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 really 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 www.EileenSpinelli.com
For more on books, please visit my blog www.ThisKidReviewsBooks.com
Categories: Newspaper Columns