Tuesday, September 24, 2019

“Booklist” interview features quirky questions

Kathleen McBroom kindly interviewed me for the 9/19 issue of Booklist.

Most of her questions are ones I haven’t gotten before (which I appreciate!):

  • In another interview, you referred to some negative feedback you received when you first pitched the idea for Thirty Minutes over Oregon, a story about friendship and forgiveness. What were the objections?
  • In your author’s note for Thirty Minutes over Oregon, you end with a question about the Japanese pilot Nobuo Fujita: “He went from fighting to uniting. Which took more courage?” Have you ever gotten any feedback from kids about this, either in letters or during school visits?
  • The thing I like best about your books is how you spark inquiry in kids through revealing tiny morsels of information that have been overlooked. How did your interest in these types of forgotten facts begin?
  • While we’re talking about research and inquiry, I was struck by something you included in your author’s note for Fairy Spell. You wrote, “Having the internet doesn’t mean you can kick back and think less. On the contrary, it forces you to think more.” Would you care to elaborate on that?
  • You are always profoundly respectful of the people in your books. You never say anything really damning about Bob Kane; you stress your belief that Frances and Elsie, the girls from Fairy Spell, had no intent to perpetuate a nationwide hoax; you very effectively explain how well-educated adults fell for the fairy photos ruse; and you portray Nobuo Fujita from Thirty Minutes over Oregon as a truly remorseful person who was willing to apologize for his wartime actions. Why is it important for you to portray these characters so sympathetically to young audiences?
  • Your brief bio from Fairy Spell says that “he believes in a number of things that haven’t yet been proven.” I’m not sure if you wrote this or not, but it makes me wonder—with a philosophy like that, might you have any concerns about being taken in by some fantastic claim someday, like your fellow writer Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, who championed the fairy photos?

Thank you, Kathleen and Booklist!

No comments: