Back-to-School Guest Post: Author Hilary Wagner

For our final Back-to-School Guest Post, Kid Lit Frenzy is hosting debut author Hilary Wagner.  Hilary's middle grade novel, NIGHTSHADE CITY, is being touted as the next REDWALL.  I can't wait to read it. Hope you enjoy Hilary's journey from reluctant reader to published author.

Bill Peet Reforms a Reluctant Reader!

When I was in first grade, I had a bit of a problem: I loathed reading! I was a good reader, but I always thought it took up far too much of my valuable kid time! I’d much rather be scaling the monkey bars or playing Ghost in the Graveyard with the neighbor kids (nighttime version of tag, much more fun in the dark!).

At parent teacher conferences, much to their mortification, my parents were informed about my lack of enthusiasm when it came to reading. We had a list hanging in the classroom with everyone’s name on it and a star for each book a student had finished. Let’s just say my name might have been at the bottom of that dreaded list and might have had maybe one star...or possibly none at all!

Long story short, duly worried, my mother forced me to our local library. The librarian asked me what I liked. I told her I liked animals and I like going to the zoo. She said, “I have just the book for you!” She vanished into an aisle and quickly returned with a book in hand. She handed me the book. It didn’t look too long, so I liked that! It was called HUBERT’S HAIR-RAISING ADVENTURE. The cover looked crazy! There was a lion, a zebra, a rhino and something that might be a goat, all tangled up in a massive pile of legs and hooves. My interest was piqued!

My fascination with books began at that moment, all thanks to famed author and illustrator, Bill Peet. HUBERT’S HAIR-RAISING ADVENTURE has been in print for 50 years (yes, I said 50)! After that day in the library, I read every single book that Bill Peet ever created—and the list is long! I have an inkling that Bill Peet’s wonderful books are a reason I so love writing about animals so much today! It’s amazing that one person’s writing can make a child love reading and eventually writing so very much.

You can find out more about Bill Peet at I highly recommend his books for any young reader—reluctant or otherwise. His stories are absolutely relevant to today’s world and could have been written yesterday! They are fun, exciting, teach great lessons about life and are beautifully illustrated by Bill Peet, covering just about any animal or creature you can think of!

Hmmm . . . from reluctant reader to published author! Sounds like I’ve had a hair-raising adventure of my own!

Hilary Wagner

NIGHTSHADE CITY is available for purchase on Amazon here.