Sample these Author Profiles and Stories Behind the Stories, then follow the links to the full interviews.
“I love Halloween time and wanted to set a story then. While walking past a big junk shop in Fremont (the neighborhood of the book, and the one where I live now, though I didn't at the time), I realized that it was the perfect setting for a Halloween story. The original first line—‘It all started with this dress.’--came to me on the page, and I just kept going.”
—on THE OPPOSITE OF INVISIBLE (YA)
“First, I want readers to enjoy the stories. Second, I really want these stories to give recognition and hope to disabled teens who can't possibly see themselves in novels and stories about their non-disabled peers. Third, I hope all readers will learn something about each disability and will become more sensitive to the problems of others.”
“When I first heard about Joan of Arc as a child, I was fascinated with the idea that a teenaged girl had actually led an army!”
— on JOAN OF ARC (YA)
"I'm a novelist primarily, so paring things down to a few words was really hard. I have tremendous admiration for people who write picture books!"
— on MOLLY'S FAMILY (PB)
author update: Nancy Garden
Author Update 2: Nancy Garden
“This is such an exciting, historic election that it's wonderful to be involved in connecting young readers to the process. I wish a book like this were available when I was a kid because then it wouldn't have taken me so long to become excited about and involved in the political process.”
“One of the biggest challenges in writing Jake's story was that it didn't seem to follow the traditional arc of a story as I knew it. Jake thinks he can handle what's happening around him. He gives his father the benefit of the doubt time and again, wanting so much to keep the family together. So his story ‘problem’ doesn't rise in a single line toward a climax. It rises and falls as he continues to believe that everything will work out, that all is fine.”
—on LISTENING FOR CRICKETS (MG)
“I know in literature the buzz is that everything should be about the character but I'm big about plot. You know what—the characters do have to drive the plot, but it has to GO somewhere.”
— on SHATTERING GLASS (YA)
“I thought I was laying it on pretty thick."
— on DEAD GIRLS DON'T WRITE LETTERS (YA)
AUTHOR UPDATE: Gail Giles
“The challenge came from the setting, El Paso. I have never been to West Texas, so I needed a ton of information on places, names, locales, smells, sounds, and attitudes. My critique partners were invaluable, and I used the Internet for the rest.”
—on SOUL ENCHILADA (YA)
"Well, first of all, I am not a punk diva."
— on FAT KID RULES THE WORLD (YA)
author updates: K. L. Going
“It isn't just about the dead rising, but the dead rising with a purpose. They want to find the loved ones they've left behind, but all the good has gone out of them, the kindness. They're soulless.”
—on SOULLESS (YA)
“I was inspired by New York Public Library's storytelling tradition and the visionary children’s librarians who were pioneers in providing services to immigrant families and who understood the importance of honoring the immigrants' languages and preserving their stories.”
—Lucia Gonzales on THE STORYTELLER’S CANDLE (PB)
“One obvious way was to depict accurately vehicles, buildings, clothing and objects like stoves, cash registers or food cans. Another way was to imitate the sepia photos of that time. However, I wanted to go beyond those expected methods of placing the story in its proper context.”
—Lula Delacre on THE STORYTELLER’S CANDLE (PB)
“It's mostly fun and silly, with tons of hijinks and magic tricks thrown in (Bernetta's father is a professional magician, so she's learned some very useful sleight-of-hand techniques from him). It's very loosely based on ‘The Sting’ which is one of my all-time favorite movies.”
“I wanted to get to know that more substantial person I glimpsed in the attic of the Hippie Hotel.”
“I didn't want it to look back but look ahead, giving kids as realistic an answer as possible to the question: what if something bad happens again?”
— on THE MOON CAME DOWN ON MILK STREET (PB)
"I created the character of Horatio Wilkes almost seventeen years ago to the day he'll first see print, which is cool because he's seventeen years old in the book, too."
"The biggest challenge is that 'Katherines' is very different from my first novel--it's a much more comic novel, and it has less of a built-in structure, and it is third-person instead of first-person. I wanted to do something radically different, partly because I want to have a long career and don't want to repeat myself, and partly because I wanted to push myself a little."
—on AN ABUNDANCE OF KATHERINES (YA)
"All the information in the LORENZO series is based on fact. Spanish involvement in the American Revolution is rarely discussed in our history books."
—on the LORENZO series (YA)