Pam Muñoz Ryan - Author
Pam Muñoz Ryan is an award-winning author who has written more than 25 books. She's written for children of all ages, from picture books to longer stories of historical fiction. Some of her books have been translated into Spanish.
RIF: You've written for many ages. Which is your favorite group?
Pam Muñoz Ryan: I enjoy writing for many different ages and can't say I have a favorite. Changing formats and genres, between picture books and novels, fiction and nonfiction, keeps me enthusiastic and challenged.
RIF: Of your heroines/main characters, to who do you most relate?
PMR: I would like to think that I'm as brave and courageous as many of my heroines, but I'm certain I'm not. In personality, I am probably most like Isabel in Esperanza Rising and in quirky habits, similar to Naomi in Becoming Naomi León [an upcoming book].
RIF: What kind of research do you do for your books? Do you travel at all, especially when you're writing historical books like Esperanza Rising?
PMR: Although it is based loosely on my grandmother's immigration story, Esperanza Rising is a work of fiction. But because it's historical fiction, the time period and setting needed to be as accurate as I could possibly depict. I researched extensively in a local history room at a library and interviewed many people who lived in the same camp as my grandmother, including family members. I did use family names in the book, but those characters are composites of who they might have been, via my imagination.
RIF: What were your favorite books growing up?
PMR: My first memory of books was a set of encyclopedias at my grandmother's house. But once I found the illustrated Greek myths, I never went any farther. Looking back, I now realize how those stories were riddled with violence and torment. Horrible. Frightening! How I loved them! When I was a little older, around fifth grade and junior high, I became hooked on the "Little House" books by Laura Ingalls Wilder. I also remember reading Treasure Island and Gone With the Wind.
RIF: What roles did reading and books play in your childhood?
PMR: From about fifth grade on, I spent many long, hot summers riding my bike to the library. The library became my favorite hang out because my family didn't have a swimming pool and the library was air-conditioned.
RIF: What are some of your hobbies?
PMR: Reading, walking on the beach, watching movies, traveling.
RIF: Do you have any upcoming books?
PMR: Becoming Naomi León, a novel that Scholastic will publish in August 2004. In spring 2005, a picture book, Nacho and Lolita, illustrated by Claudia Rueda, also with Scholastic, will be released. In the fall of 2005, Hyperion Books for Children will publish There Was No Snow on Christmas Eve, illustrated by Dennis Nolan.
RIF: What advice do you have for kids who want to be writers?
PMR: Daydream a little everyday and pretend often. Read lots of different kinds of books so you will know what is good and what is not-so-good literature. Write lots of different things: lists, stories, menus, notes. (Lists are my favorites.) Keep a notebook or a journal, if you like. Or, simply take time to pay attention to people, places, and things so you can soak in all the little details. Later, if you choose to write down your memories, the important details will probably surface. Use your five senses to describe things. Again, read.
Get in touch with Pam Muñoz Ryan!
Visit her website at www.pammunozryan.com.