Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Author Sybil Nelson: The Power Behind Superhero "Priscilla the Great"

I've had some AMAZING authors on my blog this month, and this week's is like putting icing on the cake! Sybil Nelson is the author of the middle grade series "Priscilla the Great," which feature a fantastic girl turned superhero. I really enjoyed book one and am looking forward to continuing the series.

Also, Sybil is offering a FREE Kindle copy of "Priscilla the Great Versus the World" to ANYONE who leaves a comment, just include your email! Woot woot! Don't miss out!! Thank you, and welcome, Sybil!

Tell us a little about your background and how you became an author.

Growing up I used to love to read. I also wrote many short stories and poems as a child. In college, my scholarship was for English and Journalism but I soon lost confidence in my writing and switched my major to Mathematics and Music. It wasn’t until I was a high school teacher that I returned to my love of writing. I began reading stories and adding my own diverse characters to the stories in my mind. Then I finally began writing those characters and stories down.

What is one of your favorite books and why?

I think Priscilla the Great: The Time Traveling Bullet is my favorite. I was able to really get creative as to what I think the future will be like. It was also fun finally giving Priscilla’s twin little brothers powers.

What inspired you to write this book series?

I really just wanted a fun superhero book for girls. I grew up loving comic books and found that sometimes they are very boy-focused. So I thought it would be great to have a strong female character. I was a high school teacher at the time I started writing Priscilla the Great and two of my students really inspired her personality and her looks. My student Helen would come to class each day with a story about something weird that happened to her. That is where Priscilla got her quirky personality. She got her adorable red hair and freckles from my other student Ellen Hudson.

How would you describe your writing process?

To write the Priscilla the Great series, I usually create a playlist of peppy music and then each night, I play the music and write. When the playlist ends, my writing session ends. With this method, I usually can finish writing a Priscilla the Great novel in about a month. I also carry around a notebook with me where I can jot down ideas during the day. This helps my evening writing sessions.

What has proven to be your most successful marketing tool?

I don’t think there is one specific thing that works best to market a Middle Grade novel. I think it is a combination of things. For example, blogging regularly and holding giveaways helps to increase the number of subscribers to my newsletter which helps build a solid fanbase of readers who will read the next book. Also, for a middle grade book, I’ve found that speaking engagements at middle schools are rather effective. Once again, I’m able to get subscribers to my newsletter.
I have also given away thousands of book one for free. This really increases the sales of the other books in the series.

What advice would you give to other authors?

Never give up and keep writing more books. Not only will your writing and the quality of your books improve, but your sales will increase as your readers will have more and more books of yours to buy.

Please provide a favorite excerpt from your book.

