My October UBFP Newspaper Article : An Interview With Eileen Spinelli

1 Oct

I write for the UBFP Newspaper!

I wanted to share the article I wrote for the Upper Bucks Free Press (the newspaper I write for) for the October issue! The online version was published. To see the online version of the newspaper, click HERE (see page 16).

An Interview With Eileen Spinelli!

I am lucky that I am able to meet a lot of the great local authors. I was especially happy when I met on of my favorite authors, West Chester resident, Eileen Spinelli. Every time I see Mrs. Spinelli at an event, she is always upbeat, full of energy, and very happy to talk anyone. The bio on Mrs. Spinelli’s website reveals how she got started as a writer;

“As a young child I spent Saturdays at the Sellers Memorial Library in Upper Darby, Pennsylvania. It was there that I fell in love with words and decided to become a writer. My father gave me his old black manual typewriter. The key of Z stuck. Fine. I would not write stories about zebras or zippers. My father made me a desk from orange crates. My mother filled a box with paper. And that’s how I began.”


I was happy when Mrs. Spinelli quickly said yes when I asked her if I could interview her for the UBFP!



Erik – Thank you for doing this interview Mrs. Spinelli! How many books have you written all together?

Eileen Spinelli – “I have lost count of the books I’ve written. But it’s over 50 altogether.”

Erik – That’s a lot of books! Can you tell us about your writing process, how you get inspiration and who you write for?

Eileen Spinelli – I write in my home office. It’s very cozy with lots of books and photos of family and friends and windows that look out onto the garden. I try to write most mornings. I write longhand first…sitting in a comfy overstuffed yellow chair. Then when my piece is ready to type I go over to my computer.

So many things inspire me…my own childhood memories…my children and grandchildren…books…music…newspaper articles…the seasons 


I think I write for the child I used to be…for the child who still lives in me. Sometimes–

as in certain poems I write for the grown-up that I am now.

Erik– Your office sounds really nice and a great place for inspiration! What is your favorite topic to write about?

Eileen Spinelli– Whew! I have so many topics I like to write about. Here are some: kindness…nature…family…friendship…the seasons…birds…animals…whales…people in history…caring for the earth…spirituality…courage…humor…relationships between the generations…

Erik– Speaking of great topics, your picture book, “Nora’s Ark,” published earlier this year, is a great re-telling of Noah’s Ark. My sister and I norasarkreally enjoyed it. Along with all of your wonderful picture books, you’ve written some terrific middle-grade books too (one of my all-time favorite books is “The Dancing Pancake”). Which do you prefer to write – middle-grade books or picture books?

Eileen Spinelli– I’m so glad you like THE DANCING PANCAKE which was partly inspired by a homeless woman I met in Washington DC many years ago. I enjoy writing both–middle grade books and picture books. But I seem to get more ideas for picture books.


Erik– I love that on your website you list your favorite author as your husband, Jerry Spinelli. Mr. Spinelli has written some of the best middle grade novels I have ever read (Maniac Magee (Newberry Award), Loser, Jake and Lilly, Stargirl). What’s it like having two famous authors in one house?

Eileen Spinelli– Two authors in one house…it’s like having our own private writing group–or in-house editor. If I run into a snag while I’m working I simply walk down the hall to my husband’s office and he and I will brainstorm until the snag is sorted through. If he is uncertain about a certain plot thread…he walks over to my office and we discuss it. We understand the highs and lows of the writing business. We can cheer each other on…comfort each other when the writing isn’t going well…and celebrate happy writing events together over hot chocolate at the Gryphon Cafe.

Erik– I bet the Spinelli grandchildren get the BEST bed-time stories! What’s your next book about and when does it come out?

Eileen Spinelli– My book ANOTHER DAY AS EMILY will be out in 2014. It’s a middle grade novel about a girl who is going through some disappointments and decides to take on the persona of the poet Emily Dickinson as a way of coping.

Erik– I can’t wait to read it! Thank you very much Mrs. Spinelli!

To learn more about Eileen Spinelli and her books, please visit

For more on books, please visit my blog

37 Responses to “My October UBFP Newspaper Article : An Interview With Eileen Spinelli”

  1. The Story Reading Ape October 1, 2013 at 6:54 am #

    Erik, there seems to be a problem with Mrs Spinelli’s web link – it only takes you to a picture – not her website, plus her website doesn’t show when you use only the .com bit 🙂


    • clarbojahn October 1, 2013 at 5:42 pm #

      If you click on the word “enter” it will take you into her web site of books where you can click on other words. 🙂 Hope this helps. 🙂


      • thiskidreviewsbooks October 1, 2013 at 7:56 pm #

        Thank you for answering that Ms. Bowman-Jahn! 🙂


      • clarbojahn October 2, 2013 at 10:16 am #

        My Pleasure! 🙂


      • The Story Reading Ape October 2, 2013 at 6:08 am #

        Thanks for that – Time to upgrade my beer bottle bottom type glasses (and my eyes to brain connections) methinks 😀


      • clarbojahn October 2, 2013 at 10:20 am #



    • thiskidreviewsbooks October 1, 2013 at 7:47 pm #

      Thanks! If you look in the picture, there’s a link that says “enter” click on it to go into the blog. The picture is just the cover. 🙂


  2. rnewman504 October 1, 2013 at 8:51 am #

    Great interview Erik! Looking forward to reading Nora’s Ark.


