Author Interview with Tim Wynne-Jones

https://www.podbean.com/media/share/pb-hzt2p-fb2261

An interview with Tim Wynne-Jones, author of 35 books for all ages, including novels, picture books, and short story collections, including most recently War at the Snow White Motel and The Starlight Claim, which is a finalist for the 2021 White Pine Award. Hear about his love of islands and adventures, his aversion to unnecessary back-stories, and his childhood experience of telling stories around the dinner table. 25 minutes. All ages.

A full transcript is available at CabinTales.ca.

 

Show Notes

[0:00] Intro

[1:25] Interview with Tim Wynne-Jones

CA: There are some writers who do all sorts of exercises and they feel like they have to know everything about their character’s past…

TWJ: It really is like being at a party. You start talking to somebody. … And then suddenly they start telling you their life story. And the first thing you’re going to do is start edging back towards the guacamole…

 

[4:05] CA: And then with setting, if you’re using a real place do you like gather maps and work out your setting?

TWJ: Yeah…. In a made-up landscape, for instance in The Emperor of Any Place — that’s an imagined landscape – well, I had to do tons of research on what kind of flora and fauna there is in that part of the Pacific Ocean. … I love that kind of research. … And I love maps. … I’ve always loved making up islands and making treasure islands. …

 

[6:10] CA: Do you have any favorite words?

TWJ: Just a million…. I mostly live for capital S Story. … But sometimes you find a book that is so beautifully written that the story … doesn’t have to do an awful lot. …

 

[7:50] CA: Do you have a favorite plot twist?

TWJ: Tamar by Mal Peet… sent a chill up my back … like ‘Oh my God of course! Why didn’t I see that?’

 

[8:30] CA: Are any of your stories based on your own childhood?

TWJ: The Rex Zero trilogy is definitely based on my childhood in Ottawa in the Cold War. … And my short stories. … use an element from my childhood. …

 

[9:05] CA: You write for children and for young adults and adults. Do you think of your audience while you write?

TWJ: … Sometimes I feel like I’m writing a scene for one person… And a lot of the time I’m just trying to write for myself… I can’t target a book at an age group. I don’t even like that term because it means like you’re trying to shoot them …

 

[11:10] CA: And you said sometimes you write just for yourself…

TWJ: …There are periods when I don’t have anything that I have to say. …The wonderful writer Annie Dillard has a quote about this … just leave it alone; the well is empty; it will fill from below, by groundwater. … Do something else. … I’ve been writing a lot of songs lately and I’ve really been loving it. …But when I’m in the middle of the book, the joy of being a writer, I think, really, is when you get through that first horrible difficult draft… I’ve done all the hard slogging. And now it’s going to be equally hard but in a much more interesting and exciting way. And then, then I love being a writer, for that second draft. That’s just heaven.

 

[14:20] CA: How much time do you typically spend revising versus drafting?

TWJ: Well, a lot. …

[15:00] CA: I remember hearing you speak once, and you had been working on a book and then someone advised you, ‘You have to kill the father….

TWJ: … my editor, god bless her. … and she didn’t need to say it more than once before I realized exactly what I’d done — I was protecting the boy…The father would step in front of the boy in every scene … I had to kill this perfectly lovely father so that the boy was face to face with his antagonist. …

 

[16:50] CA: … You have to have faith that… life will replenish your ideas and your stories …

TWJ: Yeah…. in the Annie Dillard quote … she says … if you’re writing and you have an idea for a scene that’s just amazing, don’t think about saving it for later. … Just use it right away and it will be replenished. … You’re creating ideas by allowing these ones to get out of your head. …

[18:20] CA: I think she says write as if you’re dying as well, and as if you’re writing to an audience of people who are dying because basically–

TWJ: It’s true…. But …I have a favourite saying that the difference between adult books and children’s books is in an adult book it’s all about letting go; and in a children’s book it’s about getting a grip. …

 

[19:20] CA: Do you have a favorite POV to write from?

TWJ: The story tells me. …When I was writing Blink and Caution… I was 6 pages into it before I realized I was writing in the second person. … I write in first and I write in third and I write in second. The 8th POV I’d like to try ….

 

[20:40] CA: Did you tell stories around the campfire as a kid…?

TWJ: … The dinner table was the campfire. … And in fact, as little children …we weren’t allowed to sit at the dinner table with our parents until we were interesting. …

 

[22:30] CA: Do you have a favorite scary story or scary movie?