Priscilla the Great Book 1
Snot Wars

For the past year or so, Charlie and Chester had perfected a game they liked to call Snot Wars. Basically, they earned points for hitting certain predetermined targets with none other than their very own snot. Yes, they would press one nostril closed and then, after taking a deep breath, aim a snot rocket at an inanimate target. We had to limit the boys to inanimate objects after Max Montgomery ran away from being the victim of one too many snot attacks. I don’t know where they got an endless supply of snot from, but I swear, I’ve seen Charlie hit a lamp shade from ten feet away.
Josh and I kept our belongings safe by telling the twins that if any snot ever fell on any of our stuff, they’d earn negative points. That was enough. They were so into their game that they had their own scoring system. Right now Charlie had forty hundred gazillion trillion points, and Chester had thirty fifteen hundred million bazillion points. I wasn’t sure who was winning.
Given the fact that Stefanie was in the local newspaper for sending ten thousand text messages in the month of July alone, I just assumed that she would have some little love notes written to Trevor on her annoyingly pink sparkly Blackberry.
In order to distract Stefanie long enough for me to snatch her phone, I told the twins that there was a target in the house worth a hundred billion trillion gazillion points. The target: Stefanie’s mouth.
Josh knew something was going on when he saw the twins skulking around the living room in their blue camouflage Osh Kosh B’Gosh overalls. They were stalking their prey. I guess I should’ve told them that the war paint was unnecessary.
“Priss, get the twins out of here. They’re up to something,” Josh called while wrapping a protective arm around his girlfriend.
“What? They can’t play in their own house? They’re fine.” I peeked into the living room from the hallway and noticed that Chester and Charlie had worked out an attack plan through a series of hand signals. Charlie was going to distract Josh while Chester went in for the first shot.
Charlie dug a half-eaten Twinkie out of his pocket and lobbed it at Josh. Josh leaped off of the couch and charged after him. But little Charlie was quick. As Josh’s pursuit of the Twinkie-thrower spilled out into the backyard, Chester jumped on the coffee table, closed a nostril, aimed, and fired.
Stefanie’s wild screams filled the house as she manically wiped snot off of her forehead. She shot off the couch and ran to the bathroom, giving me the opportunity to rifle through her purse. Once I had the phone in my hand, I ducked into a corner and scrolled through her text messages.
“What’s going on? Why is Stefanie screaming?” Josh asked, bursting back into the house.
“I missed.” Chester poked out his lip, crossed his arms, and flopped into a chair.
“Missed? Missed what? Oh God, not Snot Wars.” Josh ran to the bathroom to find Stefanie.
Seconds later, Josh emerged from the bathroom and screamed, “I’m gonna kill you, Chester!”
“Josh, wait,” I said, stepping in front of him. “He’s not the one you should be mad at.” I held up the phone as he started reading countless text messages from Stefanie to Trevor, or as she put it “Sexy Trevy.”
“I hope you’re going to punish that little beast!” Stefanie yelled when she came out of the bathroom.
Josh didn’t respond to that request. Instead, he silently handed over her phone and said, “How could you?” before sulking off to his room.
Stefanie’s mouth flew open, giving Charlie the perfect opportunity. He won the hundred billion trillion gazillion points.

Where can readers find you and your book?

Sybil, thank you for the wonderful information! I love it that you create a playlist to listen to while you write. What a terrific idea! Thanks so much for being my guest today. I encourage everyone to check out this series--it's a lot of fun!

--KSR Writer


  1. Thanks for having me! I'm offering a free Kindle version of Priscilla the Great Versus the World to anyone who comments on this blog post. Just leave your email in the comment!

    1. That is awesome!! I'd love one too, please! :)

  2. I FINALLY read "Precilla the Great," and I'm HOOKED. I want to order the rest for my Kindle now and read them all. Sybil, you created such wonderful characters, and I'm in love with them, especially Prissy and Tai. I'm looking forward to seeing where their story takes them, especially after the way you ended book one. Take care.


  3. Wow! What a great giveaway! I found your site looking for the inside scoop on when Dancing Dream #3, the Saint of Petersburg will be out (it said June 2012 and I can't wait) and I found this site. I read your excerpts, and what a tremendous series. We need more strong women characters! Yours are so honest, and so real, that a girl/woman/even a man? can really draw inspiration and believe in them (even when they're shooting fire). God Bless You and Yours,

    Billie Kellar

    If you want, check out my site,, and I'll send you free soap in return for your book--you deserve something in return for such open generosity. Take care!

  4. These books are AWESOME. I LOVE them and I read at least one everyday. Today I am on Bring the Pain, chapter 15, The Numbers, where Priss and Tai go to find the blinking dot that they found on the first tracker that Tai made for the specimens. they just returned V to his parents and are on the way back to River's Bend. I LOVE PRISCILLA THE GREAT!! I have a suggestion for the music in the movie of Priscilla the Great, (you might not even be this far but just a suggestion) use Adele's music for it. i think that a few of her songs would be PERFECT for it. maybe when Priss discovers her Fire power for the first time you can do Rolling in the Deep because she does say it started from her chest then pulsed out to her fingers, right?? And the first lyrics in Rolling in the Deep are, "There's a fire starting in my heart" so maybe that would be good. Just a suggestion though. Anyway, I'm a HUGE fan of PtG!!!
    Thank you!
    Anonymous :)

  5. Oh and my email address is

  6. Hey everyone, I'll work on getting everyone their books tonight!

  7. I, too, think Adele's Rolling the Deep would be perfect for the soundtrack!