Learn about Julia Durango.
What first inspired you to write across forms in children’s-YA literature?
When I first started writing for children, I wanted to write a historical fiction novel; but with two little boys underfoot, my progress on the novel was very slow.
At the same time, I was reading and enjoying dozens of picture books with my sons. Soon I found myself with several picture book ideas of my own, which gave me a fun break from the more serious subject of the novel.
What have you learned from writing in a variety of formats?
In the thirteen years I’ve been writing for children, I’ve now dabbled in several genres and formats: poetry, picture books, historical fiction, humor, fantasy, and non-fiction.
What I’ve learned is that while each has its own particular requirements in terms of structure and technique, first and foremost they all require a compelling story. A great story trumps all.
What do you think about the pressure on authors to brand themselves by writing a certain kind of book?
I think it’s very unfortunate, unless the author truly wants to write just one kind of book.
For me, it would take away what I most love about writing: the ability to express myself in many different ways. Just as my reading choices are eclectic, so are my writing habits. Some days I want to be silly, other days I want to slow down and be more reflective.
What I write is who I am. And I am not a brand.
The Writing Across Formats interviews were originally conducted in support of a keynote address by Cynthia Leitich Smith at a fall 2009 SCBWI-Illinois conference.
Check out Julia’s blog, Three Silly Chicks: Readers, Writers, and Reviewers of Funny Books for Kids. Co-bloggers are Carolyn Crimi and Andrea Beaty. Don’t miss the Three Silly Chicks Store!