5,4,3,2,1 Interview: Deborah Hopkinson

Holy smokes! Three interviews in three days. Talk about a great week.

I saw Deborah Hopkinson speak at NCTE ’11, and I was extremely impressed (just like I am with her books). I’m really hoping that I get a chance to chat with her at NCTE ’13. She is way smart, and I’m all about learning from way smart people.

Enough about me. On with the 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!



  1. Can you tell us a little bit about THE GREAT TROUBLE? (5)

The Great Trouble is a mystery and an adventure all at the same time.  Back in London, in 1854, a boy named Eel is trying to survive after his real parents have died.  He does several jobs, including taking care of animals that belong to a famous London scientist and physician named Dr. John Snow. When cholera breaks out in Eel’s neighborhood, he has a chance to try to save lives by helping Dr. Snow find out what’s causing the disease.  But even while he’s doing that, his own life is in danger from his evil stepfather, Fisheye Bill Tyler.

  1. What is your favorite thing about being a writer? (3)

My favorite thing about being a writer is being able to learn new things all the time.  Sometimes that learning takes place when I am researching a new book or an idea for a story, other times I learn from visiting schools and talking to students.  It’s also very special when I get to travel to do research in person at a museum or simply to visit the places where the events in my books actually took place.

  1. What’s the hardest thing about being a writer?  (1)

The hardest thing for me is finding time to write, especially since I have another job raising money for a college to help get scholarships for students.

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

I would probably choose the world of The Great Trouble, even though living in Victorian London could be very hard, as we see from Eel’s story.  The mid-nineteenth century was a period of many changes, as people began to pay attention to the need for social reform and improving life for the poor and for children.  Doctors like John Snow were making new discoveries and scientists like Charles Darwin began to change the way we think about the world.  London is my favorite city, and when I went there to research The Great Trouble I could almost imagine the clip clop of horse hooves on the streets and the bustle of daily life.

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

The best athletes in the world never stop practicing or trying to get better.  Writing is the same way—so never stop reading and writing!



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