Debut Review Challenge with Marcie Flinchum Atkins

It is my great pleasure to welcome author-librarian extraordinaire, Marcie Flinchum Atkins, to the Debut Review Challenge blog!

New this month: a chance to win during every author interview. Click here to enter a Rafflecopter giveaway!


Number of years writing: 

My whole life! However, I really started taking things seriously 10 years ago. 

Number of years from contract to published book: 


Date your book was released: 

September 3, 2019

Number of pages: 


Number of launch events: 


Number of days per week that writing takes a backseat to marketing & publicity:

On average 1 (though it was more when I was prepping to launch the book)

Number of critique partners: 

7 current ones (many more past ones)

Number of books you hope to publish over the next ten years: 


Number of times you’ve pinched yourself that you really have a book out: 

Every day

Current number of reviews:

Amazon: 21, Good Reads: 55

A Few Questions

  • Without giving anything away, tell us about your work-in-progress. What do you love about it so far? Where are you stuck? 

I really love a middle grade novel I’m working on. I put it in a drawer to make time to work on more pressing things. But when I was on vacation in August, (and swore I wouldn’t work on anything), it wouldn’t leave me alone. I found a nearby Wal-Mart and bought a notebook and just wrote down everything in my brain. I love the characters, the setting, and the premise. I’m stuck because I’ve built this book up so much in my head that I know the actual rewrite will disappoint me at first. I’m trying to fully re-plot it before actually drafting. Plotting is hard for me, so I’m really pushing myself to be diligent before committing draft words to paper. 

  • What does your workspace look like? Tell us about a typical work session. 


I write at 4:30am in my home office surrounded by books and research. I boil water for tea right in my office. I drink Yogi Green Kombucha tea every single morning. I have a 30 minute morning routine that includes reading a devotion, reading a writing pep talk, and writing 3 pages of morning pages. 

From 5:00-6:10, I work on whatever writing project is the main project I’m working on. Right now that’s a middle grade novel. 

6:10-7:45 Workout while listening to a podcast, get kids up for school, get myself ready, commute. 

On my commute I’ve been listening to a book that’s part of my reading challenge for the month for myself. January was nature writing. February was baseball writing. March will be nature writing or baseball writing again (still so many books to read).

7:45-8:15 Write in my car (most mornings). Not while moving, of course. Because of where I live, the time I leave can make or break the commute, so I’ve been carrying a bag of writing stuff for a long time. I read a chapter of a craft book, participate in some sort of writing challenge by reading the posts and doing the exercises. January was Storystorm, February was NF Fest, March is ReFoReMo. I also might read through a draft of a picture book and make notes, do research for a WIP, or do a critique for a friend. 

In the evenings, I usually have to wait for one of my kids to get done with practice, so my little writing caddy goes with me everywhere. 


Saturday mornings: I usually meet friends at a coffee shop to write and chat about writing. 

Sundays: On Sunday evenings, I do a week-in-review. I typically go through last week’s to-do list and see what I got done and what I didn’t. I take a look at my big picture goals and lay out a to-do list for the next week. 

Time to Play: STORY SMASH!

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Think about all the stories you’ve written that have hit a dead end or are hidden away in a drawer somewhere. For each of the items below, lift an element from a different story to create a weird, unexpected mash-up. Who knows? It may even inspire a new manuscript! 

Character: June Bug

Setting: Halloween

Theme: Sometimes being messy is fun!

Problem: Parents are lazy and the kid wants to fix them!

Pitch: MUD PIE DAY, is celebration of a childhood pastime—making mud pies. For a preschooler, waking up the morning after a nighttime rain draws one to the yard—a muddy canvas waiting to be molded. After a day of making imaginary mud pies (and other mud foods), the child is welcomed home to a bubbly bath that is perfect for making bubble pies.

Okay, Challenge Participants! It’s Time to Write Some Reviews!

Leave an honest review on Amazon, Goodreads, or other online site. Every time you write five reviews for debut Kidlit creators between March 1-April 30, 2020, you can fill out this ENTRY FORM for a chance to win prizes. Marcie has generously donated a signed book and SWAG. Thank you, Marcie!


  • Support debut authors by suggesting their book titles to your local library.
  • Purchase them as gifts for children in your life, a teacher, or a local school.
  • Share book titles or reviews on social media and tag the author/illustrator.

New this month: a chance to win during every author interview. Click here to enter a Rafflecopter giveaway!

About Marcie and her Book

Bio: Marcie Flinchum Atkins is a teacher-librarian by day and a children’s book writer in the wee hours of the morning. She holds an M.A. and an M.F.A. in Children’s Literature from Hollins University. Wait, Rest, Pause: Dormancy in Nature (Millbrook Press, 2019) is her most recent book. Marcie also serves as the nonfiction event coordinator for the Mid-Atlantic SCBWI region. She muses about mentor texts and making time to write at She’s on Twitter and Instagram as @MarcieFAtkins. 

Book Title: Wait, Rest, Pause: Dormancy in Nature

Author/Illustrator: Marcie Flinchum Atkins

Publisher: Millbrook Press/ Lerner

Year: 2019

Synopsis: Captivating photos of animals accompany simple, engaging text to explain dormancy in nature. This highly curricular book teaches young readers about different kinds of dormancy and which animals do what. Featuring creatures like ladybugs, chickadees, squirrels, and even alligators, this book won’t put curious kids to sleep!

1 thought on “Debut Review Challenge with Marcie Flinchum Atkins”

  1. I loved this book (and did review it on goodreads!). I look forward to participating in the debut review challenge and to reading more from Marcie!

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