30 Days of No Gossip: Character Interview

Hi, all, Sher here with a guest post from Stephanie Faris, author of 30 Days of No Gossip. We’re joining Shannon Messenger’s Marvelous Middle Grade Monday blog hop this week, so please join us for the interview in which Stephanie talks to her main character, Maddie Evans. First, take a look at the cover. One girl looks a little embarrassed, and the other looks like she’s scheming. Familiar?


Can a middle school gossip queen change her ways, or will she lose her BFF for good? Find out in this M!X original novel.

Maddie Evans prides herself on being the gossip queen of Troy Middle School. She is the first person her classmates go to when they need the latest news on the ins-and-outs of TMS—and Maddie never disappoints.

Her best friend since birth, Vi, isn’t crazy about Maddie’s penchant for passing on rumors, but it’s never been an issue in their friendship. Until the day Maddie lets slip who Vi is crushing on—in front of her crush.

Vi is furious, and she confronts Maddie with an ultimatum: no gossip for 30 days, or twelve years of sisterhood goes down the drain.

I’m going to turn the time over to Stephanie now for a little background information and the interview. Go, Steph!

In 30 Days of No Gossip, Maddie Evans has a bit of a gossip habit. All of her friends love the fact that she always knows what’s going on, but her best friend Vi thinks it’s a problem. When Maddie takes it a step too far one day, Vi wants to walk away from their friendship. The only way they can repair things is if Maddie promises to go without gossiping for 30 full days. If she fails, her friendship with Vi is over for good.
Recently I met up with Maddie over milkshakes at her favorite ice cream shop to learn a little more about her. Since I tend to gossip from time to time myself (who doesn’t?), it was fun to hear her perspective on things.
Thank you for meeting with me today, Maddie. I won’t be asking you to gossip, don’t worry.
(Laughs.) That’s okay. A little gossip never hurt anyone, as long as it’s positive.
What’s this “30 days of no gossip” challenge? What happened that made your friend dare you to stop gossiping?
My best friend Vi got mad at me because I told this guy she liked him. I thought I was helping, but apparently she didn’t see it that way. She said I have a gossiping problem.
Do you?
I didn’t think I did at the time. I mean, I knew I gossiped and all, but I didn’t think it was really a problem.
I hear you published a gossip newspaper that you handed out to people at school.
Yes, the Troy Tattler. It told everyone at my school, Troy Middle School, what was going on with people in our grade. It was all in fun, but I can see now how it might hurt some people.
How did you stop yourself from gossiping?
It wasn’t easy and, believe me, I had a few slip-ups. But I couldn’t give up my friendship with Vi. She’s always been such a good friend to me. Plus, she’s right. When you say bad things about people, even if they can’t hear them, you’re hurting them. I just have to think about how I’d feel if someone was saying bad things about me behind my back and it makes me think twice about doing that myself.
How are you doing with gossip now?
That’s the thing. She dared me to stop for 30 days, but it’s more about learning to be nicer to people in general. You can talk about people—that’s part of life—but if you’re just trying to make yourself feel better by saying bad things about others, it just makes you look worse.
Thank you to Maddie Evans for talking to us today. If you want to learn a little more about her, pick up a copy of 30 Days of No Gossip.

30 Days of No Gossip


Author Biography
Stephanie Faris knew she wanted to be an author from a very young age. In fact, her mother often told her to stop reading so much and go outside and play with the other kids. After graduating from Middle Tennessee State University she somehow found herself working in information technology. But she never stopped writing. When she isn’t crafting fiction, Stephanie is indulging her gadget geek side by writing for online technology sites. She lives in Nashville with her husband.


Sher again with a few closing words to tweens, teens, and anyone who has ever said or heard something hurtful said behind another person’s back. I remember my teenage years believe it or not. My older sister told me how much she disliked one guy after he called me a bookworm in junior high. Even though I was a bookworm and wouldn’t mind the nickname now, my sister knew it wasn’t a complement, and she came to my defense. I think it’s important for everyone who ever hears such gossip to stand up for the person being degraded. You can do it. And it would help if you read 30 Days of No Gossip.

If you have a minute, please leave a comment before you go hopping off to the other MMGM posts. Thanks for visiting!

Share A Heart

Indie author-friendly freelance editor, children's book blogger for picture books through YA, kid lit, SF/fantasy lover with special fondness for middle grade, pun-loving SCBWI member, meter-maid for poetry and rhyming picture books.


  1. “…but if you’re just trying to make yourself feel better by saying bad things about others, it just makes you look worse” You nailed it. That’s why it’s always best to stay positive!

  2. Middle school students are enthralled by stories about mean people, so this looks like something that they would like. Just added to TBR list!

  3. Thank you, Ms. Yingling and Alex! And thank you to Sher A. Hart for having me (and Maddie) here today.

  4. Cute interview. I have a few middle schoolers in mind to recommend this to. Thanks for featuring and best of luck on its success.

  5. Wise indeed, have to stay on the up and up, no putting others down to make yourself feel better

  6. Great idea for a MG book! Nice hook. I wonder if she can go the 30 day stretch without gossiping?!

  7. Very timely and important topic. I wish you well with this, Stephanie!
    Sher – thanks for hosting Stephanie and nice to meet you!
    Tina @ Life is Good
    On the Open Road! @ Join us for the 4th Annual Post-Challenge Road Trip!

    • Thanks, Tina. You’re welcome, and nice to meet you too. I’ll stop by later when I get a chance between sanding our walls and moving things to avoid splattering them with paint. The joys of remodeling, sigh. I’d rather remodel everyone’s urge to speak ill, including mine.

  8. This is a great message for kids. Gossip can do so much harm anytime, but at this tender age, it can be devastating.

  9. Awesome message for everyone…kids and adults alike!!!

  10. What a great message about gossip! 🙂

  11. What a cute interview and a fun-sounding book. I agree with the comments above who point out we could all learn a little from Maddie 🙂

  12. I think a lot of gossip stems from people trying to feel better about themselves, so it’s sort of like passive or masked bullying. Great interview.

  13. It sounds like she’s learned something. This is a great message for a lot of kids!

  14. Great character interview. And a great message that your book passes along.

  15. This was a great way to introduce character and book, Sher and Stephanie. Wonderful theme to get middle schoolers to think about this important topic. Glad I stopped by. Maria @ Delight Directed Living

  16. Love the premise of this book, and Maddie is darling! Sounds like a wonderful story with a good lesson to learn!

  17. I really like the concept of 30 days sans gossip. It keeps me wondering if I could do it…Nah, I already know I couldn’t, not now. Not in the past. It’s a great hook for a story.

  18. Great character interview! I really enjoyed reading this because Maddie emphasized the importance of being nice toward other people.
    And I love the lesson she learned by taking the challenger her friend brought forth to her. She can still talk but in doing so, she doesn’t necessarily have to gossip. She can go around saying nice things to people instead. I hope many middle graders read this book and appreciate the concept!

  19. It’s fun to read a character interview!


  20. Thanks for sharing I enjoyed meeting Maddie

  21. Maddie sounds like she’s learned some valuable life lessons! Gossip can definitely be a tricky thing. =/

  22. Aw Stephanie Maddie sounds like a wonderful girl 🙂

  23. Wow! This is such a great response. Thanks, Stephanie, and I apologize to everyone for not having time to answer every comment. Remodeling is a huge time eater. Money too. But I’ll sure be happy once it’s over.

  24. I love the message in this book! Besides having a great cover- it sounds like the characters have things to learn. Maddie sounds like she has a good heart, and I am glad she gets a chance to step back and look at gossiping from another angle.

    Wishing Stephanie the best of luck!

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