top of page

The Building Blocks of Linda Joy Singleton

This month, we'll be highlighting the Donors from Our Rate Your Story *Build-A-Story* Contest (August 1 - 31st). Each will share a little bit about themselves and the building blocks of their career, tell you about their latest project and leave YOU a building block to help build your stories! Be sure to check them out! AND don't forget to enter our contest (more info here) to be eligible for prizes!


As a child, I loved to write and read mysteries like Nancy Drew, Trixie Belden and Judy Bolton. I longed to have a series of my own published–and it happened when my first series, MY SISTER, THE GHOST, came out in 1994.

Now I’m the author of over 55 middle-grade, YA, and picture books. My recent picture books are SUN & SON/CRANE & CRANE from Amicus Books. And there are 6 books (plus a bonus mini-mystery) in my MG series, CURIOUS CAT SPY CLUB published by Albert Whitman.


I wrote a spin-off book for the Boxcar Children series, THE JESSIE FILES, #5. It was a fun challenge to write a popular character and work closely with my editor. I don’t have a pub date yet, but am hoping it’ll be out in 2024. Also, I am close to signing contracts for a new middle-grade series and a picture book. Can’t wait to share the announcements when it’s official!


The first book in the CURIOUS CAT SPY CLUB series has a scene where three kittens are found in a Dumpster. In real life, when I was about 12 years old, my best friend’s brother found 3 kittens dumped in a box in a ditch and we helped take care of them. They eventually found good homes, and my BFF kept one of them.


What do you believe should be conveyed in an opening paragraph to a story?

A fun question! I like to open with action, character, setting, and something to inspire curiosity.

For instance in my middle-grade mystery MEMORY TRAP the opening lines are:

“Get Down, Jennza–or you’ll die!”

“Don’t be dramatical,”I call out to Lorelei, my fingers curling around steel mesh as I dangle midway up the Fence. “No one dies anymore.”


I love SO many books. Middle-grade is my sweet spot, and I love to read puzzling mysteries mixed with magic. I recently reread a favorite MG series: NEVERMORE, TRIALS OF MORRIGAN CROW by Jessica Townsend. I love the 3 books that are out because the magic is original and fun, the mysteries are intriguing, and the character Morrigan is great! I can’t wait till the 4th book comes out and I find out what happens next.


Research may seem like homework, but it has led me on some fun adventures. For instance, when I was researching Aldabra tortoises for the 3rd CURIOUS CAT SPY CLUB: KELSEY THE SPY, I sent an email to a turtle/tortoise organization. The woman who replied was very helpful. Not only did she answer my questions, she invited me to tour her turtle sanctuary in southern CA. Usually only school kids are invited to tour, so this was quite an honor and turned into a fun adventure. My husband and I drove about 5 hours to the sanctuary and then followed a trail that represented a world of turtles/tortoises. So many in all shapes, colors, and sizes! The most impressive was a very large tortoise who had been rescued from a famous person I can’t name, but the tortoise was named Mikey. I used tongs to feed him a slice of prickly cactus and I was able to pet his smooth long neck. I used all these details when I wrote KELSEY THE SPY.

LINDA JOY'S PRIZE: One lucky winner can chose between a book or Ask Me Anything Session with Linda Joy. This is has a been popular prize with Rate Your Story Members.

Linda Joy Singleton is the author of over 55 MG, YA, and picture books Her most recent books are the Curious Cat Spy Club series, Crane & Crane, Memory Trap, and Sun & Sun. She offers writing advice, book news, free stories, and downloadable activities for kids including a board game “Save the Cats” at


bottom of page