Erin (Soderberg) Downing has written more than a dozen books for kids, tweens, and young adults. Her new YA romance—None of the Regular Rules—was published as an e-book exclusive on November 20, 2012. The first book in her forthcoming middle-grade series, The Quirks: Welcome to Normal, will be published by Bloomsbury in May 2013 (written under the name Erin Soderberg). Erin’s next novel for tweens—Best Friends Forever (or Until Someone Better Comes Along) will be published by Simon & Schuster in January 2014. Before turning to writing full time, Erin worked as a children’s book editor and marketer, spent a few months as a cookie inventor, and also worked for Nickelodeon. She lives, writes, and eats out in Minneapolis with her husband and three young children. More information about her books can be found here.
Let the conversation begin!
When are you the most productive?
I’m always most productive in the mornings, right after I drop my kids off at school. I have a first grader and twins who are still in preschool, so I only have about two hours a day in which to write. Sometimes, I manage nothing at all…but other days I can crank out 2,000 words in my short little window of time!
Daily word count?
I usually aim for 1,000 words a day during the week. I like to take weekends off—unless I have a deadline, and then I work every day! Sometimes, I can squeeze out 3,000 words or more for a few days in a row when I have a book or revision due.
What was the first live concert you ever attended?
I can’t remember my first concert, but I remember the best one! I went to the Britney Spears Toxic tour when I was living in Stockholm, Sweden, and it was amazing. It was the tour where she wore a naked suit made out of diamonds or something. What could be cooler than that?
Is the glass half empty or half full? What is in the glass?
It’s half full, unless it’s wine—and then it’s half empty, so I obviously need to pour myself some more.
What is the worst possible name to call a child?
What do you miss about being a child?
I wish I didn’t get so cold when I go out to go sledding as an adult—I seem to remember staying outside for hours when I was a kid, but now my feet go numb when it’s freezing out.
What is the best part of writing? Worst part?
The best part is getting to make stuff up everyday. I’m an only child, so I spent a lot of my childhood making up stories and friends for myself. Now, I get paid to make those things up and lie all day! The worst part is the self-doubt. There are days (months, sometimes) when you feel absolutely terrible about yourself—but as your own boss and only coworker, there isn’t really anyone who can tell you you’re doing a good job and to just get over yourself already. Actually, my agent is really good at doing that, but I don’t always like to let him see all my neurotic moments!
How long have you been writing? Does it feel like yesterday?
I’ve been writing with an eye toward publication for about ten years. I always loved to write, but I never saw myself as a “writer.” I wrote my first book while I was living in Sweden (I probably started right around the time of that Britney Spears concert, actually!), and I’ve been churning out a book or two a year ever since.
If you could snap your fingers and appear somewhere else, where would you be?
Tuscany. Or maybe Paris. I went to both of those places on my Honeymoon, and would love to get back there every year if I could!
If you could date any celebrity, who would it be and why?
I wouldn’t actually want to date anyone famous (too much hassle!), but I would love to spend some time with a celebrity chef. I love to eat, and it would be fantastic to have access to amazing restaurants and meals!
What specific thing have you done that impressed yourself?
I have changed a diaper in almost every location imaginable. Quite a few of them were remarkable feats.
What’s your passion?
Eating, playing with my kids, swimming in lakes, spending time with my husband and friends, writing, reading—I’m passionate about a lot of things!
What does your room look like?
The walls are all painted bright colors and filled with pictures from all the places I’ve lived. There are piles of clothes everywhere, but I always have a nicely made bed!
If you could have one super human power, what would it be?
I’d love to be able to fly—I hate airplanes, but love travel. It would be great if I could get places without getting on a plane!
What is your favorite season?
Fall! My birthday is in October!
What’s the best dinner you ever had?
Something called Gnocchi alla Nonna at a tiny little restaurant in Siena, Italy. It was gnocchi hand-stuffed with pistachios!