In Their Own Words:

Interviews with Children's and YA
Authors & Illustrators

Papademetriou - Prineas

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

M or F?
"Actually, the publisher came up with the idea. They wanted a 'Will and Grace' for high school. Then they hired Chris and me to write it. It was an arranged marriage--Chris and I had never met (or even heard of each other) before we started working together."

—on M or F?

 

Seesaw girl cover
“I think that change in society occurs in small increments—that ordinary people take small steps, one or two at a time, until the community is ready for a big change, for a Gandhi or a King to come along. I wanted Jade Blossom to be one of those small-steppers.”

— on SEESAW GIRL (MG)

Author Update: Linda Sue Park

 

The Higher Power of Lucky


"…I'd become depressed about writing and was ready to send back the advance for the sequel because I figured, why would anyone want to read the sequel of a book they'd never heard of? So the Newbery phone call was an enormous, surreal, heart-stopping surprise."

--on THE HIGHER POWER OF LUCKY (MG)

 


possibility of fireflies
"I've always loved the juxtaposition of humor with emotional intensity. There's something about that that really turns me on. And let's face it--the 80's are a really funny time period. We didn't think so at the time. There was such an innocence to the way we looked at things like Hair Metal back then. That's why it's so awesome. Because everyone was just genuinely like 'This rocks!'"

—on THE POSSIBILITY OF FIREFLIES (YA)


SUCKS TO BE ME“There are some hot guys, a couple of mean girls, a great best friend, and dashes of normal teenage angst. Oh, and vampires, of course. But no bloody mayhem or skulking about at night.”

—on SUCKS TO BE ME:
THE ALL-TRUE CONFESSIONS OF MINA HAMILTON,
TEEN VAMPIRE (MAYBE)
(YA)


All of the Above
"During my visit, the school's principal kept talking about his school's record-breaking tetrahedron project. To be honest, I didn't have a clue what he meant--what in the world was a 'tetrahedron?'"

—on ALL OF THE ABOVE (YA)

 

A Room on Lorelei Street Cover

"I am amazed at the iron bonds of family."

— on A ROOM ON LORELEI STREET (YA)

 

Adoration of Jenna Fox“Two questions fueled the story. How far will medicine advance in fifty years? And, how far would a parent go to save their child?

”I asked myself both of these questions when my own daughter was diagnosed with cancer, and I witnessed not just what we went through, but what other parents with hospitalized children were going through and the tough decisions they had to face.”

—on THE ADORATION OF JENNA FOX (YA)

Way up High
“Keeping the rhythm, rhyme, and above all, keeping the facts fun are my biggest challenges.”

— on WAY UP HIGH IN A TALL GREEN TREE (PB)

 

Bookjacket
"As we drove out of town, I jotted down the first lines of That Special Little Baby. I had only to look at my own young teens in the back seat (at least while they were sleeping) to be transported back to those first, very special years of life."

—on THAT SPECIAL LITTLE BABY (PB)

 

Mason“Mason is the story of a developmentally-challenged youth, who is artistically brilliant. Mason's skill at drawing is not limited to pencil, ink and paper, though. He can draw life-like pictures with his mind and put them into yours, so that you see fantastical creatures filling the skies or prowling the streets.”

—on MASON (YA)


Clementine“Clementine is based on my own two kids, especially my son who suffered with attention issues in school, so she feels very real to me. I get all goofy and choked up when I talk about her, because I so admire how she manages to stay positive and cheerful and sweet-hearted with the challenges she faces, even given the supportive adults in her world.”

—on CLEMENTINE, FRIEND OF THE WEEK (CB)

Dead is the new Black
“DEAD IS THE NEW BLACK is the first book in a trilogy. It's about three sisters who solve paranormal mysteries in their California high school. I think the reason it's a genre bender is because I love to read in so many genres myself.”

—on DEAD IS THE NEW BLACK (YA)

 

Unexpected Development by Marlene Perez
"I've learned the theme of teen sexuality is a sensitive one, especially novels about female teen sexuality where no one dies or gets a disease. We should be responsible about potential sexual consequences, but I don't think we need to portray every sexual female as someone who should and will be punished."

—on UNEXPECTED DEVELOPMENT (YA)

 

True Story of Stellina
“To whomever suggested that I write about it, I answered that it was such a simple and uneventful story that could not be told in an interesting way. But I knew that even simple stories, or especially simple stories, can be very revealing.”

—on THE TRUE STORY OF STELLINA (PB)


First Daughter
“As a parent of two adopted teens from South Asia, the idea of an adopted Muslim-origin girl leaped into mind. I had no idea that John McCain had adopted a daughter from Bangladesh, and by the time I found out about Bridget, the first book was already written. I wrote the Senator's office and explained my dilemma--I had no desire to exploit Bridget's real life joys and challenges for my own purposes.”

— on the FIRST DAUGHTER books (YA)


Far from Xanadu
"She smiled, demurely, and said, 'I'm transsexual.' Whoa."

— on LUNA (YA)

“The main character, Mike, had been growing inside me for a while, augmented by the ochre of irritation, frustration, and anger.”

— on FAR FROM XANADU (YA)

See also Julie on Career Building.

Rule of Won“In Rule, a group of high school students devoted to one such book's 'you-can-and-should-have-it-all' principles slowly turns violent. The only thing in their way is hapless slacker, Caleb Dunne, who isn't sure what he believes, or doesn't. There's humor, adventure and message boards aplenty!”

—on THE RULE OF ONE (YA)


Life as We Knew ItThe Dead and The Gone

 

“Most disaster stories have what I call the leaping-the-lava moment, when the hero must leap over the flowing lava, carrying some small helpless creature (a kid, a heroine) in his stalwart manly arms.

“ I have no ability to write leaping-the-lava scenes, and I was more interested in the domestic response to disaster anyway. How do you do the laundry if there's no running water?”

—on LIFE AS WE KNEW IT and THE DEAD AND THE GONE (YA)


Spilling Ink“I vowed that if I couldn’t always be eleven, I could at least write books for people who were eleven. All because of HARRIET THE SPY.”

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

The Magic Thief
“I'd been writing fantasy for adults. I had the first two lines of the book — ‘A thief is a lot like a wizard. I have quick hands, and I can make things disappear’ — in a file on my hard-drive for over a year, but I didn't have a character or story to put with them.”

— on THE MAGIC THIEF (MG)