Lamar Giles

  • 4 min read
Photo credit: Adrienne Giles

Author website/social media: http://www.lamargiles.com, @lrgiles on Twitter

  1. When you were my age (11), did you like to read?

LG: I sure did! I really liked scary books and the scariest books I could find were by Stephen King, so I used to go to my local library and grab his books, then read in a corner most of the day because it was bright in the library and I wouldn’t get too frightened!

  1. What is a book that made an impact on you?

LG: Books that really made an impact on me were always the kind of weird ones, so I’m going to name a few if that’s okay. I really loved The Phantom Tollbooth, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, Horton Hears a Who!, and the Deborah and James Howe Bunnicula books.

  1. Is it hard to come up with book ideas?

LG: It can be a little hard, but in the way that everything is hard when you first try it. I always think of sports–I like basketball–and how any sport can be a little hard at first. But if you like it, and you keep at it, even if it’s hard you can get really good at doing a hard thing. It’s all about practice and telling yourself you’re going to get better.

  1. Your books can be complex and have lots of details. How do you keep track of this?

LG: The thing is it’s not so much about keeping track as it is cutting out a lot of extra stuff. Any of my books you read, what you’re getting is like the fifth or sixth version of the book. I write it, then I rewrite it, then I take out a bunch of stuff, and what’s left is all that I think absolutely has to be there. So, while you recognize a lot of the details, what I’ve tried to do is remove extra stuff you never know about so those details stick with you more.

  1. Is there a new or lesser known author you think kids should be aware of?

LG: I think people should know about Karen Strong’s Just South of Home. And also anything by Tracey Baptiste, particularly her Jumbies series.

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

LG: Get used to finishing the stories you start. Finishing is the hardest part. You may be tempted to abandon a project half-way through because you get another idea that you’re excited about. But, if you can train yourself to finish the story you’re working on, even when you kind of don’t feel like it, you’ll be honing a necessary bit of perseverance that will serve you well as you continue to write.

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

LG: Occasionally I do hear from readers, and I love it. Many people have reached out to me and said kind things about my work. That is always encouraging.

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

LG: It would definitely be one of my Logan County books, so either The Last Last-Day-of-Summer or The Last Mirror on the Left. Even though Logan County is weird (maybe a little bit dangerous), it would be totally worth it to me Otto, Sheed, Wiki and Leen face to face. I love them so much!

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