Coffee & Conversation with Patricia Hruby Powell: From Dreaming to Doing Conference

It’s that time of year again! When we showcase the many awesome presenters that are lined up for the upcoming From Dreaming to Doing SCBWI MD/DE/WV Conference on March 17-18th! We like to do this as a way for participants to get to know the faculty and be excited for the conference, as I know I am! First up is…

Patricia Hruby Powell

patricia-hruby-powellPatricia is a former dancer/choreographer and the author of JOSEPHINE: THE DAZZLING LIFE OF JOSEPHINE BAKER (Chronicle 2014) which won Sibert, Boston Globe Horn Book, Ragazzi, and CSK Honors; Wall Street Journal, Huffington Post, NPR, PBS Best Book Awards and is a Junior Guild Selection, as is her new LOVING VS. VIRGINIA: A DOCUMENTARY NOVEL OF THE LANDMARK CIVIL RIGHTS CASE (Chronicle 2017). STRUTTIN’ WITH SOME BARBECUE and ELLA BAKER are forthcoming.


Her Presentations: 

Break the Mold!

Saturday, 1:00 – 1:50 PM: Breakout Session C, Shenandoah Room

Research—whether for fiction or nonfiction—gives the writer details, word banks, authenticity, new directions, next ideas, and is a shipload of fun. Primary sources and interviewing can make your work unique (and authentic). Listening to your characters’ voices, listening to their music, listening to your music, all lends an emotionality to your work and can give you (rhythmic) inspiration to create your voice.

Introverts, Extroverts, Ambiverts, Oh My!: Personality Types in Publishing

Saturday, 2:00-2:50 PM: Breakout Session D, Monocacy Room

A panel of professionals of varied backgrounds and personality types discuss how to succeed in publishing and remain true to yourself.

And, on to the interview! First question, Patricia, what was your favorite book as a child?

The Golden Egg Book by Margaret Wise Brown


As a teen?

The Fountainhead by Ayn Rand (I’m embarrassed to say—but the artist in me…)


And now, as an adult?

As an adult, too many favorites.

What is your favorite writing how-to book, technique, or website that has helped you improve your craft or provided inspiration?

Bird by Bird by Anne LaMott


Agreed, awesome book! How were you inspired to write your current or upcoming release?

My editor asked if there was a story in Women’s Suffrage.

What is your favorite line(s) from this book?

Too early, nothing to report.

If you followed the career path you chose for yourself in high school, what would you be doing for a living now?

Some kind of artist: dancer/choreographer, visual artist, sculptor, writer???

You’ve been locked in a bank vault Twilight Zone style, so you finally have time to read! Your glasses are fine, (whew,) so what’s the first book you crack open?

The same one I’ll crack open regardless: Scythe. I have no idea if I’ll like it.


For one day, time travel is a reality and you have the opportunity to visit any famous deceased author you want. Who do you pick?

Emily Dickinson.

You magically find a $100 bill in your box of cereal. In what frivolous way would you spend it?

1920s vintage hats.

What is your favorite quote?

All things in moderation, including moderation.” Oscar Wilde

What do you enjoy doing when not writing?

Playing in water (it’s not exactly swimming, but dolphining), dancing (tango, line-dance, just turning on music and playing), reading, walking/skipping, skating, cooking, watching some of the Masterpieces (PBS) or other period pieces, like The Crown. Or Jane the Virgin. Or Catastrophe.

LOVE Jane the Virgin!! Okay, if you could sum up your best advice for new writers in only four words, what would they be?

Read, research, play, dance.

Time for the lightning round—no more than four words per answer!

Do you …

Outline or wing it? Both.

Talk about works-in-progress or keep it zipped? Talk about it.

Sell by proposal or completed draft? Both.

Prefer writing rough drafts or editing? Revising.

Dread marketing or love it? Dread it.

Read Kindle or traditional books? Both.

And finally, what’s your favorite:

Time to work? Morning.

Music to listen to while writing? Never, complete quiet.

Trick to staying motivated? Wish I had one.

Pair of shoes? My slippers.

Guiltiest pleasure? My home made margaritas with pepper rim.

Line from a movie?

“Here’s lookin’ at you, Kid.” Humphrey.

Awesome, thanks so much for stopping by, Patricia! We’re looking forward to seeing you at the conference.

Speaking of conference, be sure to register at our website. Hope to see you there!

Happy writing and drawing!

About Laura Bowers

Laura is a writer, runner, reader, runDisney addict, blogger/vlogger at Write, Run, Rejoice and Joyful Miles, mom of two awesome boys, wife of one fantastic husband, excellent chili maker, and obsessive list keeper. She loves run-on sentences and adverbs. She also still thinks Spice World was an awesome movie and feels no shame about that.
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