LEC: Which of your children's books was the most difficult (or easiest) to write? Why?
ALISON ACHESON: Most difficult to write. Molly’s Cue. Took YEARS. I threw it out in entirety several times. I’ve estimated that more than 1400 pages went into its 250 or so. The theme kept changing. I’d think it was about one thing, and then it would pull me right off the road and say, “No, it’s about something else.” I had to follow it around for awhile. Mud Girl was not what I’d call “easy”...but it was the smoothest.
EILEEN COOK: The hardest book to write is always the book I'm currently writing. Every time I start a new manuscript I wonder how in the world did I ever accomplish this before? I have at least one diva moment (sometimes a few dozen) where I throw myself dramatically across the bed and wail that "I can't do it!" I can't figure out the characters or what should happen next. I keep thinking that it should get easier, but so far no luck. Eventually the book clicks into place and then I wonder why it seemed hard.
ALAN CUMYN: Dear Sylvia, the third volume in my Owen/Sylvia series, poured out once I had realized the way I needed to write it, but that took a long time. At the end of the previous book, After Sylvia, Sylvia gives Owen a gift of stationery – envelopes and paper – and asks him to write to her. So I knew that the third and final book would include letters by Owen. I just didn't realize that his letters would take over and become the entire book, especially since he is a terrible writer in the beginning and can't spell to save his life. But once I throttled my internal editor and just let Owen write, that book came out like a dream.
CHRIS MCMAHEN: The most challenging one to write was Tabloidology, mainly because I had to blow the book up and start pretty much over during the editing process. Fortunately, I worked under the perceptive eye of my editor, Sarah Harvey, who helped me pull the book together.
No book is easy to write (at least, for me), but my latest, Box of Shocks seemed the easiest simply because the plot just rolled out of my imagination right down to the ending. There are always changes to be made during the editing process, but the essence of the story was there right from the start. Once again, with some amazing editorial help, Sarah enabled me to refine the book. I’ve come to realize that through the experiences of writing all of my books, there’s nothing more valuable than an outstanding editor.
ROBERT RAYNER: Walker’s Runners was the most difficult to write, because it was my first ‘very own’ book, and because I was more or less new to the world of publishing and really didn’t know what I was doing. (I’m not sure I do now.) Also – I was still teaching and principal-ling at the time, so had to fit in writing around meetings, school events, preparing, marking, etc. Looking back I don’t know how I managed it.
JUDY ANN SADLER: I wrote a book on tying all kinds of different knots and how to use them to make cool stuff. I didn't know anything about knotting so I did tons of research and experimenting to figure out how to explain the intricacies of tying knots. It was a challenge, but I love learning and using new skills, creating original projects and inspiring others to be creative too.