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Author Spotlight

Everything You Need to Know About Julie Chibbaro

Into the Dangerous World  is that book that makes you look at the world just a little differently after reading it. It’s the heart-tugging, intense story of Ror, who has to decide what kind of artist she wants to be after her family ends up in a Manhattan homeless residence. (Also, it’s filled with incredible drawings, some of which you can see here!) Here today to tell us more about the mind behind this gorgeous read is author Julie Chibbaro!


Name: Julie Chibbaro
Novel: Into the Dangerous World 
Available: August 18, 2015
Who’s your favorite author, living or dead? I love Cormac McCarthy’s absolutely gorgeous style in his novel Suttree, a dark story told quite uniquely. Barbara Kingsolver’s The Poisonwood Bible is pure genius – I have no idea how she created five completely individual voices. In YA, I like the way Courtney Summers takes risks in Some Girls Are, and Francesca Lia Block’s Weetzie Bat is beautiful and daring. Sorry, that’s more than one. Couldn’t help myself!

What’s your favorite thing about your book? My character, Ror, can do a lot of things I can’t. Like draw. I could look at her drawings forever (thanks, JM Superville Sovak!) I also love how her relationship with Trey came out—that was a difficult balance, since they come from such different worlds, and are thrown together in this circumstance. They could have come out hating each other; instead, it blossomed into love and respect and understanding.

If you could spend one year on a deserted island with one character from literature, who would you choose? This might seem like a strange choice, but I would love to spend time with Randle Patrick McMurphy from One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest. His mind is so quick and inventive, I think he might actually build a boat for us to get off the island before the year was through.

Where do you write? I do most of my writing from my bed because I have a chronic pain condition called fibromyalgia, which makes it difficult for me to sit for long periods of time. In bed, I can work most of the day, and not be in pain as much. I also feel safe in bed; I can get down to the most intense emotions in my work while I am somewhere that is most comfortable to me. JM, the artist for the book, and also my husband, drew my ideal bookbed.


Who is your favorite hero or heroine of history? Ever since I was in third grade, I’ve felt that Harriet Tubman, the woman who brought so many slaves to freedom, was the bravest human being I could imagine. The fact that she ran away from her slave owner in the first place was frightening enough; she then returned hundreds of times to free others. That takes an insane amount of courage. She was a civil rights activist before that was popular.

Do you tweet? What’s the funniest thing you’ve ever tweeted? I’m more a FB person, though my FB bone is connected to my Twitter bone @juliechibbaro. I recently posted about a box of Dangerous World t-shirts I thought were stolen off my porch. I went into a paranoid spiral and dozens of people became outraged for me in the comments. Then, it turned out my neighbor, who doesn’t speak English, took the box, thinking it was his. I had to confess my error in public. Embarrassing!

What is your favorite season? I love the dense, sultry heat of summer. Ahhh. The season of love.

If you could teleport anywhere in the known universe right now, where would you go? I’d like to teleport to China, somewhere on the tippy-top of the Great Wall. I find Chinese culture, the dragons, the jade, the luck of the color red, its rich history, fascinating. If I could add teleporting back in time, I’d head to 210 BCE, to the reign of the first Emperor, to be a fly on the wall watching them build and bury the thousands of Terracotta Warriors and Horses.

Do you have any writing rituals? I freewrite in my journal for 30 minutes every morning. I turn on my Freedom app for 4 hours to avoid surfing the net. Then I either write, revise, or erase. I don’t count words or pages, just time, so I am not pressured to actually put words on the page if I don’t know what I am doing. I prefer to think through my scenes so I understand all the ramifications my characters are about to face. I don’t want to just create pages, because I write badly when I do that. I show up every day, whether the story comes or not. And in winter, I eat M&Ms, Hershey’s Kisses, and chocolate-covered almonds to keep my internal fire fed.

What is your idea of earthly happiness? A deep, respectful love of everything, including ice cream.

What is the best concert you’ve ever been to? We went to a Jimmy Cliff concert when he was in his 60s, and that guy emanated vibes of goodness and soul. JM and I had sweat pouring off of us, we danced so much.

What are you currently working on? I’m working on another YA novel about an actress who graduates from high school and doesn’t know the next right step. Should she go into acting, attend college, or run away with her boyfriend? Guess which one she chooses.


Thanks, Julie! We can’t wait to hear more about your next novel.

Follow Julie on Twitter!

Start reading Into the Dangerous World!



Penguin Teen