In Their Own Words:

Interviews with Children's and YA
Authors & Illustrators

Mazer - Myracle

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

Spilling Ink“Reading was a highly approved activity in the Mazer family. No one ever questioned my spending an entire day on the floor of my room reading book after book. Even when I finally staggered into the light, unable to remember my name, no one ever said, "You might want to cut down on the reading."

—on SPILLING INK: A YOUNG WRITER’S HANDBOOK (MG)

A Boy at War
"The idea of A BOY AT WAR began with David Gale, my editor at Simon and Schuster. He saw a notice of an big upcoming movie about Pearl Harbor and saw that there was a need of a book on the subject for young readers. He asked if I'd be interested in doing that book."

—on A BOY AT WAR (YA)


What I Believe
“You know, it’s not a complicated story, it’s not rocket science, but what was at issue was the background about the Marnets' privileged life. I wanted to make that background real, not just tell the reader it was there, but make it felt by the reader.”

— on WHAT I BELIEVE (MG)


Over and Over You (bookjacket)
“There's a story attached to every person who's ever lived, and while the ways in which people live change all the time, people themselves don't change that much--no matter the time period, they love, hate, hope, want, and dream. That's always fascinated me.”

— on OVER AND OVER YOU (YA)


The Water Shaper
"Why do these stories call to me? I suppose because they depict borderlands--in this case the place where land and ocean meets--which always fascinated me. They are about longing; a man longing for his seal wife to stay and the wife longing to return to her seal family. I'm also interested in people who feel betwixt and between, like the seal maiden who has children on the land and in the sea."

—on WATER SHAPER (MG)

 

Something out of Nothing
“At first, I was angry about her suggestion because the book was finished. But after I cooled off a couple of days and really thought it over, I understood her point. I told FSG that I would take Marie Curie out of that book, if they let me write a book about Marie Curie. And they did!”

—on SOMETHING OUT OF NOTHING: MARIE CURIE AND RADIUM

Fade“When I finished Wake, I immediately did what all writers should not do (there I go, breaking the rules again): I started writing a sequel, Fade. I couldn't help it -- it burst out of me, and I decided that I had to write it even if it never got published. So I was not counting on Fade ever seeing the light of day. But my wonderful editor Jen at Pulse wanted a sequel. By the time we sold the two books, I actually had Fade finished. So that was a relief, and it worked out all right.”

—on FADE (YA)

pure

 

“I wanted to write a book that addressed the challenges of being a teenager, on top of being a teenager who was trying to sort out his or her own faith. To write about that time when you're really forging your own morality.”

––on PURE (YA)

 

The Way the Storm Stops
"I actually did what they tell you never to do — I didn't hold on to it and revise it."

—on THE WAY THE STORM STOPS (PB)


Pilot Pups
“I've read stories about real-life search-and-rescue operations, and I find it fascinating how teams pull together to help when someone is missing--whether it's an adult hiker or a small child who gets lost.”

—on PILOT PUPS (PB)


Stephenie Meyer's book Twilight
"It was such a great dream that I didn't want to forget it (short-term memory loss is one of the hazards of motherhood), so I sat down at the computer and wrote it down. I wrote ten pages that first day. Those ten pages are now Chapter Thirteen, "Confessions," and the true heart of the novel."

—on TWILIGHT (YA)

 

Busing Brewster“I was curious about the ways we use our children as pawns in our social experiments, however well intentioned. And I wondered how the failed experiment of forced busing affected other children.”

—on BUSING BREWSTER (PB)
HYPERLINK "http://cynthialeitichsmith.blogspot.com/2010/08/author-interview-richard-michelson-on.html"

Gringolandia“Probably the biggest challenge, particularly after I became a critic of multicultural children’s literature, was whether I, as a cultural outsider, had the ‘right to write’ a book about a Chilean-American family. In fact, bringing in the character of Courtney, ‘la gringa,’ was a way for me to work through this issue, as Courtney takes Marcelo’s (Daniel’s father's) story and ‘translates’ it to an audience in the United States, with mixed and sometimes unexpected results.”

—on GRINGOLANDIA (YA)

Liftoff
"While I did a lot of research for this book, I was fortunate in not having to worry about the primary challenge for a biographer--getting to know the subject. Having worked for John Glenn for 15 years in the U.S. Senate, I had a great vantage point for observing who he is as a person and what he stands for."

—on LIFTOFF: A PHOTOBIOGRAPHY OF JOHN GLENN (NF)


Raising La Belle
“So between the facts and ‘the truth’ something hard to explain would have to occur. I wanted to impart the story in its fullness without killing it with information and words.”

—on RAISING LA BELLE (MG)


Shadowed Summer“Finally, I decided I would write a supernatural love story, and that's when Iris intervened. She wasn't interested in falling in love--with the living, or the dead. So I still had a character, and some of her friends but no idea what to do with them.”

—on SHADOWED SUMMER (YA)



Parties and Potions“SPELLS was supposed to be the last one, but then Random House asked if I would do one more…and I was thrilled to. I missed my witch girls!”

—on PARTIES & POTIONS (YA)

 

Los Gatos Black on Halloween book jacket
"Why not use Spanish in a Halloween story? What does my using Spanish have to do with anything? What about the story? What did she think about the story? The words, the rhythm, the images, the surprise ending? What about all that? If the text itself was strong, what did it matter that it was bilingual?"

—Marisa Montes on
LOS GATOS BLACK ON HALLOWEEN (PB)

 

"Developing my characters is one of my favorite things. I want them to have a purpose as well as a back story. My mummy was found buried in Peru near a volcano, where he slept for 500 years. Now he waits at the museum's warehouse, while the new mummy’s exhibit gets ready. In the meantime, he has come to join the parade on Halloween night."

—Yuyi Morales on LOS GATOS BLACK ON HALLOWEEN (PB)

 

“I’m mom before I’m a writer though I feel inordinately blessed to write, be published, and to speak with audiences of all ages. I can’t really control my income or awards, but I can create a life that nourishes me and others—I hope.”

—on CAREER BUILDING

Casey at the Bat
"I researched an incredible amount on baseball, urban playgrounds and dozens of characters. After my first round of sketches, editor Tara Walker felt I had created a book about baseball and had not gotten inside the poem. She was right and I was back to square one."

—on CASEY AT THE BAT (PB)

 

winnie's war book cover“In a way, it seemed to me that we'd, as a nation, forgotten the pandemic, and if I didn't depict things as they were, then I'd be doing the same thing, turning from something because it was difficult.”

—on WINNIE’S WAR (MG)

 

Princess Ben“I had a dream about a girl jumping out the window with a broom. It was so dramatic, one of those dreams where you wake up gasping. And it just glommed onto my consciousness, so much that I had to keep going with it or I would have...well, I would have had to write the sequel to DAIRY QUEEN, which was overdue and very stressful. So instead I pounded the first draft of PRINCESS BEN in something like 16 days.”

—on PRINCESS BEN (YA)

Cover of When the Bough Breaks

 

“I wrote WHEN THE BOUGH BREAKS during the darkest months of my life, just after the death of my husband of thirty years. Perhaps that is why it is by far the darkest of my books.”

— on WHEN THE BOUGH BREAKS (YA)

See also Anna on Career Building.

author update: Anna Myers

ttfn
"It turned out to be rather like writing a play, I guess, but different even than that, because my characters weren't on the stage interacting together. They were all sitting at their computers, typing. And do you know how potentially boring that is?"

—on ttyl and ttfn (YA)