In Their Own Words:

Interviews with Children's and YA
Authors & Illustrators

Chima - Crum

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

The Warrior Heir
"I had this notion about writing a truly American fantasy, set in a small Midwestern college town. Small towns are like laboratories: people interact who would never encounter each other in a big city. You can never escape your history in a small town."

—on THE WARRIOR HEIR (YA)

 

Phoebe Clappsaddle and the Tumbleweed Gang
“The story began to stir in my head set in the most desolate yet wonderful part of Texas I could imagine; beautiful and powerful Big Bend.”

— on PHOEBE CLAPPSADDLE AND THE TUMBLEWEED GANG (PB)

 

Dancing in Red Shoes will Kill You cover
“The fairy tales had to work within the plot as well as the subtext, which demonstrates the many ways dominant discourses influence us without our knowing.”

— on DANCING IN RED SHOES WILL KILL YOU (YA)

 

City of Bones bookjacket
“I was in her tattoo shop looking through the flash book--not that I have any tattoos myself, as I am not that cool, but I find them fascinating--and I got this idea about skin runes that offered protection against demons and how neat that would be.”

--on the MORTAL INSTRUMENTS series (YA)


bookjacket
"I had been chewing on what I love in books and movies, particularly the idea that all this mundane stuff that happens all the time (like the ridiculous excesses of the prom) can have a supernatural origin or resonance."

—on PROM DATES FROM HELL (YA)


The Forever Dog by Bill Cochran
" It's a story about how Mike learns to work through his sadness and embrace Corky's memory. Total tear jerker."

—on THE FOREVER DOG (PB)

 

Sahara Special


"The book took about four years from brainchild to binding."

— on SAHARA SPECIAL (MG)

AUTHOR UPDATE: Esme Raji Codell

 

“I did not ever consider giving up. For reasons I can’t identify, the rejections toughened me rather than weakened me. It became a battle: me versus publishing. Now publishing is my ally.”

— on CAREER BUILDING (MG)

Free Basebal
"As it turned out, however, a lot of Felix's mother's concerns are my concerns, too, and a lot of the first-generation experience is similar no matter which country your parents hail from."

—on FREE BASEBALL (MG)

 

Players in Pigtails“I couldn’t believe it. The song that everyone associates with baseball is about a girl! I decided instead of focusing on a single woman, to make a fictional main character--a composite of the many cool women in the league--and I named her Katie Casey.”

—on PLAYERS IN PIGTAILS (PB)


This is the Stable cover
"One of the members of my writers' group at the time tossed me a challenge, wondering if I really wanted to keep bringing the reader's focus back to that dusty stable rather than the baby. I thought about that for a bit, and realized that, for me, an important part of this story is the idea of something great coming from something very humble."

—on THIS IS THE STABLE (PB)

 

 

Tessa's Tip-Tapping Toes“I have been known to dance down grocery store aisles.”

— on TESSA’S TIP-TAPPING TOES (PB)

Carolyn Crimi (and John Manders):

“Suddenly my sweet, innocent bunnies were wearing eye patches and saying things like ‘Great blimey bilges!’”

— on HENRY AND THE BUCCANEER BUNNIES (PB)

See also Carolyn Crimi on Career Building.

 

The Very Ordered Existence...
“Anytime someone tells me about a favorite moment in the book, it has been birthed from a revision. And I've had several librarians tell me they love the first line of the book, and that is something that got added late in the process.”

—on THE VERY ORDERED EXISTENCE OF MERILEE MARVELOUS (MG)


“It explored the issues of shame and dignity, and talked of how people felt when they became the poor ones pictured in the media for the entireworld to see. Suddenly I knew what my story would be!"

— on SPITTING IMAGE (MG)

Who took my hairy toe? book jacket
"...kids always ask; how did the monster lose his toe? That's a question I'm not ready to ask the monster yet."

— on WHO TOOK MY HAIRY TOE? (MG)

See also Shutta's interviews on THE BRAVEST OF THE BRAVE (PB) and A FAMILY FOR OLD MILL FARM (PB).