Author website/social media: http://www.amymariestad.com, @amymariestad on twitter and instagram.
Tell me a little about yourself: Hello! Well, I’m Amy and I live in Brooklyn, NY. I have a little dog named Cosmo and I collect garden gnomes that live all around my apartment. When I’m not writing and illustrating books, I’m a designer in the world of kid’s media working on animated tv shows and apps.
When you were my age, did you like to read? I was a slow reader at first, but once I got the hang of it, I loved it! My mom is a big reader and we would take regular visits to the library and that helped get me into the habit early of always having a book to read.
What was your favorite story? I first read The Little Prince when I was around 8 or 9, and that is still my favorite book to this day! But I also was very obsessed with all the Oz books written by L. Frank Baum. Oz is still my absolute favorite fictional land.
How do you get your ideas? Most of the time ideas are a mystery! But, I think one way that ideas come to me is by being curious and asking questions of the world and of myself. Sometimes the answers surprise me and I think, ‘there might be a story there…’
Is it hard to write a book? Any creative project has it’s moments that are hard, but also moments when it’s easy or confusing or hilarious or frustrating to the point of tears. It’s a lot of work, and the hardest part is probably just deciding that it’s done. (I could nitpick my work all day!) But the end product is so worth it, because you get to share a story with the world!
Do you have a favorite among the books you have written/illustrated? Well so far, it’s just books 1 and 2 of Olive & Beatrix, and while The Not-So Itty Bitty Spiders is special to me because it was my first book, I do think The Super-Smelly Moldy Blob is a bit stronger of a story and I also really love the Beatrix/Houston relationship in that one! That was very fun to write and illustrate!
What author do you really like right now? I’m currently reading the Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children books by Ransom Riggs. I love the way he created a magical fantasy story from real life old photographs. Very clever, and so fun!
What advice do you have for a kid who wants to be an author? Write! Write down your stories, even if they are just little ideas. Writing (and drawing!) are just like anything else, the more you practice – the better you get. Also, and I think this is important for adults too, make sure to let yourself daydream. Let yourself sit quietly and just dream with no particular goal, because your imagination is also just like anything else and the more you use it and let it run free – the better and stronger it gets.