5,4,3,2,1 Interview: Erica Perl

I started getting active on Twitter towards the end of the 2010-2011 school year. The first book that I remember reading because of Twitter was Erica Perl’s When Life Gives You OJ. Reading Aces Wild two years later brought back so many great memories of becoming a part of this amazing online Nerdy community. I’m honored today to be able to interview the author of OJ, Erica Perl.

Today’s interview will be of the 5,4,3,2,1 variety.

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!




1. Can you tell us a little bit about Aces Wild? (5)


Zelly Fried has finally convinced her parents to let her get a dog, with the help of her grandfather, Ace.  Unfortunately, despite Zelly’s best efforts, her puppy, also named Ace, is completely uncontrollable (his flunking puppy kindergarten report card says it all: “This Ace is wild!”).  Meanwhile, the other Ace in Zelly’s life is acting wild, too — Grandpa Ace has started dating again and is dining and dancing every night, against his doctor’s orders.  Zelly needs to get them both under control, fast — but how?  It’s not like either Ace ever does what he’s told!



2. What is your favorite thing about being a writer? (4) 


My favorite thing about being a writer is sharing my work with kids and collaborating with them on their creative projects.  My second favorite thing about being a writer is discovering or hearing that my books are being read in places I’ve never been and are being championed by people I don’t personally know.  In his Caldecott Medal acceptance speech this year, Jon Klassen described feeling this way and I could totally relate – it is thrilling to discover that your books are out there having lives of their own and making new friends on their own and it makes me feel very happy and grateful.  Go, little books, go!


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


For me, the hardest thing about being a writer is finding time to write.  I have a full time job that I love (at www.firstbook.org) but it means I have to find writing time around my work schedule.  The second hardest thing is when I’ve written something and I know it needs something more, but I’m not sure what it is… experience tells me that if I give it time, the answer will come to me, but I can’t stand waiting!


Click on the image to check out First Book.


4. If you could spend one day inside the world of any book which book would you pick? (1)


Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, definitely, though my favorite Roald Dahl book is Danny the Champion of the World (and my favorite Roald Dahl novella is The Wonderful Story of Henry Sugar)… can you tell I love Roald Dahl (and parentheses… and ellipses?).



5. What advice do you have for the young writers in my classroom? (2)


My best piece of advice is to write ideas/stories/poems/fragments down immediately and let them flow out, however messily, without correcting the spelling or grammar or stopping to think about whether they make sense or are any good.  My second best piece of advice is to come back later, with a kind-yet-critical eye of your own or someone you trust to figure what is working and what isn’t and explore ways to move your piece forward – because writing often focuses on the finished product but the journey is actually the most important part.

Isn’t Ms. Perl the best? I hope you get a chance to check out her amazing middle grade novel, Aces Wild.



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