  3. Cordelia Dinsmore October 1, 2013 at 9:18 am #

    Thank you, Erik, for the wonderful interview with Mrs. Spinelli. Her husband is one of my favorite authors, and I envy you the opportunity you had to interview her.


    • thiskidreviewsbooks October 1, 2013 at 7:48 pm #

      Thank you Ms. Dinsmore! Mrs. Spinelli is VERY nice and so talented. I am really honored that she did the interview!


  4. Patricia Tilton October 1, 2013 at 10:42 am #

    What a professional and well-written interview for the paper. You captured Mrs. Spinelli’s personality so well. Can’t imagine what fun it would be to have your spouse and author — what fun. They certainly have written a lot of books and I know how much you have enjoyed her husbands MG novels. And I like the idea of her upcoming MG novel.


    • thiskidreviewsbooks October 1, 2013 at 7:49 pm #

      I think the Spinelli house must be creative central! I am glad you enjoyed the interview! 🙂


  5. Catherine Johnson October 1, 2013 at 1:01 pm #

    Great interview, Erik! What a super literary family.


    • thiskidreviewsbooks October 1, 2013 at 7:51 pm #

      Isn’t it great! I wonder if the Spinelli’s would notice if they all of a sudden have an extra “grandson” for Thanksgiving… 😉


  6. julie rowan zoch October 1, 2013 at 1:34 pm #

    Oh, how wonderful! This feels like sipping a cup of tea with both you and Mrs. Spinelli! Thanks, Erik.


  7. stanleyandkatrina October 1, 2013 at 2:46 pm #

    Love her books! Great interview, as always. Is that West Chester, PA? That would make her our neighbor – or close enough. 😉


    • thiskidreviewsbooks October 1, 2013 at 7:53 pm #

      Yup West Chester PA! Mr. and Mrs. Spinelli are locals! If you ever get a chance to meet her at a book signing, you have to go! She is so nice and super talented!


      • stanleyandkatrina October 1, 2013 at 7:55 pm #

        We will look for them both. Thanks for the heads-up!


      • thiskidreviewsbooks October 2, 2013 at 6:55 pm #



  8. clarbojahn October 1, 2013 at 5:37 pm #

    Thanks for a wonderful interview, Erik! I am not familiar with either author so now to make an acquaintance in the library. I look forward to reading some of each author’s books. 🙂


    • thiskidreviewsbooks October 1, 2013 at 7:55 pm #

      You will find a TON of AWESOME titles! Both Mr. and Mrs Spinelli have so many great books! Enjoy! 🙂


  9. Robyn Campbell October 1, 2013 at 9:20 pm #

    Super funtastic interview Erik! You did an excellent job. I’m bettin’ it was lots of fun too. I haven’t read Nora’s Ark. But I’m thinkin’ I wanna. Thanks for this.


    • thiskidreviewsbooks October 2, 2013 at 6:57 pm #

      Thank you Ms. Campbell! I think you would like Nora’s Ark! It’s really cute! 😀


  10. Darlene October 1, 2013 at 9:58 pm #

    A wonderful interview Erik. I love learning more about other authors. How cool that they are both authors. I’m not sure if our house could handle that. (My husband is happy to let me do the writing!)


    • thiskidreviewsbooks October 2, 2013 at 7:00 pm #

      Well, to tell you the truth, I don’t really know how they do it. But they do! 😀 And they are both VERY kind (not that you and your husband aren’t 🙂 )! 😀


  11. tinamcho October 1, 2013 at 10:17 pm #

    Great interview! That’s funny Mrs. Spinelli has “forgotten” how many books she’s written. Oh, to be able to say that some day!


  12. Michelle Isenhoff October 5, 2013 at 7:34 pm #

    Great interview. I’d love to meet Mrs. Spinelli sometime. Her office sounds like a fabulous place to write, and the “staff” down the hallway sure would be nice! 🙂


  13. Myra GB November 7, 2013 at 6:56 pm #

    I’ve read the dancing pancake and enjoyed it greatly! It’s written in verse, right? I think i must have read it during our novels-in-verse theme.


    • thiskidreviewsbooks November 8, 2013 at 7:39 pm #

      YES, it is written in verse! If you liked The Dancing Pancake, I’d recommend Where I Live (also in verse) by Mrs. Spinelli too! 🙂


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