TB: Toni Buzzeo NF: Nickie Finnegan
NF: Can you tell me about your family?TB: My husband is named Ken Cyll, and he lives with me in a beautiful house in Buckston, Main. Our son, Topher, is 28 years old, and he lives in Boston, Massachusetts. Ken built me a gorgeous writing cottage, and if you go on my website, you can see a video of it being built.
NF: Can you tell me about your childhood?
TB: I was an only child for 9 years, and then my parents took in a foster child named Marianne. It was hard to adapt, but I managed. After caring for Marianne, though, my mom gave birth to three more siblings! It was crazy! This all happened when I lived in Michigan as a kid.
NF: What got you interested in writing?
TB: Well, When I was about 11, I discovered the part of the public library where the poetry books were, and I started reading poetry books like crazy! I started checking our big, big stacks of them. Then, I started copying my favorite poems into journals, and I ended up with a big stack of notebooks. Because of that, I thought, what if I could write poetry? So I started writing, and I was really good at it. So that's what started me writing. I didn't publish anything when I was in high school, but when I was in college I started to publish my poems in the literary arts journal. That got me started!
NF: What are some of your hobbies besides writing?
TB: Oh, I make jewelry, I crochet, I sew, I read like crazy of course, and I love to travel. Every year I try to take a big trip to some place fun! Especially if I can go some place far away like this March when I'm going with Ken to Frankfort, Germany, and Hungary. I'm going to do speaking there, like I did today here.
NF: Do you ever get writer's block, and if so, how do you deal with it?
TB: Well, I do get writer's block, and I don't know if this happens to you, but sometimes I get writer's block before I even write. Maybe I have an idea, but for one reason or another I'm just afraid to start writing! Once I start it sometimes goes away, other times it doesn't. One of the ways that I deal with it is I try then writing something completely different, because if my brain is not allowing me to write that that thing that I'm trying to write right then, maybe it's just that I'm not ready to write that piece. So I'll put it away for a while. The other thing I do is share my writing with other friends like Jane Kurtz and say, I'm really stuck on this, what do you think I should do? to get other people's ideas and feedback
.NF: Who is your favorite author?
TB: That's a tricky question to ask an author because our best friends of course are authors. So Some of my favorite authors are right here like Jane Kurtz, Jennifer Ward, Franny Billingsley...
NF: Do you have any advice for young authors?
TB: I do. First, I think that you should write a lot, even things that you might not make a story out of. If you see something, just write it down; observe. Second, try a new genre because look at what happened for me when I tried poetry. Also, read a lot. Reading a lot is the most important thing you can do. Finally, find either some adults or friends and share your writing and give each other feedback and suggestions. When you collect their opinions, then try using their suggestions. Who knows, it could make your story a whole lot better.
NF: I also wanted to ask you about your career as a librarian. Did you also get inspired to write kid's books by that?
TB: I did really get inspired by that because I was around books all the time. Then I thought that I should write kid's books because I was around them all of the time. I also really like to write about library situations because I knew all about them!