Getting to Know Author PJ Mac

Introduction: About You

3 Little Known or Interesting Things About You

1 I was once sued for $15 million dollars. 

2 I hate stuffed cabbage. 

3 I didn’t like Catcher in The Rye all that much. 

Hogwarts House and/or Camp Halfblood Cabin (If you have not been sorted or if you have not taken a quiz, I have linked them for you.)

Neither. I’m House Snow all the way.

What is your writing Kryptonite?

My eyes. I used to have 20/20 vision, but years of working on a computer ruined it.  I can’t wear contacts so I’m stuck with Progressive Bifoculs.

What other authors are you friends with, and how do they help you become a better writer?

Too many to name, but one thing we pretty much all have in common is a generosity of spirit and being supportive and positive. There are too many boo birds in this industry (and out of it). We need all the encouragement we can get. And having a second and third pair of eyes certainly helps in my case.  Other writers can see glaring plot holes or logic lapses that I miss because I’m too close to the story or characters. I’d rather know NOW what doesn’t work than embarrass myself. 

What’s your favorite under-appreciated novel?

Trixie Belden mystery series. I cut my teeth on those books growing up and it’s where I get my love of all things mystery and middle grade. 

As a writer, what would you choose as your mascot or avatar?

A mermaid. My keychain has several mermaid charms and I love to hear them jingle.

About Your Books

Tell us about your book(s)-length of time it took to write, journey, publishing, release dates, etc.

LITTLE LENA AND THE BIG TABLE was written in a bust of inspiration, when I was in the zone and just pushing out one picture book manuscript after the other. My former agent had pitched an early draft, and while editors liked Lena, they didn’t like the execution or the resolution. I put it away but kept tinkering with it. I connected with Maria of Big Belly and she saw the potential in it and after a weekend of furious drafts back and forth, she offered to publish it. That came really quickly. From when she offered to when it was actually published, was less than year which is fast in the tortoise world of publishing. And the artwork by Leila Nabih is amazing. 

Favorite line or quote from one of your books.

“All you need is love, a dash of magic, and a drumstick.”

Describe the character that is most like you. 

Oh, that’s a toughie. All my characters are like me, or a version of me, or someone I wish I could be. 


Do you have any suggestions to help me become a better writer? If so, what are they?

Write every day. I can’t stress that enough. You can’t wait for inspiration to strike or to be in the “zone”. You could wait forever. Getting the first draft down in vital. I don’t care what you call it, the vomit draft or the crap draft. Just do it. Writing is all about revision anyway. 

Leave us with some wise words. What advice would you give the readers of this interview?

Stop reading and start writing!

Leave some links for us to follow you and buy your books:

Twitter: @pjmcilvaine



I am a middle school teacher who loves to read ALL KINDS of books. I am part of the ARC-sharing group LitReviewCrew, a co-creator for the YouTube Channel Legit KidLit and the Podcast Read to Write KidLit. Check out my Linktree for more:

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