A famous author agreed to meet with me just a few blocks away from his house in Denver. Okay, well, really Avi, the author most recently of The End of the World and Beyond agreed to give a talk at the Tattered Cover bookstore on Colfax Ave. (which is really close to his house) and I met him there for an interview
Avi, whose real name I learned, but won’t reveal because he asked me to keep it a secret, started writing when he was around fifteen years old. His favorite part of being an author is learning. He enjoys researching his books, and thinks the most important quality for a good author is a good memory. Avi researches his books first, and then spends about one year writing them. When he gets writers block (which he says he gets about twenty times a day), he deals with it by taking a walk, cooking dinner, or talking to a cat. It is important to do something else to get your thinking going again.
Avi’s books, including The End of the World and Beyond and its prequel, The Unexpected Life of Oliver Cromwell Pitts, are both historical fiction. This is true of many of Avi’s books and so he does a lot of research. He enjoys researching, and gets his ideas for books from research. He often gets suggestions for book topics from other people, but he can only remember one time when he took anyone else’s advice. Avi’s reason for pursuing his own ideas is that someone else’s idea will not result in the same emotional connection to the topic that he would have by coming up with it himself, and then the reader would not be as engaged.
Avi has written more than 70 books over his long career, and he is still writing. He is working on several books currently, including one about the American Revolution, and another addition to his series on Poppy the mouse.
I have read three of Avi’s books, The Unexpected Life of Oliver Cromwell Pitts, The End of the World and Beyond and the one that won him the Newbery Medal, Crispin and the Cross Of Lead. I recommend all three of these books, and am looking forward to reading the more than 70 other books he has published!
Oh, and if you are really curious about why a famous author decides not to use his real name, I can only tell you that Avi is a nickname from his childhood, when his sister could not pronounce his real name.