Interview with Newbery Honor Winner Margi Preus

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Introducing Margi…

Margi Preus writes children’s books, plays, comic operas and a variety of nonsense in Duluth, Minnesota. Her short fiction for adults and children has appeared in magazines, journals and anthologies. She teaches children’s literature at The College of St. Scholastica and an occasional course at University of Minnesota-Duluth. When not doing any of those things, she hikes, skis and paddles her way around the north country and anywhere else she might find herself in the world. For more info, visit her website.

Let the conversation begin!

What prompted you to pursue a career in writing?

Reading. Isn’t that the way it works? Eudora Welty said that perhaps “writing comes out of a superior devotion to reading.” That sounds right to me.

What was your favorite book to write?

The one I’m working on right now.

Who is your favorite author?

At the moment I am worshiping at the feet of David Mitchell.

Where do you get your ideas?

Ideas breed ideas. They’re like mice. If you have two, pretty soon you’ll have a litter of them, all gnawing holes in your cerebral cortex.

Advice for young writers?

Read.

Most valuable advice I’ve received?

Read.

When are you the most productive?

I try to write in the morning, but if I open my email first, which I invariably do, it can be afternoon before I start, and then it’s time to walk the dog.

What book was easiest?

There’s no such thing as an easy book to write. For me, anyway.

Best writing advice?

I was a student of John Gardner’s at SUNY-Binghamton (quite a while ago) and when I went to his office for the first time he said, “I hope you’re not going to any of your other classes.” It’s stuck with me. I’ve learned that it’s true: one’s writing life can be devoured by going to one’s other “classes,” by which I mean Facebook.

Dream Vacation?

Canoe trip in the Boundary Waters Canoe Area, fortunately nearby.   

Margi-Preus

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