Author Tidbits: John Green

Yay! It’s the first author tidbit since. . .the last author tidbit! (Which was actually all the John Green!way back in June 2012. Oops.) And today’s subject will be (drumroll, please). . .John Green! Although you probably already knew that, but you have to allow me my drumroll. Anyway.

John Green is the author of several books for teens, one of which was awarded the Printz Award in 2006. He was raised in Florida, but later attended a boarding school in Alabama, which influenced his book Looking for Alaska. Since then, he has written four other books, one of which (Will Grayson, Will Grayson) was a collaboration with fellow author David Levithan. After John graduated college, he began working as student chaplain in a children’s hospital, but later worked for Booklist and also wrote for NPR’s All Things Considered, before becoming a full-time writer. His latest (and awesome) book, The Fault in Our Stars, spent seven weeks on the NY Times Best Seller List, and is one of the best books I, personally, have ever read. But that’s not all of his achievements.

Starting in 2007, John and his younger brother Hank stopped communicating through text and instead started talking through video blogs, with one doing a video one day and the other doing another one the next. For a whole year. After this first year, they continued vlogging, and have since started a community of nerdfighters (before anyone asks–they don’t fight nerds, they are nerds who fight to decrease world suck), who have done several things to make the world a better place, such as starting the Project for Awesome.

John now lives in Indianapolis, Indiana with his wife Sarah and their son Henry. All in all, I think he’s a pretty awesome writer and a pretty awesome guy all around. Plus, whenever I read one of his books I’m like, “Oh my god, I would never have thought of something like that.” And then I spend this time trying to figure it out because his books just make you think, which, contrary to what the anti-nerdfighters would have you believe, is a good thing. I love what he and Hank do for everyone, and they’re made of awesome. So, yeah, that’s about it. Oh, and one other thing. . .John got to interview President Obama in a Google hangout this week. And President Obama told his not-yet-born second child to not forget to be awesome.

Wow.

OK, guess I’m done now. I hope everyone had a great weekend!

Literary Quote of the Day: “How improbable is that, Hank? How improbable are we? How strange and how lovely it is to be anything at all.” –John Green, author of The Fault in Our Stars and Looking for Alaska, among others.

Author Tidbits: Sharon Creech

I realized that it’s about time for another Author Tidbit. This one’s subject is Sharon Creech, author of Granny Torelli Makes Soup, Love That Dog, The Castle Corona, and others. Sharon Creech was born in South Euclid, Ohio, where she lived with her large family. They often went on trips, and some of the places they visited worked their way into her stories, such as Quincy, Kentucky, which became Bybanks, Kentucky, and was featured in three of Sharon’s books. She has lived in not only America, but also England and Switzerland. Sharon did not immediately want to be a writer. She had several things she wanted to do when she was a child, such as be an ice skater, but ultimately studied stories and writing in college. She then went on to become a teacher in these subjects herself. It was through these experiences that she became what she is now, a published author. Although Sharon at first started out writing for adults, she soon moved on to writing for kids, and her first book geared towards this younger audience was Absolutely Normal Chaos. A later book, Walk Two Moons, which was the first to be published in America, succeeded in winning the Newbery Medal. Lots of Sharon’s books are about kids going through tough times, but others are more fantastical. However, speaking as one who has read nearly all of them, I would recommend any that catches your eye. I know I’ve read a few more than once, and with good reason. Sharon Creech lives with her husband in Chautauqua, New York, and has two grown children.

Happy 200th Charles Dickens!

Today, the great author Charles John Huffman Dickens turns 200 years old. Seriously. His story is one that started out with a poor boy working in Warren’s Shoe Blacking Factory, but gradually rose to immense fame and wealth through his words. You’ve probably heard of his works: Oliver Twist, Great Expectations, A Tale of Two Cities, A Christmas Carol and more. Who would have thought the twelve year old boy who had to work to support his family would rise to such greatness? Being poor had a lasting effect on Dickens, and shows itself in many of his stories. He worked as a clerk, a court reporter, and published a number of sketches in the Morning Chronicle under the name Boz. Dickens published The Pickwick Papers when he was 24, and soon his popularity was soaring. He embarked on numerous book tours, and was a magnificent speaker. He was the 1800s version of a superstar celebrity. Think of him as one of the Beatles. That’s how huge he was. By this point he was married to Catherine Hogarth; they had ten children, and they also lived with her sister, Mary, until her death, which had an enormous effect on Dickens. Later, Dickens and his wife were separated, and he fell in love with an actress called Ellen Ternan. Dickens was also what you could call extravagant; he dressed in bright colors and jewels, and loved his hair. His book David Copperfield is thought of as a sort of autobiography. It contains a large number of the elements from his life, and Dickens himself called it his personal favorite. His final home was Gad’s Hill Place, where he died when he was 58 years old, and he was later buried in Westminster Abbey. Thousands mourned his passing, both in Europe and overseas. Charles Dickens was undoubtedly one of the most amazing and gifted authors in history. Happy birthday!

