Friday, April 30, 2010

Interview with Janet S. Fox

Joining us today on her blog tour is...

Janet S. Fox
author of the upcoming YA book
(released May 2010)

Follow Janet on her tour at the next stop on May 3rd with Chick Loves Lit!

Here is the INTERVIEW:

Do you think growing up with your mother as a writer influenced your own choice to become a writer?

Definitely. My mom loved to read and write. She introduced me to most of my favorite books. Every Christmas when I was in elementary school she gave me the next volume of the Narnia series, and when I was sick as a teenager she brought me The Lord of the Rings (I think I pretended to be sick for the next week.) In fact, it was when I found some of her own stories, after she’d passed away, that I was inspired to try writing again. I’d spent years “in denial” – not writing – and her words came back to me like a gift.

How does your love of geology inspire or affect your writing?

I love landscape and try to “draw” it in my writing. Geology is constantly showing up in odd places. FAITHFUL is set in Yellowstone – and I use my geology background to feed my descriptions of the setting. The geology there is both dangerous (the hot springs) and life-giving (the biological life in those springs) so that gives me a lot to work with. And the novel I’m working on right now is about jewelry and gemstones, so I’m tapping into my knowledge of mineralogy.

What about your trips to sea? Have they affected your writing?

Not directly. But, who knows? Maybe my next novel will be set on a ship…or an island…hmm. You’ve given me some ideas!

What are some of your favorite YA authors/books?

I really love Suzanne Collins’ The Hunger Games. And I just finished Rita Williams-Garcia’s Jumped – terrific! I’m a big fan of Laurie Halse Anderson (Wintergirls) and Libba Bray (A Great and Terrible Beauty) and Ellen Hopkins (Identical).

What does the Society of Children's Book Writers and Illustrators do?

SCBWI is a professional, international support organization for adult writers and illustrators of children’s books. When I found SCBWI, I found my critique partners, my agent, and many friends. I attend conferences both large and small, and have learned about the craft and business of writing through SCBWI. And now I’m getting my MFA (Masters of Fine Arts) in Writing for Children at Vermont College of Fine Arts, so I feel like I’m taking the next step toward becoming a better writer.

How does your love of gardening affect your writing?

Gardening makes me happy. I can work in silence and still my mind. So gardening for me is like meditating, or dreaming. Often the strangest ideas pop into my head when I garden.

What differences are there in writing for children and writing for young adults? Which do you prefer?

I think I prefer writing for young adults, and that’s probably because I’m still about 14 in my mind. I have written for middle grades and I like that, too. Picture books are hard to write. I’ve written a few, but they are not as easy as they seem. You need to make a great story in a very few words – often fewer than 150 words! And I love words.

Was there anyone in your life growing up who inspired or motivated you to write more than anyone else?

In 3rd grade I had a teacher who sent a poem I wrote to the local paper and it was published. Wow. That was a terrific feeling. Then I had a teacher in high school – in 9th grade. I thought by that time that I was a writer. A WRI-TER. I got my first paper back, and it was covered in red ink. I couldn’t believe it! Mr. G. made a writer out of me in the end, but it took all of my 9th grade year just to begin. Now, I have to say, my son is my inspiration. I write all my books for him.

What is your writing process?

I write every day, on my computer. I print out my writing when I edit. I write organically sometimes, and sometimes I make outlines or charts. I read out loud (my dog listens, sort of.) I retype things I’m not happy with.
The important thing for me is to write every day. After that, my process changes with each book, with each part of each book, and if something doesn’t feel right or isn’t working I try something else. The only thing that remains the same right now is that I think and type so fast that I do write on the computer because my handwriting is too slow to keep up.

What do you love most about writing? Teaching?

Wow, are these different places for me. Writing: I love being in the dream-place of the novel and inside the character’s head. Teaching: I love being with students and the flow when we get going with the question and answer, when a student suddenly makes a leap or “gets” something. I do love teaching when I see that light in a student’s eyes.

JANET S. FOX was interviewed by READING ROCKS on October 19, 2009.

1 comment:

  1. Thank you so much for hosting me as part of my tour - it's great to be here! Hugs - Janet


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