The Kidlit Interview Series
Unsurprisingly, Jen says she has never visited a library in which she didn't want to spend the night. Her non-fiction pieces have appeared in publications such as New York Magazine, The Washington Post, and Women's Day. She lives in Charlottesville, Virginia with her husband and three children and feels very lucky they have not yet fired her.
Eva Ibbotson without a DOUBT. She often wrote about ghosts, vampires, witches, sea monsters and the like with great sympathy. I can picture her swatting a pursuing zombie on his nose with her handbag, and insisting in a very understanding yet stern way that we really couldn’t have that kind of shambling “I want to eat your flesh” nonsense if we were all to get along. And if that didn’t work and we had to die, we’d do it laughing.
2) Look, I got a time machine on eBay! Where do you want to go? (Said time machine may possibly malfunction and leave you there. Possibly. It was *very* cheap.)
Today? 10th century Timbuktu, when it wasn’t so lost, and in fact a great crossroads, stuffed full of scholars and traders.
3) What’s your favorite thing about writing for kids?
As a kid, I loved DWELLING inside of a book, living FIERCELY inside the author’s created world and embroidering it with my own extra details. Also, kids are still forming their ideas of the possible. Wonder is strictly not prohibited. That said, I most definitely set out to write The Ninja Librarians for adults as well as kids to enjoy. As a kid, those were the kind of books I loved most, the ones which seemed to be speaking on two levels at once.
4) A witch has cast a spell on you (sorry about that) and you’ve woken up as a character in a children’s book – what’s your special talent or power?
To be able to discern the true emotion out of which the words uttered by others spring. Also, to be able to hang swings from low-lying clouds.
5) What’s the scariest or strangest thing you’ve ever done?
So many to choose from… but… here’s a scary one. As much for the rest of the world, as for me: I decided it made perfect sense to learn how to drive a stick shift car by simply getting into one and proceeding to drive it from Brooklyn to New Paltz, New York.
6) What’s something you wish you’d known about writing when you started out? What’s something you wish you’d known about publishing?
I wish I’d understood better the power of index cards and plotting ahead of time. As for publishing, thanks to the folks who’ve been willing to share their experiences on their blogs and websites, and tombstones, I have to say… I haven’t yet been surprised!
7) What would your daemon be?
I would WANT it to be an otter, but it might be a moose.
8) My book doesn’t have dragons, but it does have... Gayetty’s Medicated Papers, aurochs, an imaginary dog, a mongoose, the smell of ancient Paris, rope-climbing librarians, and Hypata – wicked smart mathematician, logician and croquet player extraordinaire.
Katherine Rundell, author of Rooftoppers!