Author J. S. Puller visits Indigo Bridge Books


J. S. Puller talks to her readers while sitting on her throne at Indigo Bridge Books on Friday, May 11th.

Playwright and debut author J. S. Puller visited Indigo Bridge Books on Friday, May 11th to talk about and promote her Y.A. novel Captain Superlative. She started a book tour with various schools and bookshops on Tuesday, May 8th when the book went on sale.

Puller is an award-winning member of the American Alliance for Theatre and Education from Chicago. She has one published play titled “Women Who Weave.” Captain Superlative actually started as a play as well. She drafted the play in two days in February 2013, creating a loose take on Man of La Mancha with her female leads who were inspired by Don Quixote and his sidekick Sancho. She took the play to a few workshops and presentations and was amazed by the teenage students who participated in the first production of it. In the following November, she challenged herself to turn the play into a book for National Novel Writing Month.

The book addresses the issue of bullying in middle schools. When Puller was studying for her Masters in elementary education, she came across an article that explored the three components of a bullying situation: the bully, the victim, and the bystander. She wrote Captain Superlative with the intention of delving into the reasons why a person would be a bystander.

The story follows Janey– a fly-on-the-wall type of girl– who can’t resist uncovering the secrets of Captain Superlative after she appears at school one day. Puller deliberately writes her characters in a way that shows the readers how important it is to understand someone’s background when observing their current actions and behavior. Her three-dimensional characters promote individualism and demonstrate that being different is more than okay.

“The book is set in a middle school because that is the age where you begin to find your identity,” said Puller. Middle school was a vital time for Puller’s childhood because that’s when she began to write plays. She, herself, was bullied as a student and hopes to show readers that it gets better. It may seem cliche, but it’s a truly powerful message that she believes in. After sending out over 100 query letters to publishing houses, she found five that wanted to work with her. After lots of bidding, deal-making, and communicating, she signed a contract with Disney Hyperion. Over the span of roughly two years, the novel went through about four rounds of revisions before getting published. She’s been writing for a long time, but having a pile of her books fall in her lap was surreal. She signed a two-book contract with Disney Hyperion so readers can look forward to another book from Puller in the coming years. Follow Puller on Facebook, Twitter and her website here.