1. What are some of your favorite books and authors?
How much time to do you have?
All right, I won’t get carried away. Here are some of my recent favorites:
The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins
The Enola Holmes series by Nancy Springer
The Gilda Joyce Psychic Detective series, by Jennifer Allison
Anything written by Anne Mazer
And . . . ahhh, the Harry Potter series
2. Do you have any tips for a writer just starting out?
I know it’s difficult, but the more you can keep your mind off publishing your work, the better your work will be. Sink into your story. Live in it. Your job is to create new universes. That’s a tall order, and you need every bit of your brain to manage it. Don’t squander your brilliant energy on worrying if your work is “marketable.”
3. You released a book a while back called Slob, about a young, inventive young boy who gets bullied but uses his mind to fight back. Did you know when writing it that it would have such an impact on schools curriculum and on kids who have been bullied in general?
I had no idea! Zero. Of course I knew that bullying is a long-standing problem in schools, but what shocked me is how hands-on teachers and principals are about the issue now. It used to be that kids were on their own when dealing with bullies. You pretty much sucked it up and suffered silently. So I wrote SLOB with those kids in mind, but I was overwhelmed by the way teachers rallied around the issue and adopted the book into their classrooms.
4. You’ve said in interviews that Owen’s sister, Jeremy, was based a little bit on you growing up and Owen was based on a boy you knew. Does that mean you didn’t get bullied as a child, or did you have your picked-on moments as a kid?
Like Jeremy, I joined a GWAB club (Girls Who Are Boys) and cut my hair short. Although I did it to look like a boy, I was sort of horrified when I ACTUALLY looked like a boy. People made fun of me for that. So I grew my hair long again and it was so wild-looking that people called me Cave Girl. Plus my hair was red so I was also referred to as Ellen-Ellen Watermelon Head. Or maybe it was just because my head was large.
5. The reason I’m asking about Slob is because here at Confuzzled Books, it is the most searched-for Book on the blog. For teachers and readers, are there any plans to make up a lesson plan for Slob? Will there be any spark notes for it?
It’s a possibility. I’ve been asked this question many times before, so I know there’s a need for it.
6. What is your most recent release? Do you have anything in the works?
My latest book The Kneebone Boy is about three quirky siblings who go on a quest for a legendary “monster-boy” who is being held captive. In February 2012, my book The Humming Room will be released. It’s a contemporary take on one of my favorite books, The Secret Garden. After that . . . well, I have a few ideas pawing around in my noggin. We’ll see which ones make it onto the page.
Thank you again Ellen!
You can visit her at her official website