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.
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.
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 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.”
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?
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.