TWJ: I loved reading Dracula, …the darkness, just pervasive darkness that moves in on the story. … I loved “Dead Calm,” an Australian movie …

 

[24:05] CA: Do you have any phobias?

TWJ: Yeah, I’m claustrophobic. …

 

[24:55] Tim Wynne-Jones introduces himself

TWJ: Hi. I’m Tim Wynne-Jones. Let’s see. I live in the country on 76 acres of bushland with my wife, Amanda Lewis, who’s a writer among many other things. We have three grown-up children, two boys in Toronto and a daughter in London England. And they’re all married and I have two grandchildren in England. And we have a cat, a wonderful old cat. And I like to cook more than anything in the world, even more than writing. But I wouldn’t want to be a cook for a living. I think it’s even worse than being a writer. And I like to do crossword puzzles and I love to read and snowshoe. There.

 

[25:40] Find out more about Tim Wynne-Jones

You can hear more creative writing advice from Tim Wynne-Jones on Cabin Tales Episode 1, “Things Hide in the Darkness,” about setting; Episode 2, “Nasty People meet Nasty Ends,” about character,” Episode 7.5, “Author Interviews about Endings,” and Episode 8, “The Never-ending Story,” about revision. Find out more about Tim Wynne-Jones and his books from his website at TimWynne-Jones.com.

 

[26:50] Thanks and coming up on the podcast

I’ll be back next week with leftovers from my interview with Monique Polak, author of 29 books for young readers who joins us from Montreal, Quebec.

Thanks for listening.

Credits:

Music on the podcast is from “Stories of the Old Mansion” by Akashic Records, provided by Jamendo (Standard license for online use).

Host: Catherine Austen writes books for children, short stories for adults, and reports for corporate clients. Visit her at www.catherineausten.com.

Guest Author:

Tim-Wynne-Jones.png

Tim Wynne-Jones has written 35 books for adults and children of all ages. His books have been translated into a dozen languages and won multiple awards, including the Governor General’s Award, the Boston Globe-Horn Book Award, the Arthur Ellis Award, and the Edgar Award. Tim was made an Officer of the Order of Canada in 2012. Find him online at  http://www.timwynne-jones.com/.

 

Author Interview with Karen Krossing

https://www.podbean.com/media/share/pb-qtcid-fa7880

An interview with children’s and YA author Karen Krossing, novelist and short story writer whose first picture book is coming out this fall. Karen has been an editor, a writing coach, and a creative writing instructor. Listen to her thoughts on sad endings, unforeseen plot twists, and writer’s block. 20 minutes. All ages.

A full transcript is available at CabinTales.ca.

 

Show Notes

[0:00] Intro

[1:20] Interview with Karen Krossing

 CA: Do you typically know the ending of your story at the beginning?

KK: … I know the major twists in the story but I don’t like to work out the details. … I’m aware of the sort of bones of the story, the structure of the story, and what’s needed …

 

[3:10] CA: Do you have a favorite plot twist from your own work or others?

KK: … I love when … the characters tell me a plot twist that I didn’t know. …

 

[4:00] CA: Do you have any advice that you would give to young writers stuck in the middle of a story?

KK: I have so many ideas about how to overcome writer’s block. … reread what you’ve already written … talk with a friend about why you’re stuck. … write outside of the story. …Asking the characters what happens next and where they want to go… get feedback from trusted friends or other writers … take a writing class or listen to a podcast about writing… try the put-it-in-the-drawer method. … And my final bit of advice is to set a daily writing goal. …

 

[8:00] CA: How do you feel about sad endings or endings where the good guy loses?

KK: I love them. …. If I see my characters coping with loss and disappointment and sadness, then maybe that will help me when I feel those things too.

 

[9:00] CA:. Are any of your stories based on your own childhood?

KK: …. The one that’s most closely based on my childhood, I would say, is my collection of link short stories, Take the Stairs. .. I have been writing more stories recently that go more into my childhood — the monster in the closet story. …

 

[11:20] CA: Do you have a favorite point of view to write from?

KK: … I like first person because it’s so immediate…. But my other favorite is third person close, … so you can, as a writer, observe that main character and give insights that maybe they don’t quite see or understand themselves. …I like present tense for its immediacy, but past can … give that place where you can observe or reflect.

 

[13:35] CA: Have you ever written a story about a transformation?

KK: … every main character transforms in some way

CA: Have you ever written about a parasite?

KK: No but that sounds fun. …

CA: And what about a split personality?

KK: … not a split personality but a many faceted personality…

 

[14:40] CA: Did you tell stories around the campfire as a kid?

