Sharon Creech - Author
Sharon Creech is a former English teacher who now writes warm, engaging books for children and young adults. Her award-winning books include Walk Two Moons, Chasing Redbird and Absolutely Normal Chaos. Her latest book is Heartbeat, about a 12-year-old girl who loves to run as a way to make sense of her quickly changing life. Sharon now lives in the States with her family, but spent years living in England and Switzerland.
RIF: Your latest book, Heartbeat, is written as a long poem. Do you like writing stories in poem or narrative form better?
Sharon Creech: Each presents a different sort of challenge, and I like moving from one style to the other. In the prose novels, here is a larger canvas and room to explore many different paths. In the free verse novels, the form dictates a 'paring down,' and with that comes a beautiful simplicity which I love.
RIF: Heartbeat's heroine, Annie, loves to run. Is that one of your real-life hobbies? What else do you like to do in your free time?
SC: I used to run, yes, but now I prefer to walk. Many jumbled areas of a book are sorted out on my walks. In the summer I have the most free time, and I love to kayak, swim, garden (planting things, but not weeding) and read. My husband and I also just finished fixing up a playhouse for our granddaughter.
RIF: What was your favorite part about being a teacher?
SC: My absolute favorite part was talking about whatever book we were reading. Those class discussions were so illuminating!
RIF: You write a lot about middle-school age kids and young teenagers. Why do you like that age group?
SC: I am intrigued by that age because they are on that fragile cusp between childhood and young adulthood and because they can bounce from one realm to the other within minutes. Also, there is so much hope and possibility in children this age--they could be anything, do anything.
RIF: Do you ever show your writing drafts to anyone?
SC: I never used to show them to anyone--the editor was the first to see the manuscripts. Now, I let both my grown daughter and my agent see them when they are near completion. Their comments are often helpful in identifying remaining trouble spots.
RIF: What was it like to live in Europe for all those years? Do you miss it?
SC: I loved living in Europe, and there are many things I miss about it, including the ability to travel to many different countries as easily as we fly from state to state here; the incredible scenery; and the sense of history in every town. I was overseas 19 years, though, and was missing the States and am glad to be back in my home country.
RIF: Did you read to your children when they were young? Did you ever write stories for them?
SC: Yes, I did read to them a lot when they were young, and I occasionally wrote stories for them. One of them was called Turley Frogis, about a talking turtle!
RIF: What were your favorite books when you were a kid?
SC: I don't remember titles of books I read when I was young; perhaps I did not read all that much, alas. I've been making up for that ever since, reading voraciously!
RIF: Several of your books are connected by characters or places. Why do you decide to do that?
SC: It feels natural. When I finish a book, those characters are still roaming in my mind, and although I don't want to do a series, those previous characters seem to lead me to the next ones.
RIF: What advice do you have for kids who want to be writers?
SC: Read a lot and write a lot! Have fun, experiment with all kinds of styles and voices. Short things are good practice.
Write to Sharon Creech!
c/o HarperCollins Children's Books
1350 Avenue of the Americas
New York, NY 10019
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Visit Sharon's website!