Meet the Newbies: Janet McNally

Meet the Newbies is a blog event dedicated to introducing you to the “newbie” published debut authors. In this event, expect to learn more about the authors, their books, and silly fun facts! Check out the full Meet the Newbies lineup here.

Whenever I find a book that incorporates music, I instantly add it to my TBR. Janet's debut, Girls in the Moon, has that and more to attract readers. And look at the beautiful cover of her book (pictured below). Here is Janet McNally!

Author Most Likely To Make You a Playlist (and Then Make You Listen to it Three Times in a Row!)

Nickname: Birdie
First Day of School: November 29, 2016
Homeroom: HarpenTeen
Grade: Contemporary
Extracurricular Activities: Ballet/jazz/tap, running track until my dance teacher makes me quit, avoiding practicing the flute
Favorite Class: English, for sure, and maybe one where we just sit around listening to records
Favorite Quote/Motto: "Secrets are just stories turned inside out." (From Girls in the Moon)


1. Describe your book in 5 words
Sisters & Mothers & Daughters & Secrets & Music. (I'm not counting the ampersands :). 

2. Music is incorporated in "Girls in the Moon". Which boy bands are your favorites? What are your favorite songs by them?
I'm going to interpret this question broadly. Without question, my favorite boy band is the Beatles. They were the original boy band, right? (Imagine a winky face emoji here.) I fell in love with the Beatles completely when I was fifteen, and I spent the rest of my teens listening to "Ticket to Ride" and "You've Got to Hide Your Love Away" and "Hello, Goodbye." If I had to pick, I'd say "I've Got a Feeling" is one of my favorite Beatles songs. They were breaking up when they recorded it, but there's still so much joy in that song. I love writing about families and the ways they fall apart and stick together, and I think some of that is in "I've Got a Feeling." 

3. I understand that you are a poet! Who are your favorite poets? How has poetry influenced you and your life?
What I love most about poetry is that it offers a window into one moment. It's a totally different way to tell a story from novel writing. It's laser-focused, like a pinprick of light. After I had my first daughter, I couldn't write fiction. I didn't have the attention span. I was also freaking out about raising a daughter in a world where it's dangerous to be a girl. So I went back to the original stories of girl-danger--myths and fairy tales--and I retold them in what became my poetry collection SOME GIRLS. (Can you tell I like to put the word "girls" in titles?)

As for favorites, it's hard not to name a hundred. I fell for Anne Sexton first, when I was still a teenager. Poets who have meant so much to me include Lucille Clifton, Seamus Heaney, Ellen Bass, Eavan Boland, Naomi Shihab Nye and Paula Meehan. Lately I've been loving Ada Limon, Brenda Shaughnessy, and Anna Journey. I also have a lot of poet friends whose work I love, including Laura Donnelly, Rebecca Hazelton (who gets a mention in GIRLS IN THE MOON), and my fellow Sweet Sixteen Brittany Cavallaro.

4. What do you like to do when you are not writing?
I love yoga, and I'm getting back into ballet because I've been writing about it. I have three really small daughters (twins are involved) and I love to hang out with them while they draw or read stories. I live in Buffalo, which is a gorgeous, historic city on a river and a lake, so I'll be spending the summer doing all sorts of fun things outside. Including reading my poetry in a reading series at an empty old grain silo, if you can believe it. 

5. If you could sing only one song at a karaoke bar, what song would you choose to sing and why?
I have to go 90s girl rockers on this one, even though this song was released after 2000: Sleater-Kinney's "Modern Girl." It's such a great song. I've actually sung this in public before, though not alone. Last December, Sleater-Kinney closed their Buffalo show with this song, and we all sang along with Carrie. It's one of my favorite music show memories.

About the Book:

Everyone in Phoebe Ferris’s life tells a different version of the truth. Her mother, Meg, ex–rock star and professional question evader, shares only the end of the story—the post-fame calm that Phoebe’s always known. Her sister, Luna, indie-rock darling of Brooklyn, preaches a stormy truth of her own making, selectively ignoring the facts she doesn’t like. And her father, Kieran, the cofounder of Meg’s beloved band, hasn’t said anything at all since he stopped calling three years ago.

But Phoebe, a budding poet in search of an identity to call her own, is tired of half-truths and vague explanations. When she visits Luna in New York, she’s determined to find out how she fits in to this family of storytellers, and to maybe even continue her own tale—the one with the musician boy she’s been secretly writing for months. Told in alternating chapters, Phoebe’s first adventure flows as the story of Meg and Kieran’s romance ebbs, leaving behind only a time-worn, precious pearl of truth about her family’s past—and leaving Phoebe to take a leap into her own unknown future.

Buy Links: GoodreadsAmazon | Barnes and Noble 

About the Author:

Though her family is not rock and roll royalty, Janet McNally has always liked boys in bands. (She even married one.) She has an MFA from the University of Notre Dame, and her stories and poems have been published widely in magazines. She has twice been a fiction fellow with the New York Foundation for the Arts. Janet lives in Buffalo with her husband and three little girls, in a house full of records and books, and teaches creative writing at Canisius College. Girls in the Moon is her first novel, but she’s also the author of a prizewinning collection of poems, Some Girls. You can visit her online

Social Media Links: Website | Twitter | Goodreads | Instagram | Facebook | Tumblr


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Have you read this book? Why are you excited to read it?  
What are some of your favorite songs?


  1. Great interview! I love poetry in books. The answer to favorite boy band is just gold. Hahaha I love it. Can't wait to get a hold of this book! Loving the whole Meet the Newbies blog event.

  2. Love the karaoke question, and I love Sleater-Kinney (good choice). This book sounds really good.

  3. Thanks for the giveaway! Have a lovely day :]

    Edye | Http://

  4. This book sounds really good! The story sounds so interesting! And I loved the quote! Can't wait to read it! Also I just fell in love with that cover. So beautiful! Great interview!

  5. Thanks so much for having me, Rachel! Such a fun interview. <3


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