KK: I feel like it was the listener, not the teller around the campfire. …

 

[15:40] CA: Do you have any favorite scary movies?

KK: One that really creeps me out is Coraline…. Those button eyes – they’re terrifying. …

 

[16:00] CA: Do you have any phobias? Well, closets…

KK: … Right now I feel like my phobia is germs…I don’t have phobias then. I have large fears….  going to the dark places in our own lives brings great story material.

 

[17:10] CA: Do you collect anything?

KK: … ideas, dreams, passions, wishes, hopes. …

 

[17:40] CA: And you don’t happen to be the 7th daughter of a 7th daughter?

KK: But I wish I was because that would feel really special, maybe magical. …

 

[18:00] CA: And for the last thing, I’m going to say a few words. This is not a psychiatric evaluation. And you just say the first thing that comes into your head. …

CA:. And that’s it. You passed. …. Thank you so much…

 

[19:00] Karen Krossing introduces herself

KK: I’m Karen Krossing. I’m an author for kids and teens. I write short stories, novels, picture books. I write because I’m fascinated by words, by the way they can make people laugh or cry or inspire them to do great things. And I want to use the power of words to do good in the world.

 

[19:30] Find out more about Karen Krossing

You can hear more creative writing advice from Karen Krossing on Cabin Tales Episode 1.5, “Author Interviews about Setting,” Episode 2, “Nasty People Meet Nasty Ends,” about Character, and Episode 8, “The Never-ending Story,” about Revision. Find out more about Karen Krossing and her books and her editorial and mentoring work from her website at KarenKrossing.com. You’ll find a detailed description of her author presentations and creative writing workshops, along with email links that you can use to invite her into your school.

 

[20:30] Thanks and coming up on the podcast

I’ll be back next week with leftovers from my interview with Tim Wynne-Jones, the multi-award-winning author of 35 books who is also a creative writing instructor and a musician.

Thanks for listening.

Credits:

Music on the podcast is from “Stories of the Old Mansion” by Akashic Records, provided by Jamendo (Standard license for online use).

Host: Catherine Austen writes books for children, short stories for adults, and reports for corporate clients. Visit her at www.catherineausten.com.

Guest Author:

KarenKrossing

Karen Krossing is the author of seven award-winning novels for kids and teens, including Punch Like a GirlBog, and Cut the Lights, plus new picture books on the way. Karen encourages new writers through workshops for kids, teens, and adults. She lives in Toronto. Find her online at www.karenkrossing.com.

 

Author Interview with Amanda West Lewis

https://www.podbean.com/media/share/pb-ymnha-f9b9a6

An interview with Amanda West Lewis, author of three novels and four non-fiction books for young people, andexecutive director of a theatre school. A 20-minute continuous segment not yet heard on Cabin Tales in which Amanda shares her preference for third-person point of view, her phobia of scary stories, and her love of Alice in Wonderland. All ages.

A full transcript of this episode is available at CabinTales.ca.

Show Notes

[0:00] Intro

 

[1:20] Interview with Amanda West Lewis

CA: Do you read your work out loud when you’re writing?

AWL: … All the time. … scene by scene, chapter by chapter. …

 

[1:40] CA: While you’re writing, do you choose words consciously to suit your genre or the impact you want on your reader? …How much do you think about the actual words as opposed to the story?

AWL: Words are enormously important to me…. I am conscious of the different colour of each book and what kind of language I will use for a particular genre. In the first, second, third, and fourth draft, I tend to be too conscious of the words. …

 

[3:00] CA: Do you have any favorite words?

AWL: Langourous is a gorgeous word….

 

[3:45] CA: How much time do you spend revising compared to drafting or planning? …

AWL: … 90%….

 

[4:15] CA: How do you feel about comeuppance tales or just desserts?

AWL: One feels enormously satisfied when a villain gets their comeuppance. … the real story for me is always the protagonist that you have empathy for, who is on the wrong path… and they become redeemed. … Comeuppance is… straight out villain gets melted. … That’s enormously satisfying. But it’s kind of a cheap thrill.

 

[5:35] CA: Do you have any feelings about sad endings?

AWL: Life is filled with sadness. … I think a sad story is necessary …We’re all going to be dead. And the more we can bring that into the conversation, the better. …

 

[7:45] CA: Do you have a favorite point of view to write from?

