From non-fiction (Love on A Wire, about on-line dating in the 1800s), to picture book stories based on folk tales (The Old Woman and her Mule) from poetry for the younger crowd (Ninth Inning, Take A Bow, both winners of the SCBWI Magazine Merit Award), to Young Adult poetry published in YARN and CICADA (Mutable Matters, Saxophone Summer – also an SCBWI Mag. Merit award winner) and now with a third archaeological picture book on the way and an adult manuscript in the works – I’ve published for many different ages and in different genres. Each new manuscript is a new adventure.
Please visit my website for many other poems and short stories, some of which I’ve reprinted on my site.
So, what have you written?
FREEFALL (Greenwillow/HarperCollins) won the Sydney Taylor Honor’s Award the same year that my picture book JODIE’S HANUKKAH DIG won a Sydney Taylor Notable Award. Jodie has gone on to discover many new archaeological sites in Israel. Spring 2015 is the third in the series where Jodie goes to Ramot and loses her dog Digger in the park. She finds Digger who has discovered a wine press from the First Temple period. RUNNING ON EGGS (Front Street/Cricket was on the NY Public Library’s best book list in the year 2000), I have also published short stories and poems in magazines and won the SCBWI Magazine Merit Award for both short stories and poetry. It felt absolutely wonderful to be recognized by my peers. I have the plaques framed and on my study wall.
What genre are your books?
I’ve written picture book and young adult. Lately my poetry has been more YA. I’ve published quite a few poems in YARN (young adult review network) and also in Cricket, Spider and Cicada.
What are you working on at the minute?
An adult novel. The working title is Surrogate Sisters. I’m very excited about this project which is quite different than anything I’ve done up to this point.
Do you have a special time to write or how is your day structured?
I wish. Usually it’s hard to find that perfect time when everything is quiet and there are no distractions. Between juggling work (I teach), family and writing it can get frustrating. When I can’t find a block of time, I give myself a word limit, between 1,000 and 2,000 words a day. This way, even when I have only a ten minute block of time, I know I’m working towards my word limit and that makes me focus.
What advice would you give to aspiring writers?
Read. Read everything and read outside the genre you’re working on. Also, I find that going back and re-reading the classics (I’m reading A Room with a View by E.M.Forster) helps to recall what really fine writing is all about. None of us stop being aspiring writers. Each new project has to stand on its own, find a home, find readers. You need to believe in your work. A writer’s group is helpful if you can find one or even another reader who you trust to look at your work critically and give you feedback you can work with.
More about Anna at her website: http://www.annalevine.org/