Author Q & A : Lee Edward Födi


LEE EDWARD 
FÖDI
is an author, illustrator, and specialized arts educator—or, as he likes to think of himself, a daydreaming expert. He lives a creative life in Vancouver, BC, with his wife, Marcie and son, Hiro.

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What is the book you most clearly remember from when you were a child?
I remember The Wonderful Wizard of Oz, which our teacher read to us in school—and all of the Oz books. I loved the wonderful art-deco design and illustrations.

Did you ever write a fan letter to an author? If so,  who to, and did they write back?
As someone who teaches creative writing to tweens and teens, I help my students write fan letters all the time. I’m very passionate about this because, when I was a kid, I don’t think I realized that I could possibly connect with an author that way!

How did you learn to write? What is one writing book or website you’d recommend to anyone else wanting to learn?
As a kid, I learned to write from reading. These days, I think it’s still the number-one way I learn to write. I read a lot of books for the age-level (middle-grade) and genre (fantasy-adventure) that I write for. I do also read books about writing; the number-one book I love about creativity is Steal Like an Artist (and the two follow-up books, Show Your Work and Keep Going) by Austin Kleon.

What is your favourite hobby or activity that has nothing to do with writing or reading?
I feel like writing oozes into every crack of my life. I do a lot of drawing and prop-building, but those are all inevitably connected either directly or non-directly to my books. I am a big believer in cross-creativity; all things are connected. Even when I’m riding my bike, it’s good thinking time. I work out a lot of story or plot questions while walking or pedaling.

Who is your favourite author right now?
I have many authors I admire. Terry Pratchett is my all-time favorite, but others include Tony DiTerlizzi, Kate Dicamillo, and Linda Sue Park.

LEF3Do you have a new book coming out soon?
My latest book, The Guardians of Zoone, just came out in March and I have a brand-new title coming out in the Fall of 2021 with HarperCollins. I can’t say the title yet, but it’s about a girl who is failing wizard school.

What are you writing these days?
I’m currently in rewrites for the wizard school book I mentioned above and a spare corner of my brain is working on another, unconnected story about a girl who works for a delivery service in a fantasy world.

Do you write regularly, or just when you feel like it?
I’m writing pretty much every day—whether it’s sitting at my computer, doodling in my sketchbook, building a dragon egg, or staring off into space.

How do you like editing and revising?
Whenever I get an editorial letter from my editor, I have this moment of dread because I know she’s going to really, really push my story—and that means a lot of work. But after I’ve absorbed all the changes, ideas, and suggestions she has provided me with, I’m generally feeling left excited and invigorated to dive back into that world. So, I guess you could say I ultimately like it. Emotional stuff is easier for me—figuring out how characters react and respond. It’s piecing and arranging plot points that I find the most challenging. It’s like putting together a puzzle!

Can you share one strange, weird or wonderful thing about you?
I don’t know if this is wonderful thing, but my students are obsessed with the fact that I hate ketchup. There have been MANY stories written about me facing ketchup, or being poisoned by ketchup (I’m not sure why they think it will poison me), or being drowned in ketchup. In any case, I encourage these stories—when students decide to pick on me in stories, it at least gives them something to write about and it distracts them from picking on each other!

What’s the answer to the one question you wished I had asked? : What is the favourite book you’ve written
The answer: It’s usually the book I’m currently writing or the one that I’m about to write . . . I love the phase of writing a book, when everything is still possible, and all this potential exists. Once the book is printed and released, it has left my creative sphere and then I can no longer play with it!

Thanks, Lee!

Learn more about Lee and his books:
Check out Lee’s website

His books published by Harper Collins
His books published by Simply Read

Lee’s books
The Guardians of Zoone, HarperCollins Children’s Books, 2020
The Secret of Zoone, HarperCollins Children’s Books, 2019

Kendra Kandlestar and the Search for Arazeen, Simply Read Books, 2015
Kendra Kandlestar and the Crack in Kazah, Simply Read Books, 2014
Kendra Kandlestar and the Shard from Greeve, Simply Read Books, 2014
Kendra Kandlestar and the Door to Unger, Simply Read Books, 2013
Kendra Kandlestar and the Box of Whispers, Simply Read Books, 2013


Next up: Barbara Renner

If you or a children’s author you know would like to be featured, email me for information. 

 


Author Q&A: K.A. Wiggins

 

K.A. Wiggins is a BC writer who writes speculative fiction exploring society, environmental crisis, and identity through intricate, dreamlike tales of monsters and magic.

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Is there a book you most clearly remember from when you were a child?
When I was 5, I spotted a copy of The Hobbit during a move and nagged to read it for two years until I was “old enough.” But I also read The Chronicles of Narnia (all 7!) 3 times a year from age 7-12, so it’s maybe a tie.

Did you ever write a fan letter to an author? If so, who to, and did they write back?
No way, too scary! I prefer watching from a distance and occasionally liking a Tweet or something.

