Elizabeth Winthrop is the author of more than 50 works of fiction for all ages. She is the winner of the Dorothy Canfield Fisher Award, the Pen Syndicated Fiction Award, The California Young Readers Medal and the Jane Addams Peace Prize Honor Book among others. Her fiction has been selected by the American Library Association Notable Books of the Year, Best American Short Stories, Children’s Choice Awards, National Council of Teachers of English Books for A Global Society, Barnes and Noble Best Children’s Books of the Year, the International Reading Association Teacher’s Choice List, Nick Jr. Magazine’s Best Books for Children, the New York Times Best Illustrated Books, The Bank Street College Best Books for Children and the School Library Journal’s Best of the Best List among others. For more info, visit her website.
Let the conversation begin!
What made you fall in love with writing?
I’ve always loved to read and to write stories. I was a journal writer from an early age, perhaps because I grew up in a large family, squashed in the middle of five brothers. Writing gave me a secret place all my own.
What was your favorite book to write?
Such a hard question to answer. My favorite book to write is often the one I’m working on at the moment. It’s the bubble, the world I’m living in right now and it’s hard to go back to those other worlds. My favorite characters from my books are William from THE CASTLE IN THE ATTIC and THE BATTLE FOR THE CASTLE, Grace from COUNTING ON GRACE and Ella from THE RED-HOT RATTOONS. Hope that answers your question.
Who was your favorite author as a child?
My mother was a British war bride so many of the books I read when I was young came from England. My absolute favorite was THE LION, THE WITCH AND THE WARDROBE by C.S. Lewis.
What advice would you give young writers?
Practice your craft. Take yourself seriously. Read, read, read and find some time to write every single day even if it’s one line of poetry or a bit of description. Writing daily teaches you how to observe the world around you, how to capture a single instant with a few words. This practice will lead you to developing interesting characters and creating the scenes that introduce those characters to your readers.
What is the most valuable advice you’ve ever received?
Writing is 90% perseverance and 10% talent. This taught me to write when I don’t think the story’s going anywhere or when my last manuscript was turned down or when I’ve got a cold or…..or….or….
Tell us about the book you’re working on.
I’m writing a personal history for adult readers about my parents’ love affair during World War II in London. I’m bringing all my fictional talents to recreating their story based on interviews with my mother and the letters my father wrote to his family from England, the Italian front and from behind the lines in occupied France. It’s quite a story!