Posted by: Shelley Koon | March 21, 2014

Coffee and Conversation with Alex Arnold

We’re in the home stretch for Spring: Nature’s Revised Draft conference. A week from tomorrow many of us will be gathered at the Bishop Claggett Center to mingle with our fellow writers and get some great information on the publishing industry from this years amazing speakers. I’m excited – how about you?

We recently caught up with one of our amazing speakers, Alex Arnold, Editorial Assistant at Tegen Books (an imprint of Harper Collins Children’s Books), and she was gracious enough to answer some questions for us:

profile picFirst off, what’s your favorite coffeehouse beverage?
A latte with soy milk

And your favorite snack?
Popcorn

What was your favorite book as a child?
Kicking it off with an impossible question! Well, I was a voracious reader from kindergarten on, and really had a new favorite book every week; someday I’ll make a master list. Since I could never pick just one, here are three highlights:

Ella-EnchantedElla Enchanted by Gail Carson Levine was probably the first time I was truly blown away by voice, without realizing it yet. Ella is just so perfectly Ella from that very first line…and a voice for sassy, smart girls everywhere!

maclachlan-jpgMy sister died of leukemia when I was very young, so books that dealt with grief resonated strongly with me (and still do). Walk Two Moons by Sharon Creech and Baby by Patricia MacLachlan will always be two of the most powerful reads of my life—and I’ve read both over and over and over again.

And now, what’s your favorite book as an adult?
I still count those three, but would also have to add Rules of Civility by Amor Towles, The History of Love by Nicole Krauss, and The Book Thief by Marcus Zusak.

You magically find a $100.00 bill in your box of cereal (and unlike what would most likely happen to me, you avoid eating it…) In what frivolous way would you spend it? (Key word: Frivolous!)
Probably on some combination of bright lipstick and fun shoes.

O.K – We totally NEED to hit the mall together! Next question: You’ve been locked in a bank vault Twilight Zone style, so you finally have time to read!  What’s the first book you crack open?
Oh, how scary and lovely at the same time! I’ve been dying to read Love Letters to the Dead by Ava Dellaira, which comes out in April. And I’m determined to finish Tenth of December by George Saunders before the end of the month.

If you followed the career path you chose for yourself in high school, what would you be doing for a living now?
Exactly what I’m doing, actually, which I know is rare! I briefly considered going to school for library science, but otherwise, I was pretty set on being a children’s book editor in high school—and I followed that dream to New York City after college.

That’s awesome! For one day, time travel is a reality and you can visit any famous deceased author you want.  Who do you pick?
Oscar Wilde. I think we’d be friends immediately.Oscar Wilde

What’s your favorite motivational quote?
For life: This isn’t motivational, per se, but I love this line from Their Eyes Were Watching God by Zora Neale Hurston: “There are years that ask questions and years that answer.” A good reminder during the question-asking years—and while we’re talking about YA, don’t the teen years usually feel like all questions and no answers?

For writing: “Write hard and clear about what hurts.” -Hemingway

If you could sum up your best advice for new writers or illustrators in only four words, what would it be?
Remember you’re the talent.

I know this industry can be discouraging, but try to remember that without you—the creators—we wouldn’t have books to edit or promote or sell! There is always room for new talent, so keep creating, keep honing your craft and learning from the best, and keep believing in your work.

I love that! It can be hard to stay focused on our role as writers – thank you for reminding us and thank you for taking the time out of your schedule to chat with us. We’ll see you next week!

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Responses

  1. Nice interview! I’m going to print this out and tape it everywhere: “Remember you’re the talent.” So easy to forget that while querying!

  2. Thanks for this interview, Shelley. I can’t wait to meet Alex!

  3. I always enjoy and learn from your blog! The words today again really resonated with me. I share some of these same titles of books I have loved and love her quotes!


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