Author Tidbit: Alan Bradley

Alan Bradley, author of The Sweetness at the Bottom of the Pie and the other Flavia de Luce mysteries, has led an interesting life. He was born in Toronto, Canada. He received an education in electrical engineering, and has worked at television and radio stations. He become Director of Television Engineering at the University of Saskatchewan, and later left for early retirement. He then began writing. He has written children’s stories and short stories that have been published in literary journals, and became the first President of the Saskatoon Writers. While part of the Casebook of Saskatoon, he met the late Dr. William A.S. Sarjeant. The Casebook of Saskatoon was devoted to Sherlock Holmes and his adventures, and studying them. The book they worked on together, Ms. Holmes of Baker Street, presented the idea that Sherlock was, in fact, female. This resulted in many interviews and appearances, in the “firestorm of controversy”. He has also written The Shoebox Bible, a story about a family managing to persevere and love, even without a father. The first book in his series of Flavia de Luce (remember Sweetness at the Bottom of the Pie?) got the Debut Dagger Award of the (British) Crimewriter’s Association, and the next two books in the series have been received the same enthusiasm. Actually, the fourth book, I Am Half-Sick of Shadows, is just recently published, at the beginning of November. In my opinion it is just as good, if not better, than its predecessors. Yes, I’ve already read it. Alan Bradley presently lives in Malta with his wife. Also two cats. You can visit him at www.flaviadeluce.com. I strongly suggest you take a look and grab onto one of his books when you get the chance!

Author Tidbits: Michael Buckley

Well, let’s see…I’ve done posts on The Sisters Grimm and NERDS, so I might as well do one on the author of both: Michael Buckley. Before he became a writer for children, Michael Buckley was stand-up comedian. He was also the lead singer of a punk rock band, and he worked as an intern on the Late Show with David Letterman. He also worked on developing programming for various TV networks. Quite an array of jobs, I might add. Finally, he discovered the joys of writing, especially with a healthy dose of funny. The Sisters Grimm is his first work, and he is now a bestselling author. For those that aren’t particularly drawn to The Sisters, he has a funnier series called NERDS. This more resembles science fiction, chock full of originality. Now that you know more about the author of these great books, why don’t you take a look?

Interview With Deborah Wiles

Deborah WilesBefore we start, I apologize. I would not have posted A Warning (But a Good One) if I had known how long it would be until I actually posted the interview with Deborah Wiles, author of Countdown and other great books. Thank you for being so patient.

What characters in Countdown did you have a lot of fun creating and writing about? I had fun creating all of them. Franny is a lot like me, so she was especially fun, as was Margie, because she’s a character with “bite.”

Like Franny in the book, did you ever compose a letter to Chairman Khrushchev? I composed letters to President Kennedy and to Khrushchev, all the time. They were in my head, and usually at night, in bed.

Countdown is the first in a trilogy. Why did you decide to write one when you haven’t before? I wanted to write about the sixties, and I needed more than one book. My three novels that take place in Mississippi form a connected trilogy as well.

What did you do when you had writer’s block or weren’t in the mood to write? I remembered I had a deadline, and I went back to work! I do something physical when I need a break or have trouble moving ahead.

What were the problems you ran into while writing the book? I often didn’t know what happened next and went down wrong pathways and had to back up and begin again, but eventually I figured it out.

What made you decide to write for children? I always say I write for ten-year-old me, and that’s why I write for young readers.

Where did you get your materials for the scrapbook part of the book? Was it fun? The scrapbooks were lots of fun to create. The material came from many different places: songs from the sixties, newspaper articles, photo archives, movies, magazines, and more.

Hope you enjoyed hearing from this great writer just as much as I did! Visit Deborah Wiles online and get to know her other books.