Friendship Split recently went into its third printing. THANK YOU to all the booksellers, librarians, teachers, and readers who helped make this happen!