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Ann Martin’s Baby-Sitters Club series sold over 176 million copies. Fans who held their breath waiting for each release will be pleased to learn that there are at least seven books planned in her new Main Street series, beginning with WELCOME TO CAMDEN FALLS.

Like the first, this second series focuses on close female friends. At the center of the story are sisters Ruby and Flora, who have just lost their parents and who have moved to Camden Falls to live with their grandmother. There’s also bright Olivia, who is teased for being so smart, and Nicky, who has lived in the town her whole life and doesn’t have a single friend. “The girls are all outsiders, either literally or figuratively,” Martin says. “And they need each other.”

Martin’s books speak to upper-elementary schoolgirls for many reasons. “As I grew up, I encountered mean girls, but I was fortunate to have a tight group of friends who were truly close. I remember emotions, feelings, things that pull girls together, and things that separate them. I also imagine myself in the setting--visualizing things as I write them.” Her narrative voice is also appealing to girls. “Every now and again, my mother would ask me when I was going to write an adult book. It’s not that I don’t want to, but this is the voice that comes out naturally.”

Speaking of a voice that comes out naturally, it was Martin who suggested Ariadne Meyers as narrator for this new series. “Ari blows me away! She did a fabulous job with everyone, particularly Robbie, the teenaged boy with Down’s syndrome. She’s wonderful with switching voices. I don’t know how you do that! She’s great with the kid voices, the adult voices, and the narration.”

Martin has a history of listening to audios. She started when she began to travel from her home to New York City. “I love that time in the car with nothing but a good story to listen to. A long trip has become the time when I can lose myself in a story. It’s relaxing, and I actually look forward to the drives.”

And she doesn’t confine listening to her car. She listens to audios as she walks her dog. Mysteries are a favorite. She’s always looking for an Agatha Christie. “I thought I’d heard every last one of them; then recently I found TOWARDS ZERO. I was thrilled.”

Whether she’s in the car or on foot, listening to her work or the work of others, Martin says, “Listening is a way of giving voice to the characters and allows you to lose yourself in their world.”--Susie Wilde

© AudioFile 2007, Portland, Maine

Photo © Dion Ogust

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