Friday, August 20, 2010

Favorite Author Friday: Jacqueline Kelly

I fell in love with 2010 Newbery Honor winning book, The Evolution of Calpurnia Tate, when I read it.  Callie Vee is the kind of character that makes you think authors understand kids.  In many ways I am a little like Callie and in other ways I want to be like her.  The book is so good that I tried hard to NOT read the last chapter so that it didn't have to end.  I got to meet Jacqueline Kelly at ALA, and in one of the more amazing moments of my life I found myself sitting in between her and Rebecca Stead at lunch talking all about books and writing; I will never forget it.  I wish we all could have lunch with Jacqueline often but as the next best thing you can grab a snack and read her answers that she shared! 

What advice do you have for kids who want to be writers?

Anyone who is interested in becoming a writer has to be a voracious reader. Turn off the television. Turn off the computer. Read everything you can get your hands on. Reading widely trains the inner "ear" of the writer so that she can hear the difference between a really good sentence that sings like poetry, versus a really bad sentence that falls with a loud clunk upon the page.
Were you like Calpurnia when you were young?

I must have been, because she is very much based on my own personality. I would say she is about 70% me, about 20% my mother, and about 10% friends of mine.

(My own mother is very funny, and not at all like Mother in the book, thank goodness.)
What is you current favorite book (can be a kid or adult book) and what was your favorite as a kid?
I read so many books that it's hard for me to name a favorite at the moment. But it's easy for me to name my favorite book when I was growing up: The Wind in the Willows, by Kenneth Grahame. I loved it then and I love it now. It's one of a small handful of books that I re-read over the years. The book was published a century ago and is now one of the great childhood classics.

When and where do you write?

I try and write in the mornings between about nine and noon, but that doesn't always work out for me in light of my other work. I have a bright, sunny guest room upstairs that looks out onto the street and into the branches of a big old oak tree. I can sit at my desk and watch the squirrels chase each other when I need a little diversion. I also have a sound system that is usually tuned to the local classical music station. I find that chamber music is especially helpful for stirring up the creative part of the mind.
What are you working on now or having coming out soon we can look forward to?

I am just finishing up The Willows Redux, which is my sequel to The Wind in the Willows.

I expect the publication date to be some time in 2012, when they release a movie of the original book.

Have you ever gotten rejection letters?

Oh, yes. There isn't a writer alive who hasn't. And if they deny it, they're lying to you.

Do you feel like a famous author?

I don't especially feel like a famous author except when I go into a bookstore and sometimes the people there know who I am.

How many bookcases do you have?

Gosh, at the moment I have six. I would like to have more, but storage in my house is limited and I have to periodically get rid of old books in order to make room for new ones (this just about kills me).

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