Jacqueline Woodson, one of today’s finest writers, tells the moving…
3 Little Known or Interesting Things About You
- I love haiku and am in my 11th month of writing one haiku each day for a year.
- I know how to milk goats and make goat cheese.
- I have done the wall-sit for 47 minutes and 22 seconds (thank you presidential fitness exams!)
Hogwarts House and/or Camp Halfblood Cabin (If you have not been sorted or if you have not taken a quiz, I have linked them for you.)
Ravenclaw and Poseidon
If you or one of your books was the answer on jeopardy, what do you imagine/wish the question would be?
This author made her childhood dreams come true, justifying all that time spent practicing acceptance speeches in the bathroom mirror, when she won the Newbery Award. Also, she does a pretty mean tongue-fold.
What would you say is your interesting writing quirk?
I like to act out my scenes as I’m writing them. It’s not uncommon to see me leaping around the room trying out different gestures or working myself into tears so I can describe the emotion accurately. I call it “method writing.”
What is the first book that made you cry?
When I was three: the picture book Miss Suzy by Miriam Young because those red squirrels were so mean. When I was eight: The Good Master by Kate Seredy because the bond of love built up over the course of that book was too much for my little heart to hold.
Does writing energize or exhaust you?
About Your Books
Tell us about your book(s)-length of time it took to write, journey, publishing, release dates, etc.
My debut middle grade novel A Many Feathered Thing will release from Capstone on March 1st! It’s super exciting for me because I began writing it 10 long years ago when I was moving across the ocean to the Netherlands with my husband and toddler. I continued to write through our move back to the U.S. and the birth of our second child. In two years, I finished. Another year for revision. Another year and 41 rejections later, I found my agent. Yay! The crowd goes wild! But the book was slow to sell. I kept writing. A different book. A new idea. Then, 7 years after I first started writing it, my book sold. But they weren’t going to publish for another 2 years! I had to update the book to a modern setting. Originally, it was set in the 80’s. Yeah, I thought that was cool too. But now, finally, finally, finally my book is about to come out and I am so thrilled I can hardly believe it!
Favorite line or quote from one of your books.
Behind the two of them, the sun was setting, rays slanting through the trees and shining like stars. I squinted, and the light feathered out like wings. Wings behind Orion. Wings behind Elise. Wings in the sky all around.
Describe the character that is most like you.
Definitely Clarity, my main character. I was also a shy kid, a girl who loved to draw. But Clarity has many more challenges than I ever had as a kid. Her speech difficulties make everything hard for her. Good thing she has close friends to help her through.
Do you have any suggestions to help me become a better writer? If so, what are they?
Read voraciously and write prolifically. Don’t be afraid to write something bad. Write lots of bad stuff. Keep working until you think it’s good. And don’t wait for inspiration. Get to work and it’ll come.
Leave us with some wise words. What advice would you give the readers of this interview?
Make time to sit and do nothing. Make time to think. Make time to watch the world around you. Make time to play. These moments are where the heart and life of stories come from–the quiet moments where we try to make sense of things.