Tabitha Sprunger is an art educator, illustrator, and writer. Her debut novel, Hart Street and Main has been a #1 Amazon New Release in YA Magical Realism Fiction, along with receiving 5-Star Readers’ Favorite ratings and being IndieReader approved. The series was recently featured in the August, September, and October editions of LibraryBub. Readers’ Favorite said of her novel, “Hart Street and Main is imaginative and creative,” filled with “vibrant characters.” Book two of the series, Hart Street and Main Metamorphosis was recently released in August 2022 with book three rumored to be in the works. Her writing contains spectacular characters, especially strong female personalities whom young girls can look up to. Sprunger began writing the trilogy while still a student in high school.
She does her best writing in a coffee shop or out in nature. Sprunger enjoys traveling and spending time with her husband and two children. She resides in Northern Indiana with her family.
Tell us the story of your book’s title. Was it easy to find, or did it take forever?
Hart Street and Main was never the original intended title of the series. The series in its early years was titled Walking in Wonder, often abbreviated WIW. After not completely being in love with the title myself and as the series developed and grew, the title too needed a change. It was renamed Hart Street and Main—Hart Street for the street I grew up on, and Main was adapted because of it typically being the “heart of a city’ in this case. Main Street refers to the road outside of the royal castle of Gresham.
How did it feel when you first saw your book cover? Or when you first held your book in your hands?
It felt great to finally have a cover that really embodied the luster and allure of Hart Street and Main’s worlds. The Hart Street and Main cover illustrator, Ronaldo Alves, was really able to draw the readers in with the bold yet simple design of Hart Street and Main and again in Hart Street and Main Metamorphosis. When I first held my books I was elated and a bit in disbelief knowing I finally had my books in hard copy. It was also humbling knowing how much work it took to get to that point and how much work was left moving forward in the series.
Who/what made you want to write? Was there a particular person, or particular writers/works/art forms that influenced you?
When I was young, I remember wanting to know how to read. I was only 4. My town had a population of about 400 people. We didn’t have an actual library or a bookstore. We took trips to a traveling Bookmobile instead. At age 5 I fell in love with words and story books. Illustrators painted my childhood. Plump caterpillars, prickly hedgehogs, and sparkling fish. When I was 7 I started to write my own stories. There were mischievous leprechauns playing pranks on teachers and pumpkins that could talk. By the time I was 9 I had spent 4 years at Hogwarts.
But it didn’t stop there. I read Magic Treehouse, Ruth Chew, and Gordon Korman. My joy of reading blossomed by being read to by the most wonderful elementary teachers. In middle school I muddled through everything from the Bible or Machiavelli. I was so eager to know everything there was to know about the world. To understand. I slept through nearly every high school literature class…but the love for reading was still there.
Gary Paulsen got me through the trials of pregnancy and Lois Lowry helped me cope with the realities of being human. Brave women authors still guide me through motherhood and parenting.
I truly believe books find you like the lyrics of a song you’ve never heard before. Books help you through your most trying of times. They’ll lift you up and can just as easily break you. Leave you wanting more. They entertain. Yet the words within the book’s pages will always be there, waiting to be read again.
What other professions have you worked in? What’s something about you that your readers wouldn’t know?
During high school I worked at a small grocery store which later inspired one of my main character’s jobs. To get through college I worked retail at a craft store and picked up any weekend or summer teaching jobs I could find. I’ve now been an art educator for almost ten years.
What was the most rewarding/meaningful part of publishing your book?
Interacting with readers and seeing the finished product are some of the most meaningful parts of publishing Hart Street and Main. I would also like to include that working with my Chapter/Map Illustrator, Joe Traster, to make the story come to life was a rewarding step in the publishing process.
If your book had a soundtrack, what are some songs that would be on it?
If my book had a soundtrack it would have a range of different songs: Snow Patrol’s Run, Nathan Colberg’s Calm, Billy Raffoul’s Better, Teddy Geiger’s Confidence, along with some acoustic indie folk music, Jack Johnson, and AJR.
What is one thing you hope readers take away from reading your book? How do you envision your perfect reader?
I hope readers take away the fun of reading. I want them to be able to escape to a different work full of magic, vibrant characters, and also see the internal struggles that each character faces whether they are “good” or “bad.” A perfect reader can be of any age who sees the full vision of Hart Street and Main, following Skye’s journey from childhood to becoming a strong young adult female writing her own story.
What new writing projects are you currently working on? Or, other projects that are not writing?
I am currently working on editing book three of the Hart Street and Main series, with the official title releasing soon. I’ve been working on writing the Hart Street and Main series for over a decade and I am sad yet excited to be able to dedicate time and energy to other writing and illustrating projects. There are several projects in the works I’ll be thrilled to dive into soon.
How was working with Atmosphere Press? What would you tell other writers who want to publish?
Working with Atmosphere Press couldn’t have been easier. They made the whole process a breeze to navigate and their entire team have always been readily available if I have questions or concerns about a project. Atmosphere Press was always very transparent and upfront, outlining each step of the publishing and marketing process. I couldn’t be happier to work with them again on upcoming projects.