It’s a Blog Takeover by Victoria Krol, a teen writer who has questions for me—-because she’s awesome, and it’s SNOW GLOBE WISHES‘ Book Birthday!
Photo R was taken during her interview with Richard Peck!
Needless to say, I am honored to answer her questions.
Q1: Since the Book Birthday of Snow Globe Wishes was Sept. 15th, tell us what you were thinking about Snow Globe Wishes a year ago on September 15th.
Erin Dealey: Hmmm…let’s see…A year ago, I knew that illustrator Claire Shorrock was somewhere in the UK, working on the art for SNOW GLOBE WISHES, and I couldn’t wait to see it. I got my first tiny glimpses from her Instagram post in March–six months later!
It was so worth the wait!
Q2: Where and when did the idea for Snow Globe Wishes come to mind?
Erin Dealey: The story for SNOW GLOBE WISHES came to me two years ago. I was feeling more and more like the world needed a hug. About that time, my Sleeping Bear editor, Sarah Rockett, and I were talking about lovely, heartwarming books such as Winter’s Gift by Jane Monroe Donovan (Sleeping Bear/ 2004) with themes of comfort, companionship, and hope.
It made me think of the magical feeling that hits you on a morning after a huge snowstorm; a snow globe morning when it seems like anything is possible. And I got a What If idea about a child’s wish for kindness and inclusion on such a morning.
This story comes straight from my heart.
Q3: They say most books are a tiny bit autobiographical. Which of the characters in Snow Globe Wishes is most like you?
Erin Dealey: The narrator is me through and through. This story comes straight from my heart. Hopefully it will touch the hearts of those who read it as well.
“The feelings of community and togetherness are palpable.”
Q4: How do you handle writers block, which I personally find to be more prevalent when writing prose?
Erin Dealey: OK, this is a long one, so buckle up–haha. First of all, I don’t experience “writer’s block,” but I know this feeling is very real to many. I taught English and creative writing to high school and mg students (for decades!) and we dug into this topic every year.
Here are six possible causes of “writer’s block” –and possible solutions:
- You get writer’s block when: You are working on a topic, usually one you’ve been assigned, and it’s not one you care about very much, if at all. (Except for the grade.)
How to handle this: Author Bruce Coville tells writers to “throw up on the page.” Get the whole story out first–good or not-so-good. I’ll add this: if it’s an essay, write down everything you know about the topic (and everything you don’t know) and then fill in the gaps. Move the ideas around. Piece them together like a quilt until they fit the required format.
- You get writer’s block when: You are worried about the grade, even before you start writing. (No pressure there!)
How to handle this: Never worry about the end/result at the beginning. This is easier said than done, I know, but the fun should be in the WRITING. Create a world for characters to live in and then see what they do. Even if you are the only one who loves your story, give yourself permission to write it. Trust me. Not all of my rough drafts have become books…
- You get writer’s block when: You think what you write should be PERFECT the minute you write it down.
How to handle this: Rough drafts are NEVER perfect. “Sloppy copies” are supposed to be sloppy. Get the story out first.
- You get writer’s block when: You’re afraid someone will LAUGH at you and/or your ideas.
How to handle this: If J.K.Rowling had worried that someone might laugh at her idea of kids riding on broomsticks and playing a made-up game called Quidditch, would she have written Harry Potter?
Who’s laughing now?
You get writer’s block when: Your life is so crazy-busy, with so many activities and obligations, that by the time you get back to the story you were passionate about, it has lost its appeal, its magic. Stories do that. Maybe your interests have changed. Maybe it’s not what you want to write anymore. Perhaps working on it isn’t fun like it once was.
How to handle this: Let the old story go. (Read Elizabeth Gilbert’s book, BIG MAGIC) Write the story that’s in your head right now. The one that won’t let go. “Marie Kondo” the ones that don’t give you joy.
If it still gives you joy (and occasional writer’s block), “listen” to the characters. Let them “tell” you what might happen next. The answer might surprise you, and/or take you in a different direction than you had planned. Sometimes sticking to the plan gets in the way of the story. Play with it.
- You get writer’s block when: You believe, deep down, that other people write way better than you do. So why try?
How to handle this: Forget about those other people. You do YOU. If there are stories in your head, WRITE them down. I guarantee you they won’t be perfect. Play with them anyway. Write because it’s fun.
True story: In my 10th grade English class, we had to write an alliterative poem and after I shared mine, EVERYONE LAUGHED. I was mortified. Clearly that meant I couldn’t write. (Because 10th graders are expert judges of GOOD WRITING, right?) Senior year, I took Theater instead of the Creative Writing elective. I started university as a math major, because my math teacher made learning fun. Four years later, I graduated with a major in English and minor in Art. Now I write children’s books. If you were meant to do this, I’m betting the WRITE path will find you no matter what.
Follow your path.
Q5: Lastly, If you had a magic snow globe that could grant one wish, what would your Snow Globe Wish be?
Erin Dealey: My snow globe wish became part of the jacket copy of our book: I wish that SNOW GLOBE WISHES, might inspire many acts of kindness in our world. And a few much needed hugs.
About the Interviewer:
Victoria A. Krol is 14-year old Freshman in high school with an absolute passion for reading, writing, the arts, and horseback riding. She is working on a novel with her co-partner Charley B. Ramos, which is in the midst of its second revision and currently has a plot that resembles lasagna. She met Erin dressed in full 70’s gear at the SCBWI LA Summer Conference this year, where their instant friendship resulted in her as a guest blogger.
(I told you she was awesome.)
Thank you so much for helping me celebrate SNOW GLOBE WISHES’ Book Birthday, Victoria. Look for more of Victoria’s “takeover” interviews and reviews to come!