May I mention two? One is All the Lassies by Liesel Moak Skorpen. When I taught writing, it seemed like every beginning writer had an 'I want a pet' story. One of my first published pieces was also an 'I want a pet' story. To me, All the Lassies is the quintessential story with that plot. If you can come up with a better one, then write it!
Wednesday, October 26, 2011
Interview With Dian Curtis Regan
For my first interview, I have had the distinct honor and pleasure of interviewing author, Dian Curtis Regan.
Dian is a long-time member of the Society of Children's Book Writers and Illustrators, and is a former "Member of the Year."
She has been inducted into the Oklahoma Professional Writers' Hall of Fame and has received a "Distinguished Medal of Service in Children's Literature" from the Oklahoma Center for Poets and Writers.
In 2001, the library at Escuela de las Americas in La Lecheria, Venezuela, was dedicated to her and became the "Dian Curtis Regan Library." Her manuscripts are being archived in the Education Library at the University of Colorado in Boulder.
Dian is from Colorado Springs and lived in Colorado for many years. After graduating from the University of Colorado in Boulder, she taught school in Denver before becoming a full-time author and speaker.
Besides Colorado, Dian has lived in Texas, Oklahoma, and Venezuela. Presently, she lives in Kansas and will be moving back to Colorado in 2012.
Please visit Dian's website at www.diancurtisregan.com
1. Why do you write? What motivates you to write for children?
I think a true writer can't NOT write (to use a double negative—bad, bad….) It's in the blood. Even when I'm telling myself I'm taking time off, I still daydream story ideas. The urge to create is a strong one.
2. How do you feel about ebooks for young children? Do you feel that they are changing the way that children are learning to read?
They ARE changing the way children learn to read, but to me, it's all good. E-rights are automatically part of every book contract now. And I am very eager to usher back into e-print all of my out of print books. I still get emails and requests about/for them, so I am on board. The part I don't like is the unfair author/illustrator e-royalty rates right now.
3. Do you tend to follow a specific process when you are writing a story? What stage of your writing process do you most enjoy?
I have a ritual when starting a new project. I suspect most writers do. For me, once the bug has bitten hard enough, I buy a new binder to keep the research notes, ideas, and a hard copy of a manuscript all in one place.
Author, Jacqueline Briggs Martin, recently blogged about beginning-a-new-book rituals. Scan down for my input—and a photo of the colorful binders of projects-in-progress.
The stage of the process I enjoy most is the completion of a rough draft. That is when you have clay to mold into form. That is when you figure out what your story is really about. A stage when all things are possible.
4. Do you have any advice for up and coming writers?
2. It's HARD. Hard to find time to write, hard to figure out a complex plot without taking the easy and expected route, hard to deal with rejection, hard to find a publisher.
If you know that going in, but refuse to fear the difficulty; refuse to allow yourself to give up or be discouraged by delays, and keep listening to honest criticism and learning from your attempts, you WILL have success eventually.
Case in point: an unpublished writer in my local critique group had been writing for ten years, and working on a novel (that we had been reading and critiquing) for six years. She was turned down by agents, but persisted and finally got one. She was turned down by publishers but persisted and finally got one.
Finally, last fall, her first novel was published. We had a launch party to celebrate her long-awaited success. And then? Three months later, that novel won the Newbery Award.
If she'd been in a hurry to dash off a novel and try to get it published, her work would not have grown into the complex and compelling story it became.
5. What is your favorite picture book of all time? Why?
The second favorite picture book is Carmina, Come Dance by Mary Whittington. It's a wonderful fantasy story with such lyrical language, it invites you to read it over and over again.
Dian Curtis Regan is the author of more than 50 books for young readers, ranging from picture books to young adult novels. Titles include Princess Nevermore, The World According to Kaley, and Barnyard Slam. New books this fall include The Snow Blew Inn, a picture book from Holiday House, and Rocky Cave Kids: The Dragon Stone, a chapter book from Marshall Cavendish.