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Authorial Intrusion - Ellen Klages

Welcome to the fourteenth Authorial Intrusion! To read any of the previous interviews, just click on the tag “authorial intrusion” on the left side of the page.

For those just tuning in, here’s the history behind these posts:

I love reading about the Publishing Journeys of my favorite writers.

I love the long, soul-searching interviews that reveal every obstacle and triumph: the author whose agent made her do three revisions before signing her … the author who gets up at 4:30 a.m. to write, because it’s the only time she has to herself … the critically acclaimed author who spent nine years trying to get published … I never tire of this stuff!

Long, luxurious interviews aside, don’t you sometimes find yourself wondering: “But do you like Thai or Chinese food better?”

Reader, I asked them.

I assembled a grab-bag full of random questions and emailed them to some of my favorite writers.

They answered!

And now, without further ado, please welcome Ellen Klages!

Ellen Klages, whose website can be found here, is the author of one of my favorite middle grade historical novels: The Green Glass Sea, about a girl whose scientist father is doing “war work” at Los Alamos, New Mexico in 1943.



Ten-year-old Dewey has joined her father at Los Alamos Camp, where he and other scientists and mathematicians are working on “The Gadget,” a top-secret military project. Young readers may not know the devastating significance of this project until the end, but will be carried along by the story of Dewey and Suze, both “kind of misfits,” according to the author, “who are growing up in a very strange time and place -- on the site of the Manhattan Project during World War Two. It's about science and adventure and friendship.”

The Green Glass Sea won the 2007 Scott O'Dell Award for Historical Fiction. I’m excited to report that a sequel, White Sands, Red Menace, is scheduled for publication in 2008.


If you could meet anyone, living or dead, who would it be?
Emma Thompson.

What are you reading right now?
Reading is an odd concept at the moment. I can't really process anyone else's words, because I'm working on revisions for my next novel, White Sands, Red Menace (the sequel to The Green Glass Sea). The book on my bedside table, though, is Shaun Tan's The Arrival, a beautiful, brilliant graphic novel done entirely in pictures. No words (except for the title. . .)

Thai food or Chinese?
Ooh. Thai for chicken-coconut soup and satay, and Chinese for potstickers and sizzling rice soup.

Ever wish you'd studied a different subject in college?
Nope. I took any class that looked interesting. One semester I was taking Children's Literature, Physics for Poets, Fascism in German Literature, Beginning Hebrew, and Symbolic Logic. I ended up with a degree in Philosophy. I don't recommend that as a practical career choice.

First job?
I managed a pinball arcade, The Cross-Eyed Moose, in Ann Arbor, Michigan. I got to take the machines apart and clean them, and play all the free pinball I wanted. I made $1.45 an hour.

Pick three words to go on your tombstone.
You Aren't Here.

If you were a crayon, what color would you be?
Peach. Here's why:

My sister Sally has Down Syndrome, and one night at dinner, when we
were kids, Mom asked what we'd learned in Sunday School that week.

"God made man in his own image," Sally said.

"Okay, so what color is God?" I asked. (I was about 13.)

Sally looked at me for a second, shook her head at my woeful ignorance, and said, "Ellen, he is peach, the same crayon as we are."


Early bird or night owl?
Night owl.

Advice for writers in 5 words or less.
First drafts suck. Keep going.

If someone made you sing karaoke - you couldn't refuse! - what would you sing?
I love karaoke. I can't really sing, but I can *belt*, and I like to do "White Rabbit," or "Ode to Billy Joe."


Thanks for indulging our curiosity, Ellen!

Comments

( 3 inscriptions — Inscribe a note )
jennifer_d_g
Nov. 26th, 2007 02:53 am (UTC)
>>First drafts suck. Keep going.<<

I needed that! Thanks!
lkmadigan
Nov. 26th, 2007 02:22 pm (UTC)
Cute icon!

I'm having my morning coffee ... would you like me to pour some down your snorkel?

xo
jennifer_d_g
Nov. 26th, 2007 05:41 pm (UTC)
Mmm, thanks! I see you like your coffee dark and chewy too.
What sort of cocktail will you pour down my snorkel this evening?
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