EXTRA CREDIT INTERVIEW WITH PEGGY EDDLEMAN:
Today LitPick welcomes Peggy Eddleman for an Extra Credit interview! Peggy is the author of Sky Jumpers and Sky Jumpers #2: The Forbidden Flats.
Do you have a solid outline before writing, or do you usually get ideas as you go along?
I usually have a pretty solid outline of all the major events (and minor events that I already know are going to be necessary) before I start writing a book. I also have the world and the characters figured out very well. I leave everything else open, because a lot of magic happens during the writing process, and I want to make sure it has plenty of room to do its thing.
Has someone you knew ever appeared as a character in a book (consciously or subconsciously)?
Not consciously, but I’m sure it has happened to some degree subconsciously more than I even realize!
What do you do when you get writer's block?
I go on long walks and talk to myself the whole time, and when I figure parts out, I record it into my cell phone. Sometimes things get really sticky, and it takes brainstorming with a friend to really get things figured out. And if none of that helps, I go to my last resort: folding clothes. There’s something about it that frees your mind for brilliant ideas.
If you could live in a book's world, which would you choose?
I’m going to have to say Brandon Sanderson’s MISTBORN. (As long as I can be an allomancer in that world, that is.) I read the first book nearly 8 years ago, and I still think of his world and his magic system often. Every time I’m squinting to see something that’s a little too far away, or straining to hear something just out of reach, I still think to myself, “I wish I could burn tin right now!”
What is your favorite book-to-movie adaptation?
Hands down, The Lord of the Rings trilogy. So well done! Some of the others I loved: Jurassic Park, The Hunger Games, Holes, How to Train Your Dragon, The Fault in Our Stars, The Maze Runner, and The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe.
If you could have lunch with one other author (dead or alive!), who would it be?
J.K. Rowling. I mean seriously. How awesome would that be?
Wild Card Question: Growing up you wanted to be a children’s book illustrator or mathematician. You instead became an author. Do you still have an interest in being an illustrator or mathematician, and what do you think of your career path?
I can’t say that the mathematician dream is one that I still have. ;) Several years ago, I was at a crossroads in my life. I went back to school, and I was debating whether to major in art or writing. Although I still love art, and a huge part of me wishes that it was a skill that I had sunk many, many hours into becoming better at, writing won out big time. It’s such a fascinating, amazing thrill to create characters– entire worlds, even!– using nothing more than the thoughts in your head. Writing grabbed me so fully and so intensely, that I have never once doubted that it was the right path for me to take.
You’re the best, LitPick! Thanks for having me again!
Peggy, thank you for returning to LitPick for an Extra Credit interview! We love the tip for folding clothes to get past writer’s block!
SIX MINUTES WITH PEGGY EDDLEMAN:
Peggy Eddleman is the author of the action / adventure book SKY JUMPERS and its sequel, THE FORBIDDEN FLATS (Random House). She lives at the foot of the Rocky Mountains in Utah with her husband and their three kids. She enjoys painting, playing games with her family (especially laser tag), and of course, reading. You can visit Peggy online at peggyeddleman.com
How did you get started writing?
It was all because of friends– I got a story idea one day, and knew they needed to be in it. So I started writing, and I was hooked! I honestly didn’t know what I had been missing. That feeling of being able to create something out of nothing more than the thoughts in your head is a pretty powerful one.
Who influenced you?
The biggest influence I had in perfecting my craft came from Brandon Sanderson. Not only is he an amazing writer, but he has an uncanny ability to teach what he knows to others. I learned a great deal from him. The biggest influence I had in my writing itself was all of the middle grade books I’ve read to my kids over the years. We got in the habit of reading together every night, and went through so many fantastic books.
Do you have a favorite book/subject/character/setting?
I don’t necessarily have a favorite favorite book– but I do have a lot of MG books I’ve read in the past few years that I love! Gregor the Overlander by Suzanne Collins, Rump: The True Story of Rumpelstiltskin by Liesl Shurtliff, and Magic Marks the Spot by Caroline Carlson are just a few. I love books of all genres, but love them even more when a lot of stuff happens– I’m a big fan of action / adventure. I’m also a big fan of interesting, rich settings. And I love characters who are clever and who know when to take a risk– and who aren’t afraid of failing.
What advice do you have for someone who wants to be an author?
Write something that excites you! If what you are writing keeps calling to you when you aren’t writing, and you’re constantly trying to find a way to squeeze in a bit more writing time, then your reader is going to feel the same way. If writing becomes a drudgery, take a look at what’s happened in your book recently– maybe you’ve let things get too easy for your characters, and it’s time to give them a huge obstacle. Keeping your characters challenged makes things so much more exciting for you as a writer, and for your future readers.
Where is your favorite place to write?
There are two places that I most love to write– at home in my living room with my family nearby, or away with friends at a writing retreat. My husband and kids are pretty darn awesome people, and I love being around them. But it’s also good to get away– different settings inspire you differently. And when I’m around writing friends, we push each other so much that we get an insanely large amount accomplished in a short amount of time.
But if I could convince some furry friends to move into my backyard, I’m pretty sure that’s where I would spend every second of my writing time.
What else would you like to tell us?
Sky Jumpers combines a lot of my loves— my love of action / adventure, my love of very ordinary people stepping up and becoming the heroes, of danger, of characters learning that they’re stronger than they think they are, and of characters being willing to take risks. I am thrilled when kids pick up Sky Jumpers and get excited about those same things. I also love when things happen that help Sky Jumpers to get into the hands of more kids– like when it was chosen by the New York Public Library as 100 Books for Reading and Sharing, by the American Booksellers Association as one of the Best Books of 2013, and when it made the Bluebonnet Award Master List and the Beehive Award List.
Peggy, thank you so much for spending six minutes with LitPick! Please make sure to let us know if your furry friends move into your back yard!