Avi is an award winning author (2003 Newbery award for Crispin: the Cross of Lead (Hyperion) two Newbery Honors, two Horn Book awards, and an O’Dell award, as well as many children’s choice awards). He has written more than 75 books since his first book was Things That Sometimes Happen, published in 1970 (recently reissued). I had the pleasure to meet him twice at my son’s school in California and sat in his young writer’s workshop (for the students).
If someone asks me which my favorite books from Avi are, I will tell him/her that I really don’t know. In my house, we have five bookcases filled with books and two shelves are dedicated for Avi’s books. They are great books because Avi is a great story teller! For more information about Avi and his books, please visit Avi’s website or follow him on Twitter and Facebook.
J.J. Gow: Would you please tell us about your new books, School of the Dead (coming out in June) and The Most Important Thing: Stories about Sons, Fathers, and Grandfathers? What inspired you to write these stories? What are the message that you want your readers to grasp from your writings?
Avi: School of the Dead is a ghost story about a haunted school. It is set in San Francisco. I had the idea when visiting a school. The Most Important thing, is a collection of short stories about father/son relationships, which can often be complex, even as they are powerful. They were written over a number of years without thinking of a collection.
J.J. Gow: Do you hide any secrets in your books that only a few people will find?
Avi: I don’t hide secrets in my books.
J.J. Gow: Every time we read your books, we are deeply immersed in the stories and characters you created. When we read Old Wolf, we felt we were part of the wolf pack. When we read Sophia’s War, we were transformed to the period of revolutionary war and in the mind of a young girl. When we read the books of the Crispin series, you bring your readers to era of middle age. How did do your research for your books and create the characters (from historical novel, a boy, a girl, and story with animal as the main character)?
Avi: I do my research from reading many books. I used to be a librarian, so I know how to do the research effectively.
J.J. Gow: What was your hardest scene and the most fun scene to write?
Avi: I find all my books hard to write.
J.J. Gow: Do you have someone, a friend or a family member, to read your final draft before sending it to your editor?
Avi: The first person to know my books is my wife. I read them to her. She’s a fine critic.
J.J. Gow: Which was your favorite book when you were a child? What memory do you have associating with it?
Avi: Over the years—as I grew older—different books were my favorites. That is an ever-changing list.
J.J. Gow: We remembered you told us during your school visit that your book, “Old Wolf” was inspired by your old dog. Did you have a new dog after your old dog passed? What other pets do you have?
Avi: Alas, we do not have a dog now.
J.J. Gow: What is your favorite snack and beverage?
Avi: My favorite snack and beverage? Cookies and milk.
J.J. Gow: Thank you for giving me the opportunity to interview you and share with us the news of your upcoming book – School of Dead!