An Interview with Lindsey Leavitt & Robin Mellom

Please welcome Lindsey Leavitt & Robin Mellom to Tween You & Me

The Pages Between Us 


About the book (from the publisher) 

Told in letters, posters, blog posts, homework assignments, and more, The Pages Between Us is a totally fun, totally earnest snapshot of middle grade friendship—and what it truly means to be there for someone during the ups, downs, and everything in between.

Piper and Olivia have been best friends since…well, forever. But they're distressed to find that their new middle school schedules aren't giving them enough together-time. Luckily, an idea sparks when Piper finds a cute, sparkly notebook to disguise as her "French Class" homework. It's genius—now the two BFFs can stick together all the time. And document their adventures—you know, for anthropology's sake.

But as the two navigate the tricky new world of sixth grade, they realize that they may need to branch out more than they originally thought. Their notebook, once a life raft, begins to feel like a big responsibility. Can they grow up, without growing apart?

Q&A Questions

1. What inspired you to write The Pages Between Us? 
Did you draw on memories or events from your own life?

Robin: When I was in junior high, my BFF and I kept a secret journal. We exchanged it between classes and made it look like it was a boring old history notebook. At first we wrote general “how my day is going” letters. But then it moved on to writing fiction for each other. Sometimes we would give each other a prompt and the other had to write the most bizarre story about it. Like: Write a story with the Pope and Papa Smurf as best friends. It got strange. But it was a blast! Later, when I became a writer, I wanted to use that notebook idea but I knew it would take another writing partner to do it justice. A perfect writing partner. I knew Lindsey through writing conferences and I loved her writing. I also knew her sense of humor was sassy, smart, and well...perfect. I popped the question and she accepted! We wrote emails to each other in the voice of 12 year old girls Piper and Olivia. After a while we had a book-size amount of emails. What I loved most was trying to make Lindsey laugh...just the way I’d tried to make my BFF laugh all those years ago.

Lindsey: YEP! See above :)

2. What do you hope kids will take away after reading your work?

Lindsey: 2 things: 1. Girls are funny. They’re not just funny “for a girl”. They are funny regardless of age, gender, or looks. And there are lots of different ways to be funny, and one of the BEST feelings is finding a friend who shares your sense of humor (amiright, robin?) 2. Just because your problems might seem small to someone else, doesn’t mean they aren’t big and valid to you. Middle school can be scary in so many different way, but it can also be fun.

Robin: I hope kids will see that we ALL feel worried when big changes happen. But finding the humor in those moments will help you through. Having a friend--a true and loyal friend who “gets” you--will always make anything that feels impossible...actually become...possible.

3. What were you like when you were a tween? 
Did you have any favorite authors that inspired you?  

Lindsey: I wore my hair the same way almost every day--half up/half down. Someone asked me what I looked like with my hair down, and I was scared to do a noticeable change, so I never wore my hair down. My pants were always too short. I was loud around boys I liked. I was loud around boys I didn’t like. I wrote letters to my future self, who lived on a farm and was married to a rancher from Montana (spoiler: didn’t happen). I was scared of failure. I loved my family, friends, and church. I never ate vegetables.

Robin: I was always the shortest and quietest kid in class. But in eighth grade I grew like a weed and was suddenly the tallest (but still rather quiet) (unlike Lindsey). But like Lindsey, my pants were always too short. My shins hurt. Mom would put a warm cloth on my legs at night and make me drink milk. She said it was the best way to deal with growing pains, but there was no internet back then so I’m sure she was just making it all up. I wrote stories and drew the cover and named the chapters. But I never shared them with anyone. I read Judy Blume. Over and over.

4. How has your teaching backgrounds helped you as a writer?

Lindsey: The best way for me to learn anything is to teach it. When I taught fifth grade, we wrote fractured fairy tales and I had to contribute a character. If the kids researched a state, so did I. I wrote during journal time. I read during reading time. And I worked through the revision process over and over again. That was a lot of my education before I began writing professionally. But mostly, teaching kids of all ages reminded me what my own fears and dreams were at those ages. As an author, it’s vital that I preserve that.Oh, I just read what Robin wrote. That too (YES, Robin answered most of these questions first. She is the star student in this pairing).

Robin: I spent several years teaching fifth grade. The following year they would move on to this strange and scary place called “Middle School.” I had to prepare my fifth graders for the transition and it was during this time in my life when I would answer their questions about all the changes they were about to face, that I realized this was a topic I wanted to write about. Being a tween...and dealing with change. I am weirdly/strangely/proudly obsessed with writing about kids who must deal with change.

5. Here at Tween You and Me, we believe strongly in advocacy for tweens. What advice would you offer librarians and other professionals who would also seek to be tween advocates?

Lindsey: I have 2 eleven-year-old daughters  (one biological, one step) who have super different interests and personalities. Sometimes we worry one kid isn’t growing up fast enough. Sometimes we worry the other daughter is growing up too fast! I really have to remind myself that they are individuals who will grow, develop and learn at their own speed and to make sure I’m not pushing them up or down. Middle school is such a balancing act that way, and I really applaud middle school librarians who create and atmosphere with literature and activities that appeal to such a broad range.

Robin: Tweens can be deeply thinking individuals. They are starting to ponder the BIG questions in life. What makes me happy? Is this feeling normal? How do I figure out who I am? So advocates should listen, listen, listen. Ask tweens for their input, their suggestions, their ideas. And also respect their need for silliness and fun. NO ONE knows how to have a good time like a group of tweens.   

6. You have a lot of new books coming out! Would you like to talk about those?

Lindsey: Yep! Robin and I are working on final revisions for the the next Pages Between Us book! She’ll tell you more. She’s good at that. In addition, I have a new early chapter book series releasing in May called COMMANDER IN CHEESE. It’s about a mouse family that lives in the White House and ohh, it’s adorable.

Robin: Book 2 of THE PAGES BETWEEN US gets wild and weird and it all surrounds the school’s Battle of the Books. If you’ve ever held one of these battles at your school, this book will make you snicker. At the same time, we dig deeper into Piper’s emotional life at home and Olivia’s vision of who she is and how she fits into this world. In addition, I have another new middle grade novel releasing next year titled CONFESSIONS FROM THE PRINCIPAL’S KID. (Yep, I was the kid of a principal.)

7. If you could go back into time and give your tween self some advice, what would it be? 

Lindsey: Let your hair down. Literally.

Tween Robin: That time when your dad cut your hair, it was cute. There was no need to wear turtlenecks in an attempt to hide your new bob. Just own it. In fact, anytime you’re worried about what other people think of you, remember that they also poop and burp and fart...EVEN THE COOL ONES. We are all humans...your job is to be a happy one. YOU GOT THIS.

Thank you so much for stopping by Lindsey & Robin!

If you would like to know more about these amazing ladies, please visit  Lindsey & Robin's websites: 

Robin Mellom
Lindsey Leavitt

The Pages Between Us will be on sale February 9th, 2016.  


  1. Way to go gals!!! Great post! I love what you both are doing with this blog!

    1. Thanks Val! We are very excited about the opportunity to give tweens a voice in the library!