It’s Coffee and Conversation time, a way for you to get to know some of our presenters for the upcoming SCBWI MD/DE/WV 25 and Still We R(ev)ise 25th Annual Conference! Today I’m shining the spotlight on author, Leah Henderson and in case you need to catch up, here’s links to previous #stillwerevise interviews:
- Author Laura Gehl
- Mary Barrows, Conference Logo Competition Winner
- Author Sue Macy
- Author Megan Wagner Lloyd
- Author-Illustrator Courtney Pippin-Mathur
- Closing Keynote Speaker, Hena Khan
- Author Meg Eden
- Author Maria Gianferrari
Leah has always loved getting lost in stories. When she is not scribbling down her characters’ adventures, she is off on her own, exploring new spaces and places around the world. She received her MFA at Spalding University and currently calls Washington D.C. home. One Shadow on the Wall (Simon & Schuster/Atheneum) is her debut middle grade novel. You can find Leah on Twitter @LeahsMark or at her website: leahhendersonbooks.com.
Their Voice, Their Perspective: Writing Cross-Cultural Stories We All Deserve, Saturday 11:40 AM – 12:30 PM
With the growing demand for diversity in children’s literature, it is more important than ever to depict these characters authentically. Learn strategies and resources to help in creating fully-rounded and authentic characters which mirror a different perspective and find out how to avoid pitfalls and work through false starts. This session is a safe space in which to ask any and all questions in pursuit of telling a more accurate and well-balanced cross-cultural story.
In the Trenches: From the Query to the Call, Saturday 10:40 AM – 11:30 AM
With Leah Henderson, Courtney Pippin-Mathur, Maria Gianferrari, John Micklos, Jr., moderated by Meera Trehan: You’ve polished your manuscript, you’ve researched agents, you’ve edited your query, and you’ve hit send. Now what? This panel of agented authors will tell you what to expect and what you can learn from the query process, and answer all those questions you might be scared to ask. Whether you’re getting requests, rejections, or radio silence, this panel will help you assess how best you can survive–and maybe even thrive–in the query trenches.
And now on to the interview!
What was your favorite book as a child? As a teen? And now, as an adult?
Asking my favorite anything is nearly impossible for me to answer…but these are the books that have taken hold of my head and heart in some way.
As a child: CORDUROY by Don Freeman
Now: THE BOYS IN THE BOAT by Daniel James Brown, THE GUERNSEY LITERARY POTATO PEEL PIE SOCIETY by Mary Ann Shaffer and Annie Barrow, FISH IN A TREE by Lynda Mullaly Hunt & OUT OF MY MIND by Sharon M. Draper because I have to show some MG love!
How were you inspired to write your current or upcoming release?
I am an avid traveler and love, love, love, when I stumble upon the unexpected or when something around a corner catches my eye, but even as someone who searches out and embraces these moments, I am still amazed how locking eyes with a young boy sitting on a beach wall in Senegal, West Africa could change everything for me. He, and kids like him, who are often invisible in books, became a driving force behind why I write. That momentary encounter opened up so many possibilities for me as I was trying to open possibilities for kids like him.
If you followed the career path you chose for yourself in high school, what would you be doing for a living now?
Sports were a huge part of my life when I was younger, so I was certain I was going to study sports medicine.
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?
Maya Angelou. Some people have an energy and spirit that truly inspires.
What is your favorite quote?
There are so many I love, but at the moment the words of Helena Kriel, a professor from my grad school are at the forefront of my mind:
“Before you sit down to write, you have to stand up to live.”
What do you enjoy doing when not writing?
Traveling, of course. 😉
If you could sum up your best advice for new writers in only four words, what would they be?
Mistakes can hold magic.
And finally, what’s your favorite:
Time to work? Early morning when my head is still clear.
Music to listen to while writing? Really mellow music from some corner of the world, in a language I don’t understand but that translates in my soul.
Trick to staying motivated? Write what makes you curious enough to ask what’s next.
Pair of shoes? Comfy boots or sneakers
Guiltiest pleasure? Eating cookie dough. 😉
Line from a movie? “I thought if I woke up fast enough I could photograph my dreams.” Through a Lens Darkly
Thanks so much for sharing, Leah and I’m looking forward to seeing you at the conference!
Happy writing and drawing, everyone!