- Newbery Honor Winner & New York Times Bestselling Author -
Frequently Asked Questions
Are you going to write any more Savvy stories?
I don't have any plans to write another book about the Beaumonts or their extended family at this time, but I'm happy people keep asking me to! I usually like to say never say never, but definitely not right now. But if you want to read about Samson Beaumont's 13th birthday, pick up the 10th Anniversary edition of Savvy--you'll find his story at the end of the book.
Are you still alive? Still writing? Do you plan to publish any new books in the future?
Yes! Maybe? Fingers crossed. But life is filled with ups and downs, diversions and yawns and grins, and weeping with both joy and sadness, singsongs and madness. There have been trips to Mars and the moon and the grocery store to plan, and holidays spent stargazing from inside a hollow tree. But as soon as I can share something about any future publications, I promise I will update my website and make an announcement on Twitter or some such place.
How did you get the idea for the first “savvy” book?
One day, I decided to sit down and write the first crazy sentence that popped into my head, then see if I could build a story out of it. I wrote: When my brother Fish turned thirteen, we moved to the deepest part of inland because of the hurricane and, of course, the fact that he’d caused it. It became the first sentence of Savvy.
If you had a savvy or superpower what would it to be?
I would love to be able to be able to teleport anywhere in the world in an instant.
What advice do you have for young writers?
Be brave and have fun. Don't compare your writing to other people's--everyone has their own unique voice--and don’t worry about being perfect, especially when you're writing a first draft. First drafts are where writers figure out their stories. They aren't meant to be perfect.
What’s your advice for getting rid of writer’s block?
If you get stuck, get silly! Sometimes writer’s block happens when we get nervous or feel pressured to be
perfect writers or to come up with great ideas. When I start to feel that way, it helps me to take out a clean piece of paper, or open a new file on my computer, and just write the silliest story imaginable. I write a few sentences or paragraphs that I know no one else will ever see. Sometimes this helps me relax and get my creative juices flowing. Then I go back to my regular work. If that doesn't help, I take a break. I do some other creative thing, I take a walk, I have a snack, or I pet the dogs. Sometimes we need time to think, imagine, and reflect without the pressure of a piece of paper or a computer staring us in the face. Imagining is a big part of the writing process. So is stepping away sometimes to let your subconscious work on things.
Will you read my writing if I send it to you?
I’m sorry, but I can’t read your work even though I’d really love to. If you want writing feedback, ask your friends and family to read your stories, or join or start a writing club. It could be fun!
What made you want to write books?
I’ve always thought up stories in my head, both to entertain myself and to keep myself from getting anxious. I was a very nervous child--always worried about something--and I discovered that inventing stories and creating new worlds and characters kept me from worrying as much. Worry is all about "What if?" But so is storytelling! Now I get to ask “What if?” as part of my job.
How long does it take you to write a book?
Every book is different. Savvy took about a year. Scumble took over two years. Switch took over three years.
Why did you decide to switch to a new main character with each new book?
When I started thinking about writing more ‘savvy’ books, I decided that Mibs's story had been seen through to the end. Since the savvy books are about growing up and discovering the surprising magic and challenges that go hand-in-hand with turning thirteen, I wanted to explore savvy birthdays from new and different points of view, while still letting readers spend time with some familiar characters at the same time.
Did you go to college? What should you study in school if you want to be a writer?
I went to college for several years in Denver, Colorado. While in school, I studied anything and everything that struck my fancy: English, philosophy, music theory, linguistics, history, biology, creative writing, literature, art history... even the psychology of art and creativity. I think people should never stop learning. And for those who want to be writers, learning new things in many different areas can make for inspiring and enriching stories. For the last couple of years, I've been taking classes in cartooning and illustratation. See? It's never too late to try new things. You never know what might happen!
What are some of your favorite things?
Rabbits, dogs, movies, rain, autumn, art, drawing, comics and graphic novels, pillows, blankets, benches with beautiful views, the Oregon coast, the wind, poetry, and cake.
Thanks for your interest in me and my books!