Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Author Interview: Timothy Power

Timothy Power, author of The Boy Who Howled, has agreed to answer a few questions  for us! So, without further ado ....

Question: Despite the humor and silliness, the wolves in The Boy Who Howled behave in plausible wolfish ways. How did you go about researching wolf behavior?

Answer: I didn't do any in-depth research wolf-wise, but I did ferret out some basic info with a Google search for timber wolves. I was mainly concerned with endowing each of the wolves with a singular "human" identity, as imagined by Callum. I had the most fun with Aunt Trudy, who is always getting kicked in the head by the prey, and Grandpa, who uses oddball phrases like "spank me with a pine cone."

The wolves definitely do have their own personalities--and the interaction between them is so funny!

Question: Have you ever seen a real wolf?

Answer: I can't remember ever seeing a real wolf, even at the zoo, and now that you've reminded me of that, I'm going to return to the zoo and seek out a sighting. However, I do see real coyotes on my street in Los Angeles from time to time, and it always sends a shiver up my spine.

I'm glad we don't have coyotes on my street. But there is an Endangered Wolf Sanctuary not too far away. After reading your book, my daughter and I are excited about taking a tour of it. Now, as a fellow teacher, I have to ask:
Question: Were the students’ antics with the substitute teacher inspired by real life?

Answer: Yes, I admit with a sigh! My early days as a substitute teacher were plagued by similar troublemakers until I caught on and learned how to prevail as the Alpha in the room.

 Ha ha! In some ways humans and wolves aren't so different....

Question: Who are some of your current favorite middle grade books/authors?

Answer: Edward Eager, Joan Aiken, and Diana Wynne Jones are three of my absolute faves. As for current MG authors, I'm reading ABOVE WORLD by Jenn Reese right now and loving it!

Those are wonderful picks! I'm a big fan of Edward Eager and Diana Wynne Jones, too. And Joan Aiken is perfect for kids (and, *ahem*, adults) who like wolf books! I saw a review of  Above World recently. It sounds like a great melding of fantasy and sci-fi. Dystopian, but with mermaids!

Question: Have you received any interesting feedback/fan mail from young readers?

Answer: I've gotten a lot of fan art in the mail. Pictures of wolves and red-haired kids and alternate versions of the cover illustration. It's been awesome.

It must be a wonderful feeling to know you've inspired kids to want to create something in response to your story!

Question: Do you remember the moment you found out Bloomsbury wanted to publish TBWH?

Answer: I will never forget it! My agent made it sound like bad news until she turned it around on a dime, just for fun. I totally fell for it and was so happy at the surprise twist.

Not sure I'd like it if somebody messed with my head like that. But I guess the news that followed more than made up for her little joke.

Question: What’s your favorite thing about writing for kids?
Answer: The funny thing is, I don't really think I'm writing for kids. I write stories I think anyone would like to read, just from a G-rated perspective. Younger protagonists are less jaded than most older folk, which makes them fun to write about.

That's a good way to look at it. Thanks for sharing your thoughts with us, Timothy! I'm sure you have other creative projects in progress, and I hope to read more of your work soon.


Kelly Hashway said...

Great interview. I love to see former teachers or teachers make it as writers. :)

Katrina DeLallo said...

Oh my goodness, the three authors you listed are three of my absolute favourites as well! Edward Eager for his great sense of magic rules and timing, Joan Aiken for her ability to make the weirdest stories plausible, and Diana Wynne Jones for her inimitable British humour and incredible sense of the comical.

I NEED to read your book! This was the best interview I've read in awhile. I had such fun. Thanks so much! Good luck with your future works.

Thanks so much for this, Ruth, and it was a pleasure reading about you, Timothy. :-)

Kim Tomsic said...

Great interview, Ruth! And Timothy, for your next wolf sighting, just plan a signing in Colorado.

Ruth Donnelly said...

Kelly, as a (current) teacher, I definitely agree!

Katrina, I love how you've summed up what makes each author special!

Kim, thanks for stopping by! It's hard to imagine wolves living so close to an urban area, but I know there are places where they do.