Monday, May 3, 2010

Four Questions for Fred McKissack, Jr.

Over the last two weeks we collected four questions for ACPL Writer in Residence Fredrick McKissack, Jr.

1. I would like to know how you get the names for the people in your books. - Anonymous

I sometimes use first names of people I know, and I do use last names from my own family. However, what I try and do is find a name that works for the character, a name that resonates with me and, hopefully, the reader. There's a logic to it. In Shooting Star, Jomo's parents gave him that name because of the respect that have for the great Kenyan leader Jomo Kenyatta. Given his parents' political and social leanings, the name makes sense. I've changed the names of characters because the name didn't sound right. For me, it comes done to what feels and sounds right.

2. What do you do when you can't think of anything to write about? - Gabriel

Oh, that rarely happens. I have too many ideas--not all of them are good. The real problem is getting to the best idea, and even then a publisher or editor might not like the idea as much as I do.

3. What is your favorite book written by your parents? - Josie

That's a hard one, but I love Flossie and the Fox. It's a timeless story, and Flossie is a brave character that all children can identify with and root as she outwits the fox.
Thanks for the question, Josie.

4. Which of your books did you enjoy writing the most? - Kim

I really enjoyed writing Shooting Star. It was a long, but fun process of going from basic idea to a complex story with multi-dimensional characters. Black Diamond is high on the list, too. One of the great benefits about writing non-fiction is how much you as the writer learn in researching a subject. I thought I knew baseball, but working on that book really opened my eyes and mind to the past struggles of African-American baseball players.
Thanks for the question, Kim

Do you have a question for Fred McKissack, Jr.? Send it to me.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Flossie & the Fox sounds good, I will read it now. Thanks from Josie.