In Their Own Words:

Interviews with Children's and YA
Authors & Illustrators

Rabb - Ryan

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

CURES FOR HEARTBREAK“I think of the book as being about how people try to find a way out of grief and heartbreak, and though that sounds a bit depressing, I don't think of it as a depressing book.”

—on CURES FOR HEARTBREAK (YA)


Time Spies
“When I was a kid, I adored books featuring ‘everyday’ magic, the type of magic that seemed within reach. It wasn't likely I would find myself in Middle Earth, but it maybe I could find a magic ring. Time Spies is a Valentine to the books of Edward Eager, Jane Langton, and E. Nesbit.”

—on the TIME SPIES series (CB)

See also Candice on Career Building.

Vampire High
“Vlad Dracul is really just my old high school transmuted into a series of palaces. It really did have a student center and dormitories, and was a K-12 operation.”

—on VAMPIRE HIGH (YA)

 

“I don’t remember the exact comment, but it was historically anachronistic. Or maybe it was hysterical fiction.”

— on THE WORLD ACCORDING TO KALEY (MG)

Cam's Quest
"In the dozen years since PRINCESS NEVERMORE was published, I've received piles of letters and emails from readers asking for a sequel (and a movie, but that's a whole other interview...). I admit that I left the reader hanging at the end of Princess Nevermore. I'd always intended to continue the story, but I never meant to wait so long."

—on PRINCESS NEVERMORE
and CAM'S QUEST
(YA)

 

Harmless
“The truth is that three girls who are the same age, who are growing up in the same town, who go to the same school, and who spend all their time together are going to sound alike, and there's nothing I can do about that.”

— on HARMLESS (YA)


Joe Fly“Well, it wasn’t accepted by Henry Holt as-is. It was originally a short novel. But the editor saw it as a graphic novel, and I liked that idea since I had worked on graphic novels before on my series Tiger Moth, Insect Ninja (Capstone) (lots of bugs in my book, I’m realizing). So, I had to re-write the whole book as a graphic novel.”

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


Stonewall Hinkleman“For some reason, my writing projects have tended to be more Serious (capital S) and Adult (capital A). They were also quite Unsuccessful and, quite frankly, Unenjoyable. but then Sam and I got to talking, Stonewall came into being, and I loved every minute of the writing.”

—on STONEWALL HINKLEMAN AND THE BATTLE OF BULL RUN (MG)

Ï

the Lightning Thief
"While I was writing the book, I imagined my students as my audience. It helped me get the pace and the tone right. I knew middle school kids well. I knew what they found exciting and funny, and what they found boring."

—on THE LIGHTNING THIEF (MG)

 

Come to my Party cover

"I was pregnant with a book! I couldn't wait to cradle it in my hands and show its jaunty little jacket cover to the world. Little did I know that my editor would produce two healthy human babies before my book would land on library shelves."

— on COME TO MY PARTY (PB)

 

“Don’t be distracted by the siren call of markets and ‘what’s hot’ and how you could make a lot of money writing something you really might not want to write.”

— on CAREER BUILDING

 

Thaw
“When I created Dane (my main character), I wanted to form a character who was initially not at all user-friendly. I believe that an early reader referred to him as an "anti-hero," which is about right. He's one of those individuals who is smart and skilled at almost anything he tries, but he's lacking a certain humanity, especially in terms of empathy for other people (or for himself, for that matter). Yet he's very dynamic and draws people to him, even though he doesn't really treat them very well.”

—on THAW (YA)

Flag with 56 stars
"When I saw the actual flag at the Museum of Tolerance, I was deeply moved. To think that former prisoners at Mauthausen, one of the worse of the concentration camps, had the spirit and drive to create this gift for their liberators despite their weakened and miserable condition. This was a testament to the dignity and humanity of people."

—on THE FLAG WITH FIFTY-SIX STARS (PB)

Lily's Ghosts"I just wanted to work on something completely different, something fun and quite possibly mysterious and magical."

— on LILY'S GHOSTS (MG)

See also: Laura Ruby on Challenges to LILY'S GHOSTS

 

"I wondered what would happen if a compromising photo of a nice, normal teenaged girl was sent via email accounts and camera phones. How would everyone react? And what would a 'good' girl do?"

—on GOOD GIRLS (YA)

Lupita's Papalote
“The characters in my story were named after my real brothers and sisters. My sisters cried when they heard the inspiration for the story because they remembered.”

— on LUPITA’S PAPALOTE (PB)

See also Lupe on Career Building.

Carrie Ryan titles“It was around Halloween when my fiancé was talking about a short story idea set in a zombie world with a forest and a village. In his mind, it was right after the apocalypse and the village was at the edge of the forest. But in mine, it was generations later and the village was utterly cut off. Off and on, we talked about this world, but I really hadn’t planned on writing in it.”

—on THE FOREST OF HANDS AND TEETH
and THE DEAD-TOSSED WAVES (YA)

Rules for Hearts
"After I wrote EMPRESS OF THE WORLD, I knew that Battle Hall Davies—who's the love interest in Empress—needed her own voice. In Empress, we only see her through her girlfriend Nicola Lancaster's eyes—beautiful, compelling, ultimately inexplicable. But of course, that's not how Battle sees herself."

—on THE RULES FOR HEARTS (YA)