AWL: I gravitate toward third person because I really do enjoy what you can say on the outside of that. … I love that the reader can learn more about the protagonist than the protagonist knows about themselves. … That said, I just finished a book… in first person. … I had to be there and see it rather than show it. …

 

[10:00] CA: Have you ever written a monster story?

AWL: No … Other than writing a story that’s set in Hitler’s Germany. …

CA: Have you ever written a story about a curse?

AWL: … No, … people trying to invoke curses now and then…

CA: Have you ever written an outhouse scene?

AWL: My new book has an outhouse scene in it that I’m quite proud of … And I thought it was so wonderfully random that you would ask that question…

 

[11:25] CA: Did you tell stories around the campfire as a kid?

AWL: Yes … very important. Especially as night comes on and … the world outside you disappears and the light only lights what’s important….

 

[12:10] CA: Do you have a favorite scary story?

AWL: … Dracula scared the crap out of me. … But there’s a lot of contemporary scary stories I can’t read. … At some point as a child I got too scared, and so I don’t want to go there. So Dracula is about as far as I can go. …

 

[13:00] CA: And do you have any phobias?

AWL: Scary stories. … that’s my phobia, even more than the elevators.

 

[14:00] CA: … Do you collect anything?

AWL: I have an Alice collection. … different editions. …and some Alice pieces as well… I don’t collect anything else other than books …and fountain pens….

 

[15:00] CA: Have you ever done any theatre around Alice?

AWL: Yes. … one of my favourites. …  I’ve also done a production of Wind in the Willows and Great Expectations, which I adored doing with kids because these are good stories. …

 

[17:00] CA: And that you don’t happen to be the 7th daughter of a 7th daughter?

AWL: … I’m an only child…. It’s a different kind of power.

 

[17:50] CA: So how are you faring during COVID?

AWL: It’s been incredibly busy and actually incredibly creatively exciting, because I converted my business – which is a children’s theatre school – to online. …As artists, that’s the main gift we have to give the rest of the society, is our flexibility, our adaptability, and showing people that that’s what they need to be able to cultivate at a time like this….

 

[19:15] Amanda West Lewis introduces herself

AWL: Hi. I’m Amanda West Lewis. I write fiction and nonfiction novels and picture books for children and young adults. I’m also a professional calligrapher and a theatre artist and I run a children’s theatre school in Ottawa. Right now, in the midst of converting my theatre school to online programming, I’m finishing up a YA novel set in 1968 and a picture book collection of poems about the planets.

 

[20:00] Find out more about Amanda West Lewis

You can hear more creative writing advice from Amanda West Lewis on Cabin Tales Episode 1.5, “Author Interviews about Setting,” Episode 2.5, “Author Interviews about Character,” and Episode 8, “The Never-ending Story,” about revision. Find out more about Amanda West Lewis and her books and other arts from her website at AmandaWestLewis.com. Use the email link on her website to invite her into your school.

 

[21:15] Thanks and coming up on the podcast

I’ll be back next week with leftovers from my interview with Karen Krossing, novelist and picture book author from Toronto, Ontario.

Thanks for listening.

 

Credits:

Music on the podcast is from “Stories of the Old Mansion” by Akashic Records, provided by Jamendo (Standard license for online use).

Host: Catherine Austen writes books for children, short stories for adults, and reports for corporate clients. Visit her at www.catherineausten.com.

Guest Author:

Amanda_Lewis7qen5.jpg

Amanda West Lewis is a writer, theatre director and calligrapher. Her writing for children and youth ranges from historical YA fiction to craft books on the art of writing. She is the Artistic Director and Founder of The Ottawa Children’s Theatre. Find her online at www.amandawestlewis.com.

 

Author Interview with Lori Weber

https://www.podbean.com/media/share/pb-bq6ft-f8eb82

An interview with Lori Weber, Montreal author of ten YA books including Lightning Lou, Yellow Mini, and Deep Girls. Interview snippets not heard on the Cabin Tales podcast, edited into a 15-minute continuous segment in which Lori shares her love of fictional settings, her aversion to moral messages in fiction, and her unease around squirrels in her own yard. All ages.

A full transcript is available at CabinTales.ca. Read More

Author Interview with Rachel Eugster

https://www.podbean.com/media/share/pb-6gga7-f83edb

Playwright and picture book author Rachel Eugster shares her admiration of Shirley Jackson, her use of Scrivener as a writing tool, and her love of games, stories, and spindles. Featuring interview leftovers not included in the Cabin Tales podcast, edited into a 20-minute continuous segment. All ages.

A full transcript is available at CabinTales.ca. Read More

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