I am delighted to have Crystalee Calderwood as my guest. She is another great, energized, busy, talented writer that I hope you’ll put on your list of favorites.
Crystalee, have you always wanted to be a writer? When did you get started?
I’ve been writing for almost as long as I can remember and reading for even longer. I remember writing some of my first short stories in first grade. I didn’t always want to be a writer; my career aspirations as a kid changed every five minutes. I didn’t really start thinking of writing as a feasible career until I was in grad school and started writing for children.
What is your favorite thing about writing?
That is a really hard question. I love almost everything about writing, from the moment when I come up with a cool concept, to making it come alive on the page, to revisiting it like visiting an old friend, for revisions. But my all time favorite thing about writing has to be that I know I’m creating worlds and characters that will someday come alive for the children who read my work.
What is the most challenging part of being a writer?
To me, the most challenging parts have to do with publishing: finding markets, sending out manuscripts, and then once your book is published, marketing and promoting it.
Who is your favorite author?
Another very hard question, since I rarely hate any authors and love different authors for different reasons. I rarely ever read adult novels, but I love picture book writers like Mo Willems, Karen Katz and Katherine Ayres (who I owe so much to). In YA novels, Lois Lowry, Jane Yolen and Sharon Flake come to mind.
What’s new that you’re working on right now?
I’m finishing up my very first full-length YA novel! (Hopefully, it will be finished by time your readers see this interview.) It is a modern YA novel set in Pittsburgh about a 17-year-old named Chelsea Anderson who must fulfill a volunteer requirement at school. She finds herself in the Hill District, a predominantly black area of Pittsburgh, tutoring kids at an after school program. The novel is about coming-of-age and breaking out of your comfort zone as much as it is about race. It is also based on some true events in my life, although my breaking out occurred when I was 24, not 17.
What are your goals for the rest of 2009?
Finish this YA novel! I also hope to revise the novel in verse I wrote for my thesis in grad school. And, of course, I’m still trying to get more things published: poetry, short stories, but especially picture books.
To find out more about Crystal and purchase her awesome book use these links:
The link to my blog is http://crystaleecalderwood.blogspot.com
You can buy my book Angeline Jellybean from Amazon.com or http://www.4rvpublishingllc.com/Store-Books.html