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And whatever connections I can make between these chapters of my life.

Monday, April 1, 2013

Welcome, Nancy Cavanaugh!

     I'm excited to have my friend and fellow Tampa Bay writer, Nancy Cavanaugh, here today. Nancy's first middle-grade novel, THIS JOURNAL BELONGS TO RATCHET, launches this week. I loved this book! And apparently, so did a lot of other reviewers.  
   ⇒A star from Kirkus is about as gold as you can get. 

     Pull up a chair. Or a tool bench. And let's ask Nancy about 11-year-old Ratchet and her home-school journal.

 Augusta:   I’m curious about the neat format of this book. Kids will love the poems, letters, research- all from Ratchet. Did you write the entries in the order they appeared or did you skip around?  Did they change much as you edited it for publication?

For the most part, I wrote the book in order.  Going from beginning to end is just how my brain works.  There were a few times though, when I’d think of a scene I wanted to have happen later on, so I would jot notes down about that scene, and I’d also decide what type of assignment I would use for writing that scene.  Over the years while I was writing RATCHET, I revised A LOT, and once I started working with my editor at Sourcebooks, Aubrey Poole, I revised a lot more.  So yes, the book changed quite a bit throughout all those revisions.

Augusta: When and where do you do your best writing?  Do you like music, crowds, food to surround you?  Or are you a solitary writer?

Nancy:  My best writing time is probably late at night.  It’s when I know I won’t get interrupted because everyone else is asleep, and it’s nice and quiet.  As for the best place, I’m kind of a writing nomad.  In my house, I write in different places.  Recently, I found this handy dandy carry-all organizer that holds all my stuff.  

 It makes it so easy for me to take everything with me to any room in the house.

Augusta:    Oh, I love that bag! Very cool, Nancy. 
You’re both a mom and librarian.  Were you inspired by other books you’ve read over the years?  Do you have any favorites?

I feel like we’re all inspired by everything we read – the books we think are good and even the ones we think aren’t so good.  In writing RATCHET though, I was inspired by one book in particular – WHAT I BELIEVE by Norma Fox Mazer.  It’s a wonderful story told through free verse poetry, and for some reason that book inspired me to think about writing a book in a different format.

Augusta: Ratchet, on a limited budget and totally not a girlie-girl, shops in some zany spots. Although this is not a "girl" book, they will just love this part of your story.  Tell us, what's your fashion sense?  Do you also shop the second-hand clothing stores?

I can sum up my fashion sense in one word – comfort.  My criteria for what to wear is that it be first and foremost comfortable.  That’s why you’ll see me wearing gym shoes about 95% of the time.  As for shopping, I guess I can sum that up in one word too – Kohl’s.  I buy about 95% of my clothes and shoes from Kohl’s.  (They’re not even paying me to say all this; that’s how much I love Kohl’s.)

(Here's Nancy, looking pretty comfy, toiling away at her Work Bench!)
Augusta:  Your writing about Ratchet’s dad’s shop and her helping out is such fun to read and so realistic.  Do you know your way around a toolbox?

I learned all my mechanic skills from my husband.  He was a former industrial arts teacher, and the two of us developed and taught elementary and middle school students a course on small engines.  In the class, we took apart a small engine and put it back together again.  Well, you know what they say, there’s no better way to learn something than to teach it, so that’s how I learned what I know.  My experience became the inspiration for Ratchet’s expertise.

Augusta:   Will we see this character again?  Do you have another book you’d like to tell us about?

I don’t have plans for another book about Ratchet, at least not right now.  What you will see from me is more books written in alternative formats.  I love the creative part of figuring out how to tell an entire story in a unique way.    
Thanks for sharing this funny, smart girl and her story with us today. Here's a link to Nancy's website:  
While you're there, click on the link to her blog, too.



Jaimie Engle said...

This seems like it will be a wonderful book. I loved learning more about the character and especially about the author. good luck, Nancy...and thanks for sharing, Augusta!

Lee Stokes Hilton said...

What a nice interview -- with real information about the author. But as a late night writer myself, I liked her from the beginning!

Kimberley Griffiths Little said...

Great interview, gals - thank you!

Augusta Scattergood said...

Her book launch is this Sunday, 4:00, Clearwater Barnes and Noble. Sorry I'll be in Indiana, but I know it will be fun.

Thanks for the comments!