We have a lot of fantastic authors at OneFour KidLit and are excited to introduce them all to you. Today, we’re talking to Skila Brown, author of CAMINAR. One author, four questions. Here we go!
Hey, you’re getting published! How’d that happen?
I was doing some freelance writing that was starting to drift into writing for kids’ magazines, and I realized that what I really wanted to do was write actual books for kids and teens. So I joined SCBWI and went to a couple of conferences and wrote a few not-so-great stories that promptly were rejected dozens of times and then I got smart and decided to apply to Vermont College of Fine Arts, where I started working on the story that became CAMINAR.
SCBWI generously gave me a Work In Progress grant in 2011 for this story, which really opened a lot of doors for me in the query process. And then – when I was finishing up my MFA degree – Candlewick generously awarded me a scholarship for a picture book text I had written. (SLICKETY QUICK – also forthcoming with Candlewick Press!) Before I knew it, I had an agent and a book deal on the novel.
So, the short version:
Wrote a lot of crap. Went to school. Wrote better stuff. Got a book deal.
What’s your debut book about?
Caminar is a middle grade novel in verse, set in 1981 Guatemala. It’s about a boy who survives the massacre of his village and journeys up the side of a mountain, figuring out what it takes to be a man in a time of war, along the way.
What makes you want to be a writer?
Reading has always been my favorite thing to do. I think when you read a lot of stories, you can’t help but begin to make up your own. When I was really young, I was told this was adorable. When I was a teenager, my dad called it “lying about my whereabouts.” But whatever you call it, I’ve never stopped doing it.
What do you do in your daily life outside of writing?
Well, most of my time is spent with my kids. I have three sons at home with me all day who keep me busy. We like to travel and play board games. I also make quilts sometimes, and I love photography. But my favorite thing to do is, of course, read. We visit the library twice a week in our house, and that still doesn’t feel like enough time!
|Skila Brown has an MFA from Vermont College of Fine Arts. Her debut novel, CAMINAR, will be released in 2014 from Candlewick Press.|