Elly Swartz

  • 4 min read

Author website/social media:

Site:  www.ellyswartz.com

Twitter: @ellyswartz

Instagram: @ellyswartzbooks

Webseries with author Victoria J. Coe: #BooksintheKitchen


1. When you were my age (9), did you like to read?

When I was 9, I loved to read. At bedtime, I would use a flashlight and read under my covers until my mom made me promise I’d turn it off and go to sleep.


2. What was your favorite story?

When I was growing up, I loved stories about strong girls with lots of heart and a dash of humor. My favorites were: Ramona the Brave, Pippi Longstocking, and Eloise. I also loved every book by Judy Bloom. Her stories always made me feel all the feels.


3. How do you get your ideas?  

Life is happening all around me. So, I try to pay attention to the beautiful, weird, interesting, unique, scary, gross, and funny. I jot these things down in my notes app on my phone. I’ve done this on a hike, bike ride, at a restaurant, even in yoga class. I never know when one of these seeds is going to sprout into an idea. 


I also use objects to ground my stories. For instance, I have a perfume bottle on my desk. It was my mom’s. And ever since she passed away, I keep it close. It reminds me of her and all the things I loved most. And miss tremendously. So, in Finding Perfect, I used this perfume bottle to anchor Molly’s story. It representsMolly’s longing to be with her mom when her mom leaves the family to take a job far away. It reflects Molly’s desperate desire for things to be the way they were. Before the leaving. The missing. And the hurt.


4. Best part about kids’ books today?

What I love about kidlit today is that there are amazing authors writing incredible stories that reflect so many different readers’ experiences. I love that more readerscan see themselves and their lives reflected on the page. Truly, it is so important for all kids to feel seen, heard, and respected. For all kids to feel connected. For all kids to feel valued. And loved.


 5. What advice do you have for a kid who wants to be an author?

My advice is to read everything. And write because you love it. Because you have a story to tell. Write what matters to you. If you write from that place of true authenticity, the place that tugs at your heart, your words and your story will connect with your readers. 


Then follow your dreams and embrace the journey! 


     6. As an author, do you hear from your readers? What do you like about that?

I hear from readers often. And I love it! I love kids’ honesty, vulnerability, and willingness to share. And, sometimes what they share fills my heart. One reader sent me a letter that opened with, “I just want you to know that you changed my life.” A teacher shared how her student realized after reading, Finding Perfect, that she had OCD and was now getting help and resources to cope. And recently, I received a letter from a boy who confided that my books had become a place where he sought refuge from anxiety “like an anchor in an ocean.” 


I always knew that books mattered. Made a difference. But it wasn’t until I became an author, that I felt the true impact of a story.


7.  If you could portal into any book (yours or another person’s), what book would it be?

Oh, I love this question. I have 2 books that I’d wantto be dropped into. One is my new book, Give and Take (out in October, 2019). In that story, you meet 12-year-old Maggie who has a big heart and a hard time letting go. Of stuff. Of people. Of the past. And when she has to say goodbye to Izzie, the newborn baby her family fosters, Maggie’s collection of things under her bed and in her closet grows out of control. Eventually, with the help of her pet turtle Rufus and Baby Izzie, Maggie learns that sometimes love means letting go. 


I’d love drop into Maggie’s world so I could hug her and tell her that she doesn’t need to hoard rocks and sticks and gum wrappers to remember the memories that are attached to those things. Her mind and heart will hold onto what’s important. And remind her that sometimes we love, not to be remembered, but because we can. Because it is the best gift we have togive.


The other book I’d love to swoop into is Rain Reign by Ann M. Martin. I’d love to spend time with Rose and, when her dog Rain goes missing, help her findhim.

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