How did you learn to write? What is one writing book or website you’d recommend to anyone else wanting to learn?
I’ve read so many books, I think all the words just kind of sunk in.
I tell the kids in my writing workshops it’s the kind of work where you mostly learn by doing. But for those who like research too, the incredible blog at https://kriswrites.com/(also adapted into several books) is my number one recommendation for both aspiring and pro writers. It has both writing and business-for-authors content.

What is your favourite hobby or activity that has nothing to do with writing or reading?
I love making music, particularly in a band. Rock star would have been my second choice of career—but thankfully writing is more quarantine friendly.

 Who is your favourite author right now?
Louise Penny is utterly brilliant, but in kidlit specifically? Brenna Yovanoff is a perennial fave and I cannot wait for Christelle Dabos’s next book to be translated.

Do you have a new book coming out soon?
I do (finally!)

It’s so new the cover hasn’t even dropped yet, But Black the Tides, book 2 in a YA series set in a post-climate-crisis Vancouver with bonus monsters from folklore & legend, is set for a September release
( . . . and might be bumped up even sooner if all the behind-the-scenes pieces fall into place!)

What are you writing these days?
I’ve been doing a lot of creepy (or in one case, gross-out hilarious) short fiction for magazines and anthologies between novels, but my next release has a doozy of a cliffhanger so I’d better get on writing the sequel or my readers will be hunting me down.

Do you write regularly, or just when you feel like it?
I write when I can find the time, and when I have a project to finish, but not on a daily schedule (I believe in taking breaks, or at least weekends!)

How do you like editing and revising?
NOT a fan of editing and revising, but occasionally it’s inevitable.

Can you share one strange, weird or wonderful thing about you?
I LOVE public speaking—which is super weird to those who know me, and also to all the normal folks who have nightmares about it! The bigger the crowd the better (small groups are stressful!)

Somehow, I’m both a flaming introvert who can happily spend weeks indoors working and also a natural performer and teacher at the same time?

What’s the answer to the one question you wished I had asked?
What’s your number one tip for new and aspiring authors?
I get this all the time in live speaking situations and never manage to spit the right answer out (it’s hard to think and talk at the same time, okay?).

      So here it is: Go create things, go share things, and then move on to the next thing. I 100% struggle with this too, but done is much better than perfect, you learn by trying and FINISHING things, and you build an audience and a career by getting your words OUT into the world. Good luck!

 Read more about the author


Next up: Lee Edward Fodi


Author Q&A: Laura Langston

 

LAURA LANGSTON’s published books include more than twenty for preschoolers, school aged kids and teens. She lives on Vancouver Island, BC.

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What was your favourite book when you were a child?
Charlotte’s Web by E.B. White was one of my favorites.

Did you ever write a fan letter to an author? If so, who to, and did they write back?
I never did. As a child, authors were exalted and unapproachable. In fact, when I told my mother I wanted to be a writer, she encouraged me to find a job that normal people could do. Since I’m not normal, I became a writer anyway.

How did you learn to write for children? And what books or websites helped you learn what you need to know?
I learned by reading and writing.
It’s hard to recommend just one. Some book suggestions: On Writing by Stephen King; A Writer’s Guide to Fiction by Elizabeth Lyon and Wired for Story by Lisa Cron.

What is your favourite activity that has nothing to do with writing or reading.
Gardening and cooking. They are inextricably linked in my life. Followed closely by travel to places with beautiful gardens and fabulous cuisines.

Who is your favourite kids’ author now?
I have many favorite authors, depending on my mood, what’s going on in my life at the time, etc. I particularly love Michael Morpurgo and I’m just about to start reading Boy Giant: Son of Gulliver.

LL3 (5)Do you have a new book coming out soon? 
My latest YA, No Right Thing was just released by Crwth Press. It’s a character-driven novel about a young woman who learns that one good deed can have unpredictable and far-reaching consequences. It’s my first title with Crwth and they were fabulous to work with.

What are you writing these days?
I tend to juggle multiple projects. I’m currently halfway through a draft of a middle grade novel about a girl who is a hypersensitive; I’m brainstorming my next YA; and I’m working on an adult novel under my Laura Tobias name.

Do you write regularly, or just when you feel like it?
I write regularly, except when I don’t. 😊 I tend to write five days a week, a throwback to my routine when my kids lived at home.

How do you like editing and revising?
I adore editing and revising. It’s probably my favorite part of the writing process. I love to see the story grow and change.

Can you share one weird or wonderful thing about you?
I once travelled to Russia with a group of Swedes. I speak neither Russian nor Swedish.

What question do you wish I had asked…
What’s your secret talent?

I may not know Russian or Swedish, but I am fluent in dog speak.

Thanks, Laura.

Check Laura’s website.
Take at look at the Cwrth Press website

(Next up: Lee Edward Fodi) 

 


Author Q&A : Who will be first? Oh look! It’s me.


I am running some brief  author interviews here –
how often and how many will depend on how many authors
respond to my request.

If you would like to be included, contact me for a list of questions.

I am going to answer them myself first, to give you an idea of what we’ll be talking about.


