In Their Own Words:

Interviews with Children's and YA
Authors & Illustrators

tagdell - Vogel

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

Nicole Tagdell“The wonderful folks there knew just what to do when I asked for photos of street scenes with storefronts – particularly furniture stores. It was so fun to walk around downtown Worcester with a photo taken in the 1930s and look around to see how it's changed – and how it's stayed the same.”

—on Creating Characters and Sense of Place (PB)

“On my more cynical days I define success as still being able to eke out a living working with books, after more than thirty years in the business. But on good (most) days I just look at my bookshelves, at all the books I've written (two dozen), edited (hundreds) or been associated with, and I feel happy and proud to have such wonderful mementos.”

— on CAREER BUILDING

 

Hidden Feast
"I would have taken practically anything as long as it was going to be published and in bookstores."

— on SAY HEY! A SONG OF WILLIE MAYS (PB)


Illustrator Update
: Don Tate

 

Night Wanderer“Simply put, it’s the story about an Ojibway man who, 350 years ago, made his way to Europe and was bitten by a vampire. He spent all those years wandering Europe, feeling homesick but unwilling to return as the monster he'd become. But finally, unable to stop himself, he makes his way back to where his village once was in Canada, and it's now a First Nations community. He takes up residency at a bed-and-breakfast, in the basement apartment. In that same house is a sixteen-year-old girl, Tiffany, who is having problems with her white boyfriend, father, and herself. Eventually, both their lives intertwine, and things happen!”

—on NIGHT WANDERER: A NATIVE GOTHIC NOVEL (YA)

farmer george cover

“I had originally organized it by farming activities, but she suggested a chronological approach. It was difficult because Washington spent a lot of time away from home, and each season brought similar problems. But using a chronological approach and twice as many quotes, by 2005, I finally got the strong narrative…”

—on FARMER GEORGE PLANTS A NATION (PB)

In the Serpent's Coils
"What I like best about writing historical fantasy fiction is that it opens up a forgotten world by connecting me with people who are often long-dead. Getting to know someone's past, even through something as simple as the weather she experienced in 1865, is an excellent exercise for the imagination."

—on IN THE SERPENT'S COILS (YA)

Temptress Four
“I wanted to write a story about four girls having the time of their lives with no parents around. They could get into plenty of trouble, which was perfect. Then I started thinking back to my last summer after high school, and I was flooded with bittersweet memories that made their way into the book.”

—on THE TEMPTRESS FOUR (YA)

Snow in Jersualem
"We sent out the final art for this book the very week fighting first broke out in Israel. At first we thought, what awful timing, but then we thought, no, no, now is time children need to hear this message of hope."

— on SNOW IN JERUSALEM (PB)

 

Companions of the Night
"At some point while I'd been writing the story, I'd heard the Righteous Brothers' 'Unchained Melody.' Being in a vampire mood, I heard the words in a different context than I'd ever taken them in before..."

— on COMPANIONS OF THE NIGHT (YA)

Also read The Story Behind the Story on BEING DEAD (MG).

 

Weaving the Literacy Web“I find toddlers to be among the most discriminating readers around. If your book is boring, or doesn’t meet their emotional needs, toddlers will just walk away.”

on writing for Pre-K (PB)

 

The Lucky Place“What does it take to survive for this particular girl? She seems very ordinary. But who is really ordinary underneath? Like most young people, Cassie has a vivid imagination that leads her in to trouble, and insight.”

—on THE LUCKY PLACE (YA)


Nacho the Party Puppy“Nacho the Party Puppy is all about celebrating your birthday the Nacho Way. It's a board book with large flaps, textures, bright colors, and a few surprises.

“If you want to have a swingin’ time at your next party, you definitely want to see how Nacho celebrates. He's Nacho Average Pup.”

—on NACHO THE PARTY PUPPY





Man Who Flies with Birds“So I contacted Yossi and asked him if I could write a children’s book about him. He was interested but on the condition that we would co-author it together. I agreed, and so THE MAN WHO FLIES WITH BIRDS is an autobiography, even though it is told in the third person.”

—on THE MAN WHO FLIES WITH BIRDS (PB)