In Their Own Words:

Interviews with Children's and YA
Authors & Illustrators

Billingsley-Bray

Sample these Author Profiles and Stories Behind the Stories, then follow the links to the full interviews.

Well Wished (bookjacket)

 

“I got the idea in the summer of 1985 when I went to a blood bank to give plasma for a friend of ours who was very sick.”

— on WELL WISHED (MG)

 

Big Bad Bunny
“Neither of my novels felt as though it were a gift. Writing them made me feel as though I were digging in a quarry with a teaspoon. So the ease with which this came was a terrific surprise. You don't always have to suffer in the name of art! You don't have to cut off your ear!”

— on BIG, BAD BUNNY (PB)


Shark Girl


"I finished the first draft of SHARK GIRL nearly two years later, just before graduation. And within a few days of finishing this, a girl in Hawaii was attacked by a shark while surfing and lost her right arm."

—on SHARK GIRL (YA)

 

Notes on a Near Life Experience

"Winning Delacorte was like having a dream fall out of nowhere into my lap. I didn't feel like I had earned publication.... I thought I'd have to send out my manuscript to every publishing house on the planet and be rejected by all of them twice before I'd ever have anything published."

—on NOTES ON A NEAR-LIFE EXPERIENCE (YA)

 

 

“It’s a grueling, horrible job and all writers hate writing outlines. However…”

— on THE WORLD ACCORDING TO HUMPHREY (MG)

 

See also Betty on FRIENDSHIP ACCORDING TO HUMPHREY (MG)

 

Tithe

 

"I had no idea how to structure a novel."

— on TITHE: A MODERN FAERIE TALE (YA)


Double Fudge

“When Fudge discovers he's not the only Farley Drexel Hatcher in the world — well, you can imagine!”

— on DOUBLE FUDGE (MG)

 

 

 

The Compound
“So I was just loopy from it all, sent in a revision of the Epilogue with an element that I really kind of meant as a joke, thinking it was just so dumb. She emailed back and said ‘Perfect!’”

—on THE COMPOUND (YA)


bookjacket
"Doing the research was a challenge, but not an unpleasant one. Corresponding with the various scientists was especially rewarding, they were all extremely helpful and generous with their time and knowledge."

—on WHEN FISH GOT FEET, SHARKS GOT TEETH,
AND BUGS BEGAN TO SWARM
(PB)


Josie's Gift

“Believe it or not, as a minister, I try never to sound ‘preachy.’ Let the story tell the story, without pounding the point.”

—on JOSIE’S GIFT (PB)

 

Beauty Shop for Rent

"For years, I would pass a sign posted in front of a charming old house that read, 'Beauty Shop for Rent...fully equipped, inquire within.' The rusted corners and the way it started to slant with time intrigued me and I was often tempted to pull up the driveway and find out what the owner was like. Was she old? Longing to retire? When I asked myself what would happen if a young girl was left on her doorstep, I realized the sign wasn't just a curiosity—it was a book!"

—on BEAUTY SHOP FOR RENT

 

Teen Power Politics



“Critical thinking and debate are becoming relics.”

— on TEEN POWER POLITICS (YA)



Shift
“Bike touring is an amazing way to travel, and I wanted to capture that and share it with people who might be unfamiliar with it. And we collected so many anecdotes and incidents that people always asked us to recount for them, that I began to realize if I could string some of those together, it might be a great book for teens.”

—on SHIFT (YA)


Great and Terrible Beauty


“I had never written an historical novel before, nor had I ever attempted fantasy. I actually didn’t know I was going to be doing fantasy till about a third of the way in. Quel surprise!”

— on A GREAT AND TERRIBLE BEAUTY (YA)