Nora Raleigh Baskin is a multiple award winning novelist, author of brilliant books such as What Every Girl (except me) Knows, The Truth About my Bat Mitzvah, All We Know of Love, and many others. WEG(em)K is a book that I read about five years ago, but it's stuck with me all this time, a memorable read. Check it out sometime! Recently, I asked her a series of questions and had the fortune of having them answered.
Where do your ideas for writing come from?
All my ideas, for the most part, come from my own life experiences..(in particular my first two novels..they are pretty much auto-biographical)but all my stories are parts of me...I make up very little, to be honest. Even my latest YA novel (ALL WE KNOW OF LOVE) although it has nothing to do with my real life in character or plot..is more true to my "story" in more symbolic and hidden ways.
Do you find certain characters harder to write than others?
No..I use memories of people I know..or myself. I can't say I find any one character harder than another.
What do you do when inspiration is lacking (i.e. the muse has gone on vacation)?
I eat. Or read a lot. I don't force myself to write. (although right now I have a deadline..and it's pretty hard)
What advice would you give to other young aspiring writers?
Read. A lot. Write as authentically and honestly as you can. Don't try to please anyone..don't. Write what is in your heart. Write what you like to read.
Words of wisdom - give a quote you live by?
Funny...I have a ton of those, unfortunately. They are so simple and silly. But one I've been taking to heart lately comes from Beverly Sills, an opera singer who recently died..and although I had no attachment to her or her work I was taken by this quote I heard attributed to her. "I'd rather look back on my life and regret the things I did, than look back and regret the things I didn't do."I just love that!
Do you plan out all your novels in great detail first, or let the characters lead you where they may?
I never plan out..I never know where I am going or how I am going to get there..But I do have an idea of the ending feeling I want to achieve, if that makes sense.
What do you think is the most rewarding aspect of writing for Young Adults?
Meeting young readers. Having readers who are real and not full of ..you know what. Readers who are honest. So when you reach someone you know it's meaningful. That's everything.
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