INTERVIEW WITH ROB BUYEA:
Author Rob Buyea joins LitPick for Six Minutes with an Author! Rob is the author of Because of Mr. Terupt and Mr. Terupt Falls Again.
How did you get started writing?
Growing up, I was not a reader or a writer. I became both only after getting started as an elementary school teacher. As a teacher you’re charged with growing passionate readers and writers. How do you accomplish that if you are not a reader and writer first? For me, the answer was obvious. I began devouring books—wonderful stories like those that Jessica mentions—and I picked up my pen and got started. I was surrounded by dynamite kids and wanted to do my best to help them along the way. I dedicate Because of Mr. Terupt to my former students because they were my inspiration. It’s because of them I started writing, and it’s because of them that I had this story to tell.
Who influenced you?
Many different people. Some in larger ways than others, but many. My grandmother comes to mind right away, hence the dynamite grandmother in my character, Danielle’s, life. My parents. (My father loves to tell stories.) My sisters, numerous wrestling coaches, and so many students and athletes that I’ve had the privilege to mentor, have all influenced me. But it is my wife and daughters who have influenced me most. With them, I continue to grow and learn—and I smile every day.
Having mentioned all these people, I should tell you that it is the sport of wrestling that prepared me for the work of being a writer. Wrestling taught me about goal setting, persistence, hard work, repetition, and more.
Do you have a favorite book/subject/character/setting?
I’m terrible at picking favorites. I love all of my characters, and so many parts from beginning to end in each of my stories. That’s actually something I pay attention to. If I don’t like it, then I don’t think there’s any chance my reader will like it, so I want to have lots of favorite sentences and parts throughout my books. There’s often some personal connection with my subject matter, which makes it more meaningful to me. I can tell you that I have tremendous fun taking real memories and changing them so they are better in my stories. That’s a favorite thing I like to do.
What advice do you have for someone who wants to be an author?
Join the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators (SCBWI). Network and put yourself out there. Let go and share your work. Take chances. Get feedback and then do it again. Revision is, by far, most of the work. So write from the heart. If you care about it, then you’ll want to stick with it.
Where is your favorite place to write?
I told you, I’m bad at picking favorites. I write at my desk, my dining room table, in coffee shops and book stores, in hotel rooms and airports—but always very early in the morning. I start my day writing—and with a cup of coffee.
What else would you like to tell us?
SAVING MR. TERUPT is on the way! Stay tuned!
Rob, thank you for spending six minutes with LitPick! We’re looking forward to your next book!