From Avi: As I did last summer, I’ve invited 13 admired middle grade authors to write for my blog for the next three months. I hope you’ll tune in each Tuesday to see who has answered these three questions. You should have a list of terrific books to read and share and read aloud by the end of the summer … along with new authors to follow!
Your favorite book on writing:
I have lots of faves. My newest favorite is: A Swim in a Pond in the Rain by George Saunders. Though, right now the writing book I have in front of me is: The Writer’s Journey: Mythic Structure for Writers by Christopher Vogler. I tend to use writing books to inspire me to think differently about a problem. I don’t follow them like recipe books.
I adore audio books. Right now, I’m listening to The Covenant of Water by Abraham Verghese. I got it because his previous novel, Cutting for Stone, is so incredibly unbelievably good. (Even my husband loved it and we almost never enjoy the same books.) I listen to audio books while I’m walking my dog, and since I have a big dog and no yard, I spend a lot of time listening.
Also, I‘ve found the best way to find little bumps, awkward phrases, and irksome repetitive words in my works-in-progress is to read my work out loud. So, I read each novel I write out loud multiple times during the writing of it. All this to say: the sound of a book is very important to me. All of my novels are written to be read-alouds, though I am especially excited about Dogtown which I wrote with Katherine Applegate. We read that one out loud over and over again. We wanted the words to roll off your tongue when you read them. It will be out September 19. If you read Dogtown out loud, please do tell me what you think.
Where do you write most often?
I have an office but since the Pandemic, I’ve been writing mostly in the living room with the dog. Though sometimes … strange as this may sound … I write in my car. That is where I am right now as a matter of fact.
My hands down favorite place to write? The airport. Writing in the airport is like a big spoon that stirs up my brain.
In a starred review, Publishers Weekly said about One-Third Nerd, “It is Liam’s quiet thoughtfulness and relationship with his sisters, especially his interest in their lives—Izzy’s Down syndrome social group “the Forty-Sevens” and Dakota’s impulsive experiments—that let him shine just as bright as his two extroverted sisters.”