Friday, June 16, 2017

April Henry and Christy Ottaviano at the SCBWI Storybook Intensive


I went to the SCBWI Storybook Intensive here in Portland, Oregon on June 10th and got to meet the AWE...mazing April Henry and the inspiring Christy Ottaviano (editor extraordinaire at MacMillan Books)

I wanted to share some of the wonderful tips, tricks and hints they shared with us at this workshop and . . . I will...but first, I wanted to share a short interview April was kind enough to give me.



QUESTIONS AND ANSWERS


April, when did you first realize you wanted to be a writer?

When I was in third or fourth grade, I started writing stories. But as I got older, I decided that authors didn’t come from little logging towns in Southern Oregon.

How many hours a day do you devote to writing?

About four of solid writing, then an hour or two of business stuff, like answering fan mail or crafting Facebook posts. 

What’s more important to you when you write, character or plot?

Plot.

What is the hardest part of writing a story for you?

When a deadline creeps up and I have no idea how to have an exciting and satisfying and yet surprising ending. 

What did your family think of your writing career when you first started out?

Everyone was supportive, but I think only my mom really believed I would be published.

What do you like to do when you’re not writing?

I love to do Brazilian jiujitsu.  I just got my third stripe!

What authors do you like to read?

I read widely.  I just read Wildman by JC Geiger, a first novel by an SCWBI member who lives in Eugene.  Next up The Scribe of Sienna, an adult book which I think has some time travel in it, by Melodie Winawar and Refugee, a middle grade book about three refugee children in three different time periods by Alan Gratz.

Do you have future projects in mind?

Next May, Run, Hide, Fight Back comes out.  It’s about a shooting that traps six teenagers at a shopping mall, and it’s basically Die Hard meets Breakfast Club.  And after that, it’s The Lonely Dead, about a girl who can talk to the dead. 

How many books have you written and how many of those have been published?

It’s got to be close to 30.  So far, 21 have been published, and three more are under contract. 

Can you tell us a little bit about your latest book?




CountAll Her Bones is a companion novel to Girl, Stolen, which was about a blind girl who was accidentally kidnapped when a teenage boy stole her stepmother’s car.  The new book takes place about six months after the previous one, on the eve of the trial for the thief’s father (who decided to hold her for ransom).  For that book I spent a lot of time learning various martial arts that blind people could use to defend themselves.  The book has a great twist that was a surprise to me when I thought of it - that was really fun! 

(Tips, Tricks and Hints on Monday) 

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