Sample these Author Profiles and Stories Behind the Stories, then follow the links to the full interviews.
"Psychologically, when the creation of a book is in midstream, you are always walking around with a feeling that something needs to be done. It's sort of like you are in the middle of remembering the book, and yet you don't know what you have forgotten because you haven't remembered it yet!"
“I'm extremely dorky in situations where I'm not supposed to be dorky. I'm horrible at mix-n'-mingle type things, I never did well at cool parties, and I always feel like I'm making things up to try to fit in. Logan and I have this in common.”
—on THIS IS WHAT I DID: (YA)
“Once I changed the setting, it became obvious that the ending would be more fun if the main character herded the cotton candy into the Cotton Bowl. It was serendipity.”
"I equate writing a rhyming story to attempting to solve a particularly vexing word puzzle. You know the solution is there, but finding it takes time and a great deal of hair pulling and head banging. But it's also a blast."
—on ESTELLE TAKES A BATH (PB)
“Half way through the finishes, I ran out of ink, and the pens were completely sold out in America. There was a week I tried 18 different pens and none of them worked.”
--on BONE SOUP (PB)
"I asked the age-old question: Why does God let bad things happen? I figured I could try to answer that question in a book. I always loved novels about grief and loss (I just love a good cry!), and I noticed all the mainstream books about death had Christian characters. Where were the Jews?"
—on JULIA'S KITCHEN (MG)
“So, the timeline from beginning to end actually stretched over many years. But the major events were my desire to write about the Jewish American experience that has been ignored, or not well known, the discovery of Private Joel's description of that unusual and amusing and finally, deeply spiritual story during this particular war.”
"I tried again in Quinn's voice and—no offense to Quinn—it went nowhere. Septina's voice worked better, but it took a while for me to realize that she should be writing the book as a series of letters to the people in her life. I actually sprang awake at five in the morning and shouted, 'Letters! She could be writing letters!'"
“During my talks, I've learned about a young man whose real grandfather was a king in Nigeria. Even his teacher didn't know that. I've heard about cats being the kings at home and sisters who were wonderful queens and some who were not. One boy told me that he was a prince.”
"I was interested in the spate of school violence events and what schools could do to prevent them. Reading the newspaper, there seems to be an implication that any kid who was a loner was suddenly a potential shooter."
— on BREAKING POINT (YA)
She also shares insights on BREATHING UNDERWATER (YA)
author update: Alex Flinn
"In some versions, the Beast has servants, and I knew Kyle would have them in my version because he was otherwise so alone and because he needed wise elders from whom to learn. The book is, essentially, a book about selfishness and learning to be unselfish, so Kyle must learn that selflessness from somebody."
—on BEASTLY (YA)
“I was writing another fairy tale story, one that didn't work out, and I started thinking about Sleeping Beauty. The story neglects to tell us what happens when the princess wakes up a hundred or so years later.”
—on A KISS IN TIME (YA)
“Watching the sun’s light transform a sandstone arch—an arch bigger than a city bridge—into a blazing orange wall of color. Underneath the arch, walls of sandstone plunged straight down for a thousand feet. How could I bring that moment, that majesty, to a child?”
—on SAND TO STONE AND BACK AGAIN (PB)
“Get Organized was inspired by my son's learning differences. I had a wealth of information that I pulled from multiple sources, including ideas I'd made up on my own, to try and get him through the tough years of late elementary/middle school.”
"In the beginning I was afraid of it because I'd heard that the author, Linda Smith, wrote the story while battling breast cancer and it was in response to a very bad day she was having as a result of her treatment. I'd heard that her cancer was quite advanced, that she was 39 years old, and that she had eight kids -- the youngest one was four or five at the time."
“Would you believe leather pants?”
— on SPY MICE (MG)
“My mom actually grew up above her family's Italian Market—it's called Goglia's Market and it' still there, but in Bristol, not Federal Hill—and all my life she told me these hilarious stories about the store and especially the two giant fig trees out back that came from clippings carried over from Italy. She'd talk about these trees like they were miraculous—for their size, the giant, succulent figs they would put forth each season, how they'd have to bury the trees so they'd survive the Rhode Island winter.
“That's the first thing Antonia talks about in The Possibilities of Sainthood—burying the family fig trees and what a crazy task this is.”
—on THE POSSIBILITIES OF SAINTHOOD (YA)
“I certainly didn't do any research. When I was little I loved fairy stories and folk tales, and I was a storyteller for many years using those very same stories, so I think a lot of the characters come from the same background.”
—on THE ROBE OF SKULLS (MG)
"Most of the YA novels I read revolved around girl protagonists and girl stories. It started me thinking about what it would be like to write a modern romance from a boy's point of view."
—on THE GIRLFRIEND PROJECT (YA)