Author Interview with Randi Reisfeld

Get to know Randi…

Randi Reisfeld is a prolific author of novels for middle grade and teen readers. Her book series, T*Witches was adapted for two Disney Channel TV-movies, and her newest novel, What The Dog Said, for readers ages 10-14, is out now.

Randi loves to travel, sing really loudly and badly along with her iPod, hang out with her amazing friends and family. She reads compulsively—mostly historical fiction. She convinces herself that she’s now gotten an education in history. Currently, she’s engrossed in Ken Follett’s Fall of Giants and Winter of the World, plus anything by Beverly Swerling. She’s also into well-written mostly contemporary murder mysteries. Tops on the latter list is the Girl With The Dragon Tattoo trilogy and anything by Jo Nesbo. Randi blogs on Goodreads.com. Unsurprisingly, her favorite subjects in school were English and Social Studies. For more info, check out her website.

Let the conversation begin!

When was the last time you did something for the first time? 

Learned to believe that I should write the story I want to write – not what an editor at a publishing house suggests – even though I won’t have an income. Scary! 

If you knew you could not fail, what would you do?

Write, write, write – stop procrastinating and doubting my abilities. 

What is your definition of a productive day?

Total fantasy: Getting to the library at 9:00 AM, when it opens. That’s the place I do my writing. I would write for as many focused hours as I could. Then I’d get the chores done and check off the stuff on my to-do list. Next, I’d un-clutter my home office. I’d finally earn my relaxing time in the evening. Oh yeah – and exercise. That’s a biggie and very telling that it’s an afterthought while answering this question! 

What is your definition of a relaxing day?

Hanging on the couch with a gentle breeze coming through the window; getting lost in a book I love and playing “Words With Friends.” (And being so clever, I beat everyone I play with). 

What was your favorite thing to play with as a child? 

Creating scrapbooks with pictures of characters I’d made up. I didn’t know it at the time, but looking back, I see that I spent most of my childhood in a fantasy dream-world, creating little stories. PS: I still have them. On one hand, I envy how I wasn’t self-conscious about what I was writing. On the other? OMG, they were awful! 

If you could be any animal in the world for 24 hours, which animal would you be? 

Neither prey nor predator. Most likely a much beloved and over-pampered puppy. 

Have you ever jumped out of a plane? If you knew you would survive, would you do it?

No—and no! 

Can you share your journey from writing to author?

For many years, I worked at 16 Magazine. Now, we’d call it a “fanzine.” We interviewed  teen idols, and wrote articles about them. Books used to come across my desk for review, including celebrity biographies. After reading them, I realized “I could do that.” I took the initiative, called publishing companies to find out the editors of these books. Then I called the editor and offered myself up as an author of celebrity bios. (Clearly I wasn’t terrified of rejection at that naïve point in my life). My first book was a bio of Johnny Depp. It was beyond exciting to have my name on a book cover. 

What is your biggest pet peeve?

It makes me crazy when people talk in the “quiet” area of the library where others are studying or writing. I don’t want to be that person who scolds them, but occasionally, I do. Then I spend the rest of my time feeling crappy about it. Doesn’t make for a productive day! 

What commercial annoys you the most? What is your favorite commercial?

Any of the loud ones, where you feel like you’re being screamed out. Bob’s Furniture is one example. Or the stupid ones like the Geico lizard. Either mute or if a DVR-d show, speed through them. Love the clever ones, like the one for Volkswagen with the Clapping Song. Or the Bud Light commercial where the dog is named “Wego.” The catch-phase is “Here, Wego.” Cracks me up every time.

Name a turning point in your life that makes you smile.

That’s easy – the birth of my children!

If you were to be on a reality TV show, which would it be and why?

I’d never EVER be on a reality show. They’re a sure sign of the apocalypse…wait, scratch that. I love love love The Amazing Race. It’s often hysterically funny, plus you get to see cool places around the world. I wish I could be as in shape and fearless as most of the participants. In my family, we choose teams and place bets on who will win. 

Think of the craziest What If question. Do you think you could write an entire book based off of this question?

Don’t know if it’s crazy, but if done well, could be engrossing. What if a diverse group of teen girls—runaways, each for her own secret reason—actually lived full time in New York City’s Central Park. How would they survive and keep their location secret? I’ve gone as far as scratching out some characters, and motives. I know one of them for sure is a teenage Suri Cruise type who’s resented being shoved in front of paparazzi cameras all her life; used as a pawn between her super-famous parents. Love the idea that she runs away and chooses to go into deep hiding where she has to fend for herself in primitive and dangerous circumstances – the furthest place you could be from unwanted fame. She’s the leader of the group. Another is probably a pregnant escapee from a cult, who will at some point give birth. Some will betray the group; some will be betrayed; not all will survive. I’ve actually attended a program called “Surviving Central Park.” I’d like to write that book, but not sure I could make it work.

If someone rented a billboard for you, what would you put on it?

I’d squash that idea in the bud. Would never want to be that famous. I’d be obsessively self-critical.

If you had to enter a competition for the “Most Uselessly Unique Talent,” what would your talent be?

I’m a rockstar at dishwasher-loading.

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