In Their Own Words:

Interviews with Children's and YA
Authors & Illustrators

Na - Ostow

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

A Step from Heaven
“In terms of an immigrant story, I would definitely recommend Sandra Cisneros' THE HOUSE ON MANGO STREET. Her vivid language and imagery are just amazing. My inspiration for STEP came directly from her.”

— on A STEP FROM HEAVEN (YA)

 

Daemon Hall cover image with skull
" Before signing me, she put a challenge to me; do another rewrite and trim seventy-five pages in the process. Seventy-five! I didn't think I could do it, but figured it would be good experience. She knew what she was talking about because it really was a much better book after that."

—on DAEMON HALL (YA)

 

Teach Me
“I was intrigued with this character because Nine cuts against the grain of so many characters you see in YA fiction – bored, angsty kids who come from dysfunctional families, broken homes, and/or who are simply mad at the world, sometimes for no discernible reason.”

— on TEACH ME (YA)

 

"It's a true story of adventure, determination, courage and perseverance. 1907 was an amazing age. It was a period when an obsession with flying swept the nation. For the first time in history, people were flying and even building flying machines in their own backyards."

—on CROMWELL DIXON’S SKY-CYCLE (PB)

Show Don't Tell“Well, wrangling story (fiction or non) into a communicable and interesting form is certainly one of the mysteries of human life, but the tools for accomplishing that are neither magic nor miracle, and once internalized, they liberate the writer to speak in his own voice.”

— on SHOW; DON’T TELL! SECRETS OF WRITING (PB)

 

Jack of all tails"It's a picture book about a human family who makes a living renting themselves out as pets, pretending to be dogs, cats, lizards, pigs...you name it!"

--on JACK OF ALL TAILS (PB)

The Restless Dead“…for me what makes these books worth doing is the same thing that makes them a little unnerving to do: when you solicit an original story, you just don't know what you're going to get. And you can't predict the overall chemistry. Call me a thrill seeker, but I've also been fortunate.”

--on THE RESTLESS DEAD (YA)

 

The Ghosts of Kerfol“I love stories where a house or a locale or an object are a main character in the story, so I started there.”

--on THE GHOSTS OF KERFOL (YA)

 

 

One Kingdom"This is a 120-something-page book that began as a picture-book proposal, which says how drastically it's evolved. My editor drove the project from the beginning. She was enthusiastic about the photos and, as I fed her sections of text encouraged me to dig deeper and let it grow."

—on ONE KINGDOM (NF)

 

Joe Fly“For me, this was the biggest project I’ve ever been involved in by a long shot. The most I had ever done before this was some four-page comics and a thesis in school that involved about twenty pieces.”

 

—on CREEPY CRAWLY CRIME
(JOEY FLY, PRIVATE EYE)(CB)(GN)

Myrtle

“I had always heard that in researching where to send a manuscript, you should look for a publisher who is publishing books like yours, and furthermore, for your manuscript even to be considered, it must be completely unique. Very paradoxical.”

— on MYRTLE OF WILLENDORF (YA)

 

“I had always heard that in researching where to send a manuscript, you should look for a publisher who is publishing books like yours, and furthermore, for your manuscript even to be considered, it must be completely unique. Very paradoxical.”

— on CAREER BUILDING

“Kid survivors are everywhere. They’re in every neighborhood and school, they’re rich and poor, and too many of them have to keep their secrets to themselves.”

— on Writing for Resiliency: Young Readers as Survivors

Shlemiel Crooks cover"I was lucky to have a born and bred Southerner as my editor. He could feel the rhythm of the story, even though the Yiddish-inflected English of Shlemiel Crooks wasn't something he was familiar with."

—on SHLEMIEL CROOKS (PB)

 

So Punk Rockdavid ostow:

“I didn't have a story in mind when I asked her if she wanted to collaborate, but once we hit on our high school experience, it felt like a gold mine. You are so many different people in your lifetime, and from the vantage point of 30-year-old me, the 15-year-old me is kind of a riot.”

micol ostow:

“The ‘Judaism’ in the story--such as it exits--is mostly incidental, which was very much how I was experiencing my own religion at the time. As someone raised conservative, in a fairly observant household, being Jewish was something very ingrained and passive, whereas any other cultural experience had to be actively sought out.”

—on SO PUNK ROCK
(AND OTHER WAYS TO DISAPPOINT YOUR MOTHER)
(YA)

micol ostow:

Micol Ostow“As for my expectations of myself, I'm always putting pressure on myself, feeling like I haven't done "enough" on a given day. The perils of being my own boss (and probably one of the reasons I'm a pretty good employee.)”

—on Balancing Promotion within the Writer’s Life (YA)