Darcy Pattison is an award-winning author of numerous books, and the author of the Sylvan Dell Fall 2011 Release Prairie Storms.
What drew you to writing, children’s books especially?
I write because I read children’s books to my own children. With four kids, it meant years and years of reading books, during which time I developed a love of the picture book form and a passion for chapter books for kids. I started writing when they were young and have never grown up.
What do you hope children get out of your stories?
My goal is to help kids enjoy playing with language. Of course, that means a story and I hope they enjoy the story, too. And since Prairie Storms is a non-fiction book, it also means facts. I want kids to have fun learning about the ani-mals and the storms and how living creatures interacts with the weather and cli-mate of their area. But mostly, this is meant to be a great read aloud that an adult can share with a kid, and enjoy a moment of shared pleasure in the words, the art, the sound of literature, the joy of knowing something.
Read, read, read. The more you practice, the better reader you will be. And why should you want to be a great reader? So you can travel to places you’ve never seen, can feel emotions you’ll never feel any other way. In Prairie Storms, for example, you’ll stand stare into the face of a blizzard and stand, “prairie strong and defiant.”
What is the most rewarding thing about having your books published?
Because I’m published, it means I get to visit many places and talk to many peo-ple. In that sense, writing and publishing has enlarged my world, made me friends with widely scattered folks. I love the book, as something you can hold and open together. But mostly, I love that crea-tive work can connect people in special ways.
Any advice for those interested in writing?
Read, read, read. Write, write, write. Prac-tice is the most important thing you can do. If you want to be in a rock band, you don’t just pick up a guitar and wind up rich. Instead, you learn how to play chords, how to write music, how to sing. In other words, you practice. Don’t expect to sell the first thing you write. You may need to write ten novels before you write well enough to sell well. Consider those books and those years as an apprenticeship and you’ll be fine.
Darcy Pattison, (www.darcypattison.com) author of both picture books and novels, has been published in eight languages. Her books include 19 Girls and Me (Philomel,), Searching for Oliver K. Woodman (Harcourt), The Journey of Oliver K. Woodman (Harcourt), The Scary Slope (graphic novel from Stone Arch). Her books have been recognized for excellence by **starred reviews in Kirkus and BCCB, Child magazine Best Books of the Year 2003, Nick Jr. Family Magazine Best Books of the Year 2003, and various state award reading lists.
As a writing teacher, Darcy is in demand nationwide to teach her Novel Revision Retreat. Her books about writing or teaching writing include Novel Metamorphosis: Uncommon Ways to Revise (Mims House) and Paper Lightning: Prewriting Activities to Spark Creativity (Cottonwood Press). Darcy is the 2007 recipient of the Arkansas Governor’s Arts Awards, Individual Artist Award for her work in children’s literature. Forthcoming titles include Prairie Storm (Sylvan Dell, 2011) and Desert Baths (Sylvan Dell, 2012).