I’ve been working on blog interviews for upcoming WEAVING MAGIC (April 27, 2012). The interviews will be posted in late April and May, and I will post more information as they go live on various blogs. One of the questions that comes up on almost every interview I’ve done for both STAINED GLASS SUMMER and WEAVING MAGIC is What is your favorite childhood book? Or what book inspires you? When I answer the question in blog interviews, I usually respond with Cynthia Voigt’s Homecoming and Dicey’s Song. I’ve always loved Dicey’s strong, survival spirit and felt Dicey and Jasmine would be great friends. As a writer, I’ve studied the way Cynthia Voigt wrote sequel books for Dicey and spin-off books with her other characters. (Something I’m working on with the characters of STAINED GLASS SUMMER)
But, if pressed to answer which childhood book(s) inspire my imagination and creativity, I’d have to say, Mrs Piggle Wiggle Stories by Betty MacDonald and The Borrowers by Mary Norton. Some of my favorite Mrs-Piggle Wiggle stories are:
1. The Radish Cure…” I haaaaaateeeeeee baaaaaaathssss”
2. “The Never-Want-To-Go-To-Bedders Cure” “Bobby, Larry and Susan play parchesi all night!”
3. The Whisperer with Evelyn, Mary and Cornelia and the Whispering sticks!
I was recently reminded of these stories in an on-line Writing the Children’s Chapter Book class that I am taking with Anastasia Suen. The first part of the class required the reading of eighteen different chapter books. Yes…that’s eighteen! Chapter books I’ve read included: Ivy and Bean Series, Clementine, and Katie Kazoo: Switcheroo. As I was reading and brainstorming ideas for my own chapter book series, I kept feeling as if there were some favorite chapter books that I had tucked in the back corners of my mind, but had never really forgotten. Those stories were the ones that made me believe that a magical lady who dolled out whisper sticks might just live down the street from me, or that when things went missing, there were small creatures called The Borrowers carrying on lives in the walls of our house.
I love writing my realistic, contemporary stories for tweens and teens, but, I think there is also a chapter book writer in me who loves those early stories about imagination and magic.
What are the stories from your childhood which inspire you?