Photo: Beate Hill

Photo: Beate Hill

About the Author

Caroline Lee enjoys living in the city of Chicago with her husband Rebel. When she's not writing, she can sometimes be found walking through Millennium Park or along the lakefront. She loves cupcakes, Brussels sprouts, and texting her youngest niece. Don't tell anybody, but she's also a teeny bit scared of riding the freight elevator in her building.

Member:  Society of Children's Bookwriters & Illustrators

Chicago Women in Publishing

The Alliance of Independent Authors

Dramatists Guild

Q & A with Caroline

What character in the book best describes you?

Peppin and his love for chocolate, of course! Actually I think there is a bit of me in every character; Veronique's love of fashion, Mother's anxiety, and Esmeralda's entrepeneurial and artistic spirit.  When I was ten years old, I most definitely had Maxzyne's impatience to grow up and be her own person.

How long did it take you to write the book?

It took about  9 months to write the first draft of the book.  Believe it or not, the hardest part is the rewrite! It's important to get other people to review your work to make sure it's the best it can be.

What was your favorite children's book?

I loved to read from a young age and so there are too many favorites!  Perhaps The Lion, the Witch & the Wardrobe by C.S. Lewis, was special because I remember doing a book report for an assignment in the 6th grade. The idea of finding another place and time at the back of your closet just amazed me. (And I sure could have used it to escape my younger sisters at times!)  As for characters, I felt bad for poor Edmund! He fell for the White Witch's trick and ate her candy which nearly cost Narnia everything.

The book features a lot about Maxzyne's love of art.  Who is your favorite artist past and present?

I have a particular fondness for Renoir. His painting The Boating Party always dazzles me because the colors are so vibrant and the people portrayed are enjoying themselves at an outdoor picnic. As for a present-day artist, I am a huge fan of Jonathan Wolfe, the talented illustrator for Maxzyne. (See his website at  I also admire the homeless artisans living on the Chicago streets. They create and market their art in such challenging conditions. See Maxzyne's Pics and Picks which feature photos of them and their art.

Will you write another book about Maxzyne?

I do plan to write another book about Maxzyne's adventures right here in the city of Chicago.  I'm also working with composer Tom Sivak on a musical adaptation for the stage. Stay tuned!