5, 4, 3, 2, 1 Interview: Linda Urban

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Yesterday evening I was sitting, rereading Flora & Ulysses, in the Detroit airport waiting to get on a plane to fly to the Texas LIbrary Association Annual Conference, when all of a sudden Linda Urban appeared.

Crazy, right?

We are presenting together today at the conference, but I never in a million years expected to run into the Vermont author in a Detroit airport. Linda had a crazy travel day, which caused her flights to get moved around. Lucky me! Unlucky Linda.

Linda and I had a lovely chat before we boarded (She is actually sitting in the row behind me on the plane right now as I type this post.) Once we got on the plane I noticed that Linda was sitting in a row of two with a little boy. I’m guessing the boy was around 4 years old. I wish that everyone could have heard Linda talk to the boy. Even after a long day of travel she treated that boy like he was the most important child in the universe. Linda visited my school last month and she treated each one of her fans like gold. Seeing her treat a stranger, that had no idea who she was, like her biggest fan just goes to show that Linda Urban is gift to readers. We are lucky to have her books in our classrooms. Her readers that get a chance to meet her will never forget it.

I’ve been holding on to this interview with Linda for a while now. Partly because I liked having her words to myself, and partly because fate wanted me to wait until I rode on a plane with Linda before I published the interview.

Happy reading!

5,4,3,2,1 Interview

Here are the rules:

1. I give the interviewee 5 questions

2. They have to answer

  • 1 question with 5 sentences

  • 1 question with 4 sentences

  • 1 question with 3 sentences

  • 1 question with 2 sentences

  • 1 question with 1 sentence

3.  They get to pick which question which question to answer with each number of sentences

4. Have fun!

Interview

1. Can you tell us a little bit about The Center of Everything?

I could tell you the plot — about how Ruby Pepperdine wishes that she had listened to her beloved grandmother’s dying words and how she makes a wish that she hopes will set things right — but I’d rather spend my next three sentences saying this:  It is about that moment when our fundamental beliefs are shaken and what we do as a result.  It is about being a friend, a daughter, a student, a member of a community.  And as Ruby says, it is about the possibility that there is no “supposed to” and that all we can do is our best at any particular moment “and that’s as supposed to as it gets.”

center

2. What is your favorite thing about being a writer?  

Making a real connection with readers who find bits of themselves in your stories.

3. What’s the hardest thing about being a writer?  

Overcoming the fear that you simply aren’t good enough to say what you most want to. (I always do fall short of my ideal, but the problem is the fear, not the failure.)

4. If you could spend one day inside the world of any book which book would you pick?  

Andrew Henry’s Meadow.  I would love to see what sort of house Andrew Henry would build for me.  And who doesn’t dream of a special place all her own?

henry's meadow

5. What advice do you have for the young writers in my classroom?  

Keep a notebook.  Let it be messy.  Let it be silly.  Let it be a place for your dreams and worries and plans and experiments.  Fill it with YOU.

5, 4, 3, 2, 1 Interview: Nikki Loftin

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Buzzzzzz….Do you hear that? The buzzing you are hearing is probably the same buzzing that I have been hearing for months about Nikki Loftin’s Nightingale’s Nest. Today, I have the honor of interviewing here on sharpread.

5,4,3,2,1 Interview - Here are the rules:

1. I give the interviewee 5 questions

2. They have to answer

  • 1 question with 5 sentences

  • 1 question with 4 sentences

  • 1 question with 3 sentences

  • 1 question with 2 sentences

  • 1 question with 1 sentence

3.  They get to pick which question which question to answer with each number of sentences

4. Have fun!

Interview

1.     Can you tell us a little bit about Nightingale’s Nest? (5)

 Nightingale’s Nest is the book of my heart, one I never thought would land on bookshelves, but I had to write anyway. It started out as a picture book about a little girl who climbed a tree and built a nest, and the boy who climbed up to help her. When I realized there was more to the story, and wrapped one of my favorite fairy tales (Andersen’s “The Nightingale”) around the spare text, the story began to sing. It’s a mixture of real Texas rural life, fairy tale, healing, magical realism, and memory. I feel a great sense of gratitude that I will be able to share the world of Little John and Gayle with others.

Loftin - Nightingale's Nest

 2. What is your favorite thing about being a writer?  (1)

I get to read my messy drafts to my sons, and they love them no matter what!

 3. What’s the hardest thing about being a writer? (2)

The hardest thing for me is knowing when a story is ready to tell. Great storytelling is gourmet cooking: try to tell one too early and it falls like a checked-on soufflé, too late and the oven’s not hot anymore.

