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Q&A Blog

5 Favorites from . . . Corinna Luyken!

Author/illustrator Corinna Luyken

Corinna Luyken is the author-illustrator of MY HEART and THE BOOK OF MISTAKES, which received four starred reviews, numerous awards, and has been praised by Entertainment Weekly, the Wall Street Journal, NPR, and more.  She also illustrated ADRIAN SIMCOX DOES NOT HAVE A HORSE, written by Marcy Campbell.  She lives in Olympia, WA, with her husband, daughter, and two cats.

 

What are Corinna’s 5 Favorites?:


My favorite place to write:

Any place that is quiet, where I won't be interrupted!  Which can be hard to come by these days.  I love early mornings at home the best, when my husband is already at work and my daughter hasn't woken up yet.  But I've discovered that airplane rides and late nights can work too. I wrote THE BOOK OF MISTAKES at 3 am, post stomach flu.  The house was quiet and I was (literally and figuratively) empty. And in that environment, the entire first half of the story arrived quite suddenly and almost exactly as it appears in the book.  Though the second half of the book took another year to sort out/write.   

 

My favorite mentor text: 

Perhaps Extra Yarn or The Very Persistent Gappers of Frip.  Though there are SO many books that  I adore,  I don't have just one favorite. School's First Day of School is brilliant.  And everything by Julie Fogliano fills me with joy.

 

My favorite writing tip:

When I'm writing, I try my best to be an empty vessel.  Meaning, to not think of any book that I'm writing as "my" story but to approach it as though this is a story that has chosen to come into the world through me.  And so my job (and my responsibility to the story)  is to be the best listener that I can be.   If I'm not a little surprised, I'm usually doing something wrong, being too controlling. I've found that most of the best stories and poems have a life of their own, and my job is to stay out of the way.


My favorite marketing tip:

I try to focus on making work that comes from the heart, that speaks to the world we live in right now.  And hopefully, from there, marketing in it's various forms becomes easier.  It helps when I've been able to take myself out of the book in the writing process, because then it becomes less about this being "my" book and more about this being a book that is going to have it's own life in the world.  From there,  the rest of what happens is really about that book's relationship with the world.  What that particular book is meant to be.  This isn't practical, or necessarily helpful advice, because I don't really think that the world needs more stuff, and  I've never been interested in trying to convince people to buy something that they don't really want or need. 

 

My favorite book event of the year:

I haven't really been to that many book events.  But I love going to friend's book launches and I love librarians and library conferences!


 To learn more about Corinna and her work, visit her website.

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