In Their Own Words:

Interviews with Children's and YA
Authors & Illustrators

Henson – Howard

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

That Book Woman“Cal's sister is overjoyed, but Cal is suspicious of the stranger. Why does she keep coming up the mountain in all kinds of weather? What's so important about books? Why are they ‘free as air?’”

—on THAT BOOK WOMAN (PB)



Scrambed Eggs at Midnight thumbnail
“After writing about half of the first chapter of what I thought was going to be my novel, I called Brad and asked if he would help me a bit. I mean, a novel is a lot to take in. We started talking, and somehow the idea of co-writing was brought up. It started out as an experiment of sorts...just a game to keep both of us writing. It wasn't until we got about halfway in that we realized that we might just have a book.”

—on SCRAMBLED EGGS AT MIDNIGHT (YA)

 

“I loved cooking up this story, though I'm the first to admit my own chicken soup is not a threat to Mrs. Gittel's."

—on CHICKEN SOUP BY HEART (PB)

Fancy That cover
"Everything about my picture book FANCY THAT suggests another time, another place: not only the story and its language and Megan's images, but the typeface, the calligraphy, the front and end papers, the paper stock itself with its mottled finish."

—on FANCY THAT (PB)

A Practical Guide to Monsters
"I worried about making sure the details were accurate. Even though it's a fictional book, it's presented as nonfiction. I consulted with our monster experts at Wizards, and did a lot of research to make sure the monsters felt "real" and stayed true to their origins."

—on A PRACTICAL GUIDE TO MONSTERS (PB)


Pieces
"I persisted..., making five more quilts in the next couple of years, in between other projects. When I took them back to Susan she said, 'I still think you are crazy, but I want to publish the book.'"

—on PIECES: A YEAR IN POEMS & QUILTS (PB


Babymouse 1
“And Random House loved BABYMOUSE! They just totally got her. And more importantly, they were willing to take a risk on a new format. So we had found her a home.”

—on the BABYMOUSE series (GN)


Dancing...
“I loved that! Here were two families who were both poor, but they still had class distinctions. And it had to do with tar!”

—on DANCING IN CADILLAC LIGHT (YA)

 

author update: Kimberly Willis Holt

 

Piper Reed
"I'm a Navy brat. Like Piper's dad, my dad was a Navy chief. And also like her, I'm one of three girls. However I'm the oldest daughter. I was a pretty serious kid, and I wasn't sure if that would be a fun point of view for young readers. My middle sister was the clown in the family. She was clever and funny. She certainly inspired Piper, although as I wrote the character became different."

— on PIPER REED NAVY BRAT (CB)

See also Kimberly on Career Building

Newes from the Dead
“After hanging for half an hour, her body was cut down and taken to the dissectionist at an Oxford college. When the physicians gathered and lifted the coffin lid to begin the procedure, they heard a rattle in her throat...”

—on NEWES FROM THE DEAD (YA)


THE EMERALD TABLET“When she told me I needed to cut at least a third of it, I thought she was nuts, but, once she explained and I started learning more about writing, I found her feedback eye opening, and I dove into revisions.”

—on THE EMERALD TABLET (MG)


America at War“The poems that are truly heartbreaking are those that deal with the devastation war has on those who must endure consequences. A poem like ‘Graveyard’ by Rebecca Kai Dotlich stands out strongly in my mind and heart since it was written from her heart. It is a true picture of her beloved brother who committed suicide due to the stress of war.

—on AMERICA  AT WAR (PB)

Fannie in the Kitchen (book jacket)
"So unlike some of my other historical fiction books (such as A BAND OF ANGELS), I consider this a very fictionalized take-off on a footnote to history."

—on FANNIE IN THE KITCHEN (PB)


Log Cabin Quilt
“On a long, boring drive, I 'heard' Elvirey's voice, telling of her family's struggles in their new log cabin home. This is the way my mind keeps me amused. By the time I got home, I had heard the entire story in my imagination. I had only to type it up!”

—on THE LOG CABIN QUILT (PB)