Rebecca ValleyWelcome to our latest author interview, with Rebecca Valley, author of Curious Cases: True Crime for Kids! Rebecca’s book is a fun collection of real-life mysteries for kids, from the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum theft to the disappearance of Masterpiece the poodle.

You can introduce your middle-grade reader to the intriguing and exciting history of true crime, including capers, stories, unsolved crimes, daring escapes, famous art heists, and much more, in this first-ever true crime book specifically for kids. But first, meet Rebecca!

Introduce yourself!

Hey, I’m Rebecca Valley! I’m an award-winning poet and essayist, former middle school librarian, and aspiring armchair detective.

What are you currently reading?

I am a chronic book hopper, with way too many books going at once. Right now I’m reading the second book in the Flavia de Luce mystery series, Wilkie Collins’ The Woman in White (as read by Phoebe Judge on her podcast Phoebe Reads a Mystery), and in the final chapters of In Cold Blood by Truman Capote.

What is your writing process like?

My writing process varies a lot depending on the project I’m working on. For this book, I had a weekly schedule where I’d sit down and spend a few hours researching each week. Then, I’d create a really rough outline of the chapter to keep me grounded and make sure I didn’t miss any key facts. And then I’d dedicate a day (usually a Saturday, those are my favorite writing days) to sitting down and actually doing the writing.

What is a book that has had a profound impact on you?

My favorite childhood books were Lemony Snicket’s A Series of Unfortunate Events and The Phantom Tollbooth by Norman Juster

True Crime Mysteries for Kids

Have you ever experienced writer’s block? If so, how did you overcome it?

Writers are so terrified of writer’s block–and I get it. How do you know you’re a writer if you’re not writing? But in the last few years, I’ve tried to be more comfortable with the times in my life where I’m not writing. I think ideas are still percolating, even if you aren’t putting anything down on the page. That being said, when I do feel compelled to write, but I’m not sure where to start, I’ve always loved finding a few random words in a nearby book and forcing myself to use them in a story or poem. It’s a prompt I started using when I was in high school, and it always forces me outside my comfort zone–and gives me a starting point.

If you could spend a day with your favorite author, who would you choose? Why?

I would spend a day with Daniel Handler (aka Lemony Snicket) because he’s very funny both on the page and on the internet. Plus he has great taste in poems.


Thank you for chatting, Rebecca, and for sharing your experience with us! For more from Rebecca, follow her on Instagram, and check out Curious Cases for more real-life mysteries for kids.