Twitter and Instagram — @JenSwanBooks
When you were my age (10), did you like to read? I loved to read mysteries. I read every single Nancy Drew book that was written at that time, and also the Hardy Boys and Trixie Belden series. I also gobbled up nonfiction books like crazy. I was very interested in learning about the world around me.
What is a book that made an impact on you? This is a tough one. There are so many. I have to say the one book that really showed me that I could tackle tougher physics and engineering topics for kids is a book called A Black Hole is NOT a Hole by Carolyn DeCristofano. It’s so well-written and deals with the very complex topic of black holes in an interesting and easy to read manner.
Is it hard to come up with book ideas? You write about real things so where do your ideas come from? (Lil Bro – why write about car safety for kids? I like it but most kids are not interested.) I am a very curious person. I started a science club in my garage when I was 7 years old. I wanted to learn more about how things worked in our world. My intense curiosity has followed me my whole life. I come up with ideas, just by wondering… “how does that work?”
As for why I wrote about cars, I actually do believe that kids are interested in cars. I remember playing with Hot Wheels with my brothers as a kid and then watching my own kids do it. This book was inspired by my interest in the self-driving car. I would really like to drive one some day, but most of all, I think it is amazing how much techonolgy and engineering must come together to get this to work. Wow!
In researching your books, what is coolest thing you have done or encountered? I am very lucky in that I get to cool places and meet amazing people in my research. I have been to NASA, Brookhaven Laboratory — where they have a small particle collider, the Field Museum in Chicago, and most recently to CERN the home of the large hadron collider in Geneva, Switzerland. That was the coolest thing I have done, so far.
Is there a new or lesser known author you think kids should be aware of?
There are alot of great authors out there. If you like science and technology, I encourage them to go into the library and spend some time in that section. Find books that are engaging and exciting. There are tons of them there! If you want to find some great books about STEM, I encourage you to check out a blog that I run: STEM Tuesday. It is split up into different topics so you can search it. There are even some fun activities to do on your own or with your class, too.
What advice do you have for a kid who wants to be an author? Read a lot of books. And also try to keep a journal. I did that as a child. I wrote down my thoughts and ideas. It’s fun to look back on that now. Just have fun with writing.
As an author, do you hear from your readers? What do you like about that?I do hear from my readers and that is one of my favorite parts about being an author. I get pictures and letters from them. A lot of the time they tell me about their favorite part of the book. They ask me questions and sometimes tell me how they were inspired and now want to become a scientist or engineer. That is awesome!
If you could portal into any book (yours or another person’s), what book would it be? Harry Potter without a doubt. I mean who wouldn’t want to live in that creative, exciting world with magic?