NightingalesNest graphic

 4. If you could spend one day inside the world of any book which book would you pick? (3)

Because I love music, magic, and adventure, even better when they’re all integral to the plot, I would choose Elizabeth Haydon’s Rhapsody. I was obsessed with this series for a while, and re-read them an embarrassing number of times! But really – dragons, magic, time travel, music, true love, transformation – what’s not to love?

rap 2

 5. What advice do you have for the young writers in my classroom?  (4)

Stare out the window as often as you can for as long as you want. Memorize rainbows and lines of poetry. The dreaming mind is irresistible to stories that want to be told; lure them to you by holding still, being quiet, listening to their whisper-soft voices. Once you have caught one, don’t let go! 

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Be sure to pick up Nightingale’s Nest at your local independent bookshop.

Nikki Loftin is a writer and native Texan who lives just outside Austin, Texas, with her two boys, two dogs, nine chickens, and one very patient husband. She writes Middle Grade novel-length fiction as well as personal essays, puppet plays, articles, poems, and short stories. She is the author of The Sinister Sweetness of Splendid Academy and Nightingale’s Nest. Nikki is a graduate of the University of Texas at Austin graduate writing program (MA, ’98). She has been a popcorn seller, waitress, bookstore employee, Music and Gifted/Talented teacher, and a Director of Family Ministries. Her favorite food/obsession is ice cream, preferably Blue Bell Moo-llenium Crunch. On very good days, she prefers writing even to ice cream.

Website: http://nikkiloftin.com/

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/nikki.loftin.3

Twitter: https://twitter.com/nikkiloftin

Goodreads: http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/5157472.Nikki_Loftin

 

 

Tad Hills Trifecta!

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I’m super excited to celebrate Tad Hills today with my friends John Schu and Margie Myers-Culver. Be sure to check out their blogs and soak in the awesomeness.

My third of the trifecta is an interview with the man himself: Tad Hills.

5,4,3,2,1 Interview

Here are the rules:

1. I give the interviewee 5 questions

2. They have to answer

  • 1 question with 5 sentences

  • 1 question with 4 sentences

  • 1 question with 3 sentences

  • 1 question with 2 sentences

  • 1 question with 1 sentence

3.  They get to pick which question which question to answer with each number of sentences

4. Have fun!

Interview

1. Can you tell us a little bit about your characters Duck and Goose?

Duck and Goose are two feathered friends who have lots of fun together. Sometimes they disagree and argue but, in the end, they know that they can always count on each other.

DuckGooseGoToTheBeach

2. What is your favorite thing about being a writer?  

Most if all, I love creating characters. When I’m writing a story I spend a lot of time with them and I get to know them very well- they become my friends, part of my family.  I hear their voices in my head telling me what they want to do and say and I just write it all down. Sometimes the things I hear them say make me laugh out loud.

3. What’s the hardest thing about being a writer?

There are many difficult things about being a writer but I think the hardest part is just getting started. It can be very frustrating trying to think of something to write about. The harder I try, the less likely it is that I’ll find inspiration. Then, when I’m not trying to think of a story, an idea will suddenly pop into my head, seemingly out of nowhere. Just like when Rocket sniffs the gentle breeze and smells feathers and pine needles, sometimes the smallest thing can light the spark of inspiration.

 4. If you could spend one day inside the world of any book which book would you pick?

 I would love to spend a day in Maine wandering around the rocky coastline and fields picking blueberries just like Sal does.

blueberries-for-sal

5. What advice do you have for the young writers in my classroom?  

I think it is very important for writers to understand, as Rocket discovers in Rocket Writes a Story, that stories take time and are constantly changing. This could mean rewriting your story again and again so that it is as good as it can be. It could mean not only adding words, sentences and details to your story but also taking out words, sentences and details if they are not helping to make the story better.

rocket

 

It’s Monday! What Are You Reading? 3/24/2014

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IMWAYR

 

 

books i loved last week

 

Emily’s Blue Period

By: Cathleen Daly

Illustrated By: Lisa Brown

I love this hybrid: chapter book/picture book. It does a great job showing a child dealing with the separation of her parents.

emilysblueperiod

 

Once Upon a Slime

By: Andy Griffiths

Illustrated By: Terry Denton

I love books that are written for kids, that give kids tips about writing.

onceupon

 

Lizards

By: Nic Bishop

Wow! I learned a ton about lizards. Nic Bishop is a master at writing great nonfiction books for children.

0-545-20634-0

 

this week I'm reading

 

Princess Lablemaker To The Rescue

By: Tom Angleberger

The Origami Yoda series is one of my all-time favorite series. Huzzah, huzzah!

labelmaker