Below, you’ll find some frequently asked questions. If there’s anything else you’d like to know, please feel free to get in touch with me through the contact tab.
How do you pronounce your last name?
It’s easy—just think of Marco Polo, only say Santo instead of Marco. Then you’ve got it.
Where do you live?
I live in New York City.
Do you do school visits?
Yes–I love doing school visits! Here’s some school visit information from the folks at Scholastic, in case you’re interested in inviting me to your school:
Elementary School Mystery Presentation
Jill’s presentation gives children the chance to brainstorm as a group and write a mystery story together. Jill starts her presentation off with a short reading from one of her books, and then talks about her love of mysteries and her journey to becoming a writer. She shares the stories she wrote as an elementary school student as well as the books and writers who influenced her. Then she pulls out her huge mystery chart and, taking suggestions from the audience, has students vote on different aspects of a mystery story–from the detective’s name to the problem to the clues and the red herrings. Jill then fills in the holes of the story and–on the spot–“reads” the students the mystery they just wrote. After that there is a chance for students to ask Jill questions, and following that, she personalizes and autographs books for any child who has ordered one. (She’s also been known to sign writing journals, pencils, rulers, and book marks upon request.)
Middle School Mystery Writing Workshop
In this workshop, Jill introduces students to the concept of outlining a mystery novel, teaching them the mystery writing lingo and sharing with them the process she uses to “pre-write”. Each student is encouraged to come up with his or her own detective, setting, problem, clues, etc. so that once Jill leaves, the students will be ready to continue writing and developing their mystery story on their own.
$750-$1,000 plus expenses for a full day; $500 plus expenses for a half day (only if local, or if she is visiting two or more schools in a row in any given location)
Maximum Number of Presentations
3-4 for a full day; 2 for a half day
Target Grade Level
2nd-5th grade for the Elementary School Presentation; 6th-7th grade for the Middle School Workshop
To request information about scheduling, or for answers to other school-visit-related questions, you can e-mail me at email@example.com.
How old should kids be when they read your books?
The Alec Flint Mysteries and the Sparkle Spa series are both geared toward kids ages 6-11. Some kids will be able to read them independently, but other kids might prefer them to be read aloud, depending on their reading ability. The Follow Your Heart books are for kids 12 and older. (Some grown-ups might like those too.)
Will there be more Alec books?
Well, so far we’ve got The Nina, The Pinta and The Vanishing Treasure and The Ransom Note Blues. I’m not sure what’s going to happen next to Alec, Gina, Allegra and the crew, but I’ll post here when I know more.
How come Officer Flint doesn't wear a police uniform in the illustrations?
That’s because he’s an undercover cop. (He gets to drive an unmarked vehicle, too.)
What's the butter poem Allegra asks Alec about?
It’s a poem by Karla Kuskin that goes:
that’s a word
I love to utter.
You can find that poem (and a whole bunch of other ones by Karla Kuskin) in a collection called Moon, Have You Met My Mother?.
Are there going to be more Sparkle Spa books?
Yes! There will be at least ten books in the series–and they’ll be coming out in the next few years.
What is the order of the Sparkle Spa books?
The books can really be read in any order, but the order in which I wrote them is: All That Glitters, Purple Nails and Puppy Tails, Makeover Magic, True Colors, Bad News Nails, Picture-Perfect Mess, Bling It On!, Wedding Bell Blues, Fashion Disaster.
Will there be any other Follow Your Heart books?
So far there are two, Summer Love, set in a beach town, and Love on the Lifts, set on a ski mountain. As of now, the plan is to stick with two, but if that changes, I’ll post more information here.
I'm a grown-up and a writer and I'd like to submit my book to you so that you can consider it for publication at Penguin. Can I do that through this site?
Thank you so much for your interest in working with me. I created this site so that I’d have a place to talk about the books I’ve written and be in touch with any readers or educators who want to say hello. If you’d like to submit your writing for possible publication at Penguin, please do not send me a message through this site. Instead, please submit to me through an agent, or come to see me next time I speak at an SCBWI