Today I'm excited to be following up yesterday's review with an author interview with Aurora Zahni! The questions below come from both myself and a student at my middle school. This interview will be cross posted to our library blog.
What inspired you to become a writer?
I’ve always loved language and characters and writing is such a wonderful way to express yourself. When a person reads a story it becomes a shared human experience where they get to walk into someone else’s world for a while. I wanted to be a part of that.
How do you choose a topic to write about?
I always pick a character and a journey first. Whatever themes I try to get across need to be told through their story. Ellie’s story is about awareness and acceptance, so the plot followed suit.
Do you have a favorite book and/or author?
Too many to name, but the biggest influences while writing Ellie were The Bell Jar by Sylvia Plath and Are You There God It’s Me, Margaret? By Judy Blume. And some people may notice a lot of similarities with the Wizard of Oz and Pee Wee’s Big Adventure as well.
Ellie seems like a little bit of a lost soul at points, do you see yourself at all in her?
Ha! Ellie is me. All of the unfounded confidence and confusion of my adolescence manifested into a better, braver version of me.
Did you have to do any research while writing Ellie Stanton?
Other than checking bus schedules and fares all I did is watch tons of TV shows and movies Ellie would love. That’s how I discovered that Kim Possible is the greatest cartoon ever.
Who is your favorite character in Ellie Stanton?
I love Ellie’s point of view and the way she processes things, but Hilary Palmer is my hero. She was so captivating to me that I had to run off and write her a novel of her own.
And one last one since this interview will be cross posted to my schools library website:
Do you have advice for students who want to be writers?
Read as much as possible. You can learn so much from stories that inspire passion in you. With practice and work you will become a better technical writer, but reading amazing books will teach you how to build a world and tell a story.