Why is writing important to you and why do you think it's an important medium for the world?
Writing is my way to help children become life-long readers, to encourage their curiosity, and to help them learn more about the world in which we live. Reading is the key to success in school, and also in life beyond the classroom. If my books draw a child in and make that young reader excited to learn more or read more, then I’ve done something worthwhile. Reading should be fun, while also introducing readers to people, places, and ideas that they might not otherwise encounter – whether the characters and settings are real or imaginary.
What are your tried and tested remedies to cure writer's block? I find that if I’m stuck (luckily it doesn’t happen often), I do something that seems mindless. For example, I organize a closet or a drawer. My mind keeps on working, and by the time my drawer is neat, I’m ready to return to writing. I shared this with a 5th grade class recently, and the teacher later called to tell me that three students who seemed “blocked” reorganized their desks. She didn’t mention the quality of the resulting writing, but she was thrilled about the neat desks.
What is your favorite time to write? If I’m totally engrossed in a project, anytime works. If I’m just starting one, I’m most creative in the afternoon or evening.
What's the best piece of writing advice you've ever received and would like to impart to other writers? Never give up. As Isaac Asimov said, ““You must keep sending work out; you must never let a manuscript do nothing but eat its head off in a drawer. You send that work out again and again, while you're working on another one. If you have talent, you will receive some measure of success - but only if you persist.”
What excites you most about being a writer in today's age? If there’s any time that young readers need hope and encouragement, it’s now. Despite online options, kids still want to read print books, and I find that exciting. My latest book, Storm Warning, is about a 12-year-old boy trapped by rising floodwaters. It explores of the idea of what it takes to be a hero. We need heroes, and I strive to write books that empower young readers to live life courageously no matter what challenges they may face.
Elizabeth Raum's Storm Warning is out Wednesday with Reycraft Books.