This is my 100th author/illustrator interview and I am super excited it is with Bridget Hodder!
Author website/social media:
Visit me at my website, Bridget Hodder | author of The Rat Prince ; on Twitter at @BridgetsBooks ; or on Facebook, where you can see the awesome profile pic that author and artist Roselle Lim created for me at https://www.facebook.com/BridgetHodderAuthor/
1. When you were my age (9), did you like to read?
–I absolutely adored it. I didn’t realize it then, but I was born with terrible eyesight, so I didn’t seem to be able to hit tennis balls, sink baskets, or play soccer. Instead, I escaped into books every chance I got!
2. What was your favorite story?
—It’s impossible to choose just one, but I read and re-read the Tintin books all the time (graphic novels–yay!). I also loved the Chronicles of Narnia (Reepicheep the Mouse was an early influence that showed up later in the character of The Rat Prince, the hero of my first book.) A Little Princess by Frances Hodgson Burnett was also a favorite, mostly for the example it gave of how a powerless child could keep her dignity and her power through the worst challenges in life, if she holds on to her belief in herself.
3. How do you get your ideas? Like why retell fairy tales?
–I’m one of those people who are always thinking about how to make things better. So if a story ends, and I loved the characters but didn’t love what the author did with them, I’ll spin a new story in my head that makes everything work out right. I’ve got a “better” version in my mind of just about every fairy tale I’ve ever read. That’s exactly why I wrote THE RAT PRINCE. So much about the original fairy tale of “Cinderella” made me mad; I just had to fix it; and THE RAT PRINCE was born!
4. What author do you really like right now?
–I read constantly, so if you ask me that question on different days, I’ll have different answers! Recently, I’m really enjoying Aisha Saeed, who wrote “Written in the Stars” and “Amal Unbound”, and Laura Shovan, who wrote “The Last Fifth Grade of Emerson Elementary”, and “Takedown”. Plus, I’m always looking for the next thing Tracey Baptiste has written. I’m dying to read her Minecraft book!
5. Do you have any new or lesser known authors you would suggest?
–Always! I loved “The Magic of Melwick Orchard” by new author Rebecca Caprara, a tender book with magical realism and a heroine who has a sibling with cancer. I also read Denis Markell’s new book “The Game Masters of Garden Place” and I thought it was hilarious, with kids who play D & D suddenly discovering they’ve created their own parallel universe populated by their characters, who spill over into this reality and start causing trouble!
6. What advice do you have for a kid who wants to be an author?
–Know that absolutely everyone is a storyteller. Do you tell your parents what you did in school, at the dinner table? You’re a storyteller. Do you text your friends about things that happened to each other? You’re a storyteller. All you need to do is to believe in your own magic, and write the stories down that are already glowing in your heart.
7. As an author, do you hear from your readers? What do you like about that?
–Oh, yes! It’s my favorite part of being an author! Getting letters and emails is the BEST. Among the favorites I’ve received have are some amazing colored-pencil potraits of my characters, and even some drawings of myself! I have them hanging over my desk for inspiration. Don’t ever think that if you write to authors, they’ll be too snooty to appreciate you or to reply. The opposite is almost always true. You are the reason we write!
(I’ve attached some examples!)
8. If you could portal into any book (yours or another person’s), what book would it be?
–Wow, that’s a wonderful question. It makes me think of Dr. Rudine Sims Bishop’s idea that books can serve as “sliding glass doors” into other worlds. Some books I’ve loved have been set in really difficult places, so…not “The War that Saved My Life”! Even Harry Potter’s world was way too dangerous for me to feel 100% comfy there. I think I’m defaulting to Narnia again. Let’s go!
9. You were an archaelogist. What was that like? Is it one of those jobs that isn’t what people think it is?
–Another very perceptive question. If people think of archaeology as what Indiana Jones did, then they’re way off base. That’s destructive grave-robbing. There are different kinds of archaeology. Some folks dig in the dirt, some study seeds and plants, some decipher ancient texts to learn about history, and a whole lot more. I worked on ancient Aztec texts, written in their language, Classical Nahuatl. It was intensely difficult, as the language is very, very complex. But everyone deserves to be heard, right? Even if they died a thousand years ago. Just be aware before you start that it’s a lot of work to do archaeology right.
I want to end by thanking you so much for having me, Bridget. I love your wonderful blog, I loved meeting you at nErDcamp Michigan, and… I love your name!