Dear Mr. Walton,
We are a group of fifth grade students working on a Website design contest, which revolves around reading and writing. We've selected a few of our favorite authors to interview for our website. We would appreciate it if you would respond to our questions and give us permission to publish the results on our Website. Thank you for taking the time to answer our questions. You visited our school last year, and we really liked when you were here!
And I liked being there.
Here are a few questions we were wondering about. What made you like to write books?
I've always loved books. I love reading them and holding them and owning them. I also learned when I was a teenager to love writing. I love the creative process. I love the way my brain feels when I've created something new. And I love sharing my creations with others. So when it finally occurred to me that the love of creativity and the love of books could come together into book writing, I was excited and went after it.
Who was the first person to encourage you to write?
I'm sure my mother was the first. She was the one who taught me to read when I was four. When I was in high school, though, one of my teachers told me that a story I had written for her would make a good kids book, and that's when I started getting interested in writing for kids.
Do you keep a regular work schedule?
No. But I'm writing all the time. One of the great things about being a writer is that all of my time is free time, and if a friend wants to go to a movie in the middle of the day I can drop everything and go. If I'm tired and want to take a nap in the middle of the day, I do. But whenever I'm not doing something with friends or family, or taking naps, or working in the yard, I'm writing. I probably write about 60 hours a week.
Do you have a special place to do your writing?
I write everywhere. That's another thing I like about writing. I even write while I'm at the theater watching movies. But I do most of my writing in my office at home. That's where my computers and printers are, and all of my notes, and my books.
How long does it take you to complete a book?
Depends on how long the book is and how complicated. I can write the first draft of a picture book in a couple of hours sometimes. Sometimes more complicated picture books take a few days, and a novel might take a few months. But then there's editing. I show the manuscript to my wife and she gives me suggestions to make it better, and I edit it. Then I show it to some writer friends of mine who give me more suggestions and I edit it to make it better. Then my agent sees it and gives me suggestions. And finally, if a publisher is interested, an editor will give me more suggestions. This whole process might take a couple of years, but the total amount of time I've worked on the manuscript is probably no more than about a week.
Beside yourself, who is your favorite author?
I don't have one favorite author. But I do have several authors that I like most. They all write funny stuff. I love reading funny books. So some of my favorite authors are Louis Sachar, Jon Scieszka, Daniel Pinkwater, Roald Dahl, Dave Barry, Patrick McManus, and Babette Cole.
Besides writing, what do you like to do?
I like to travel, read, play the guitar, talk with friends, and watch good movies, especially old ones.
We know you're probably tired of answering questions, and if you can help us on our project we would really appreciate it!
I love answering questions. Let me know when your website is up and running. I'd love to see it. Rick (who is in Florida right now, visiting school kids)
The TQ22 Web Team Ben, Caitlin, Holeh, Lizzie, Scott and SoYeon
To learn more about Rick Walton visit his site!