Friday, October 8, 2010

Interview with Author Teresa Toten!

                          Interview- October 2010

1.What is your favorite food?

I I adore Thai food, the fragrance, the full flavours and the spiciness, a close 
second is Indian food!

 2.When you were younger why, did you know you weren't gonna be a writer?

As much as I read as a little girl, I don't think I ever made the connection 
that "real live people" actually wrote those books I was reading and that it was 
a job just like being a lawyer or a waitress.  My early world was almost 
exclusively made up of hard working immigrants who all had  2 or 3 "jobs" none 
of which had anything to do with "writing" for a living.  I've often said that I 
thought wanting to be a writer would have been as an outrageous a goal as 
wanting to be a mermaid.

 Me and the Blondes
3.In your book Me And The Blondes, Why did Sophie want to keep her crazy 
family life secret from everyone?

I think Sophie was socially savvy enough to know that loud, colourful, crazy 
ladies (her Aunties and her mother) with loud and crazy opinions about 
everything was not going to fly in the new world of a "rich" and super cool high 
school.  She certainly knew from painful experience that as soon as anyone found 
out that her father was in prison, she was dropped and mocked mercilessly.  She 
learned. . .

 Piece By Piece
4.What is your book Piece By Piece about?

Piece by Piece is a collection of 14 amazing stories by 14 brilliant Canadian 
writers who were born in other countries.  They each write about coming to 
Canada and trying to "fit in".  The stories are funny, heartbreaking, inspiring 
and absolutely honest.  The writers come from all over the world and they each 
had a very different way of trying to fit into Canada.  I truly feel that their 
stories should be on every classroom shelf in the country. 


5.What are your upcoming projects?

The third and final of the "Blonde books," Beyond Blonde will be out this coming 
in the spring which is very exciting and at the same time a bit sad for me.  I 
came to love those characters very, very much.  Saying goodbye to them has been 
shockingly hard.  After that I'll be writing a book with the very popular and 
wonderful writer, Eric Walters.  It will be called The Taming!

 6.Where do you hope to take your writing in the future?

I always love to do things I've never tried before.  That's why I've done 1 
picture book (Bright Red Kisses), 1 junior fiction (The Onlyhouse), 1 short 
story (Father's Day in a collection called Secrets), 1 YA literary novel (the 
Game),  1 trilogy (the Blonde books) 1 editor experience (Piece by Piece) and 
now 1 (collaboration)--you get the idea.  I think I love being terrified and on 
a knife's edge throughout the entire writing process.  It keeps the writing  
very alive and fresh and yes, scary for me.  I'd like to try my hand at a 
mystery sometime soon too.

 7.What were your feelings when your first novel was accepted/when you first 
saw the cover of the finished product?

Aside from the birth of my two daughters, I have never been more thrilled than I 
was when I heard that my first book was going to be published.  I was crazy with 
joy!   The editor, the marvellous Tim Wynne-Jones called me while I was having a 
school meeting at my house.  All these women were shocked to hear me screaming 
at the telephone and jumping up and down.

 8.When did you write your first book and how old were you?
I was lucky in that the first book I wrote (The Onlyhouse) was also the first 
book published.  I wrote it while attending a Writing For Children Workshop with 
Peter Carver as the teacher. I started writing it in my mid-thirties.

 9.If you had to choose, which writer would you consider a mentor?

In the brilliant world of children's literature, when I started out, I was 
inspired by Brian Doyle, Robert Cormier, Kit Pearson, Martha Brooks, Sarah 
Ellis, Tim Wynne Jones, Kathy Kacer and for sure Susan Juby, just to name a very 
few!  Plus, I love, love, love the calibre and excitement of the most recent 
crop of new writers in Canada.  We really have an exciting wealth of writing 
talent in this country.  I get re-inspired by all the western canon (ie. Tolstoy 
and Dickens) as well as by modern memoir writers, spare clean poetry and by 
great television writing.  All those writers were and are my mentors, even 
though they will never know it.

 10.Thank you!! What else would you like to say, or have me post?

Most days, I think I am the luckiest creature in the world in that I get to do, 
what I do, in the way I want to do it.  Being a children's writer is an 
unbelievable privilege--corny but so, so true!

Check out more about Author Teresa Toten, at her website-!!

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