Author website/social media:www.NancyViau.com
Tell me a little about yourself:
I’m the author of three picture books (Storm Song, City Street Beat, and Look What I Can Do!) and two middle novels (Just One Thing! and Samantha Hansen Has Rocks in Her Head) Four grown kiddos call me Mom. I like to say they’ve done a terrific job of raising me. Two toddlers call me Grandma Nan, and they’re realizing that although I’m way older than they are, I’m still a kid at heart. (Look at Nancy in First Grade – so cute)
When you were my age, did you like to read?
YES! Believe or not we didn’t have picture books or early chapter books in my house, at least the kind you know of today. We had Little Golden Books, and I had quite a collection. The first time I actually read an entire book all by myself was in first grade. I still remember how amazed I was when I figured out that letters made up words, then how words got strung in a line to make sentences, and finally, how sentences connected to form whole stories. Magical!
What was your favorite story?
I had a very big book called The Real Mother Goose, and begged for rhyming story after story to be read to me. It was impossible to pick a favorite. There were 200 rhymes! When I was older, I absolutely loved the Bobbsey Twins books (about twins, Bert and Nan) and the Nancy Drew mysteries (secretly wanted to be that Nancy). (Bridget note: Me too!) Both of these series had characters with my name!
How do you get your ideas?
Many ideas come to me when I’m hiking or biking, or traveling to new towns and countries. Sometimes, my ideas end up on notepaper, grocery lists, planners, or (in the past) the back of my kids’ homework. Oops! Other times, I go right to my computer and start a story.
My idea for Just One Thing! happened over several years, as I noticed kids trying out different activities, hoping to find that one thing they could be known for as they move through school. Is it playing an instrument? Being a dancer? A soccer player? It’s not easy to find out what suits you best.
Is it hard to write a book?
It’s harder than most people imagine. Take picture books, for example: The writing has to fit on 32 pages. Count the pages of the picture books in your house. Most have 32 pages, but guess what? Only some of those pages are used to tell the story! Look and see what ends up on the other pages.
Do you have a favorite among the books you have written?
Hmmm, tough question. My favorite is usually the one I’m working on that has not been published. Since it’s new, the possibilities are endless. I can change it anyway I see fit.
What author do you really like right now?
I love the work of author-illustrator Peter Brown, his older titles and newer ones. My Teacher Is a Monster! (No, I Am Not.) is one I enjoy reading out loud.
What advice to you have for a kid who wants to be an author?
Read a bunch! Read all the time! If you like fiction, that’s awesome, but try nonfiction, as well. And don’t forget, other kinds of reading material count, too—magazines, cereal boxes, video game instructions, newspaper comics, poetry, blogs, jokes—anything! Also, write! Get your thoughts down on paper any way possible. If it’s hard to write them down, tell a story and let an adult type them on the computer while you speak.