[Cracking the Cover interviewed Jennifer Trafton recently, and they talk about writing, the creative process, Henry and the Chalk Dragon, and many other good things.]
Why do you write? Why specifically for young people?
The author Susan Cooper once said we’re all at the mercy of the imagination we were born with—I’ve got an imagination that needs to spill out of me in stories, and they happen to be the kind of stories that have buried giants, walking trees, poison-tongued jumping tortoises, runaway dragons, and children with wild imaginations at their center, because those are the kind of stories I most enjoy reading. I also just find children endlessly fascinating as human beings. I love their fresh perspective on the world, their lack of cynicism, the fantastic ideas they dream up, and their embrace of silliness as well as mystery. I love the questions they ask.
For many years, I tried desperately to be a grown-up and to pursue some sort of normal grown-up career with a paycheck and a retirement fund and all of that, but alas! The pull of giants and dragons and ten-year-old heroines in eccentric hats was far too strong, and I walked one day into the children’s section of the bookstore, spread my arms wide, and bellowed (at least in my heart), “These are my people!” After that, my fate was sealed. So I write “for children” because I feel like, at the level of the imagination, and in the stories I love to read and love to write, I’m one of them.
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