Owen from Oconomowoc, Wisconsin, is a student at Carroll College with questions.
Q: How did you know from such an early age what your passion in life would be?
A: I've learned over the years that my story is not unusual. It may not be common, but it's not unusual. I knew at age four that I wanted to write stories and draw pictures for books. My parents, and other adults important to me, were supportive. I don't doubt that some children know what they want to do as adults, but they are not encouraged by family, teachers and important adults in their lives. They fail to follow their bliss, and we loose their talents in the world.
Q: As an author, how do you strike a balance between writing books that appeal to yourself as opposed to writing books that will sell?
A: I believe an editor's job is to get the best work out of me. An editor will sometimes discourage me from working on a book project because it might not be commercial enough. Sometimes, a book idea will be put aside for years until there's a better time to publish it. I have several ideas that are waiting for better times.
Q: How has your writing style changed over the course of your career?
A: I think I found my voice during the time I worked on CHARLIE NEEDS A CLOAK, ANDY (THAT'S MY NAME) and NANA UPSTAIRS & NANA DOWNSTAIRS. My writing has especially evolved while working on the "26 Fairmount Avenue" autobiographical chapter books because I'm spending more time on the words, and less on the illustrations. As to my illustration style, I don't think it has changed over the years. However, it has become more refined.