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What is the book you most clearly remember from when you were a child?
The Silver Sword by Ian Serrallier and Laughing Time by William Jay Smith

Did you ever write a fan letter to an author? If so, who to? And did they write back?
I wrote to the British author Malcom Saville when I was about nine. He wrote back. I know it was him because I checked the signature with a wet finger… these were the days when people wrote with pen and ink.

How did you learn to write? What is one writing book or website you’d recommend to anyone else wanting to learn?
I learned most by reading. But the three how-to writing books I would rescue from a fire first are How Fiction Works by James Wood, Writing Personal Poetry by Sheila Bender and Imaginative Fiction by Janet Burroway

What is your favourite hobby or activity that has nothing to do with writing or reading?
I sketch and do photography. (Who knows. One day I might even be able to use my sketches and photos in my work.)

Who is your favourite kids’ author now?
That’s not a fair question. What if I forget some? Okay, Just for now. Frank Cottrell Boyce. Polly Horvath. Linda Bailey. Tim Wynne-Jones…

Do you have a new book coming out soon?
My kids nonfiction book about homelessness should be out in the next year or two. But nothing is certain right now as so much is changing in publishing and everywhere else.

What are you writing these days?
A picture book set in India called The Cranes and the Motorcycle,  a midgrade novel The Midnight Carousel and a UK historical novel about the Children’s Strikes of 1911 called Spare the Rod.

Do you write regularly, or just when you feel like it?
I write when I feel like it, which is pretty regularly. Probably on six out of seven days a week I put in four to five hours writing, now that I am ‘properly’ retired.

How do you like editing and revising?
Love it. But it can be as scary and exciting as a roller-coaster ride. (Actually, it’s better than that – I’ve only been on one once and plan never to do it again.) Editing and revising work can be just as creative as writing the first draft. You never know what might show up.

Can you share one strange, weird or wonderful thing about you?
I’m going to be lazy, and send you here to find out.

 

What’s the answer to the one questions we have not asked.
What’s the favourite book that you have written?
That’s like asking someone who is their favourite child… (Probably The Paper House. Or maybe The Ballad of Knuckles McGraw. Or Silver Rain…) Actually, it might be A Star in the Water. That’s the sequel to my first book Meeting Miss 405. It did not get published, but I made a few limited edition copies that I give away at schools and libraries as prizes. I think I have three copies left.

Star

Cheers for now.

Where to learn more about me and my books:
Right here on my website.
At my publisher’s website
On my Facebook page.


I happily include links to author websites, publisher pages, etc. But I do not include links to Amazon. If you choose to sell through or buy books from them that is your choice, of course. But because of the company’s appalling working conditions and  the way they undermine local independent bookstores, I don’t support them in any way. However, I do understand that for some self-published authors, AZ offers a platform for selling their work.


Writers’ ZOOM Room

I miss my students, classes and classrooms.
I miss teaching.
I miss all that I learn from every writer who crosses my path.

So I am going to do what so many people are doing these days with limited options for personal interaction.
I am going to test run a couple of writing presentations online.

The first presentation on TUESDAY JUNE 2 at 2 p.m. (Pacific Standard Time) is FREE to the first dozen people who sign up. (I know some ZOOM sessions welcome many more participants, but I am going to keep the group small until I can figure out how to make this work in a way that benefits everyone).

 The 75-minute session ‘Reverse Outlining – a novel approach to revision’ is designed mainly for people writing novels – for readers of all ages. But it might also work for anyone writing memoirs. I have presented this in a number of physical venues over the years, and participants seem to have found it useful.

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It came about because while I am not an outliner – which in some circles makes me a ‘pantser’ – I do like systems that help me figure out what I have done and what I still need to do. It’s a process I have used on a number of my own projects, including my last book Three Good Things.

If this first presentation goes well, on alternate weeks following I hope to offer:

  • How to Breathe Life into the Germ of an Idea
    We all get great ideas. This presentation will help you mine your own imagination – and others’ – for ways to bring them to life. 
  • The View from Here: The pleasures and perils of point of view
    Establishing – and maintaining – an effective point of view can make or break a story.
  • Story Craft – considering plot and theme and (almost) everything else
    Story is at the heart of all fiction – and most non fiction and memoir. Explore a handful of ways to develop a story that resonates for the reader.

For these – and subsequent presentations I will suggest a ‘voluntary donation’ – payable by eTransfer or by mailing me paper money – of $5 to $20, which I will ask you to send me after the presentation, if you have found it worthwhile. This will go towards the cost of the annual fee for the ZOOM account, and once that is paid off I will donate all other contributions to the Nanaimo Unitarian Shelter.

Yes. I will be providing handouts – some before and others after the presentation is over.

No. I will not be able to provide follow up critiques or manuscript evaluations.

Yes. I will happily consider suggestions for other presentations and subjects once I know this works for me and those signing up.

Updates on the Writer’s Zoom Room will be posted on my Facebook page. And if it does not work out, I will update you there.

Meanwhile, if you’d like an invite to the first presentation Reverse Outlining, drop me a note and you will hear from me when it’s time to register.