Monday, September 14, 2009

Author Interview with Wendy Townsend

Monday, September 14, 2009 Interview and exciting news about a new publisher!

You've met YA author, Wendy Townsend; you've learned about her book, Lizard Love. This week you're going to get an inside look at Wendy's writing process and writing thoughts.
But first, there's some exciting news you'll want to check out: Wendy's book is now available as an e-book at This is not just any publisher. The president and publisher of Namelos is none other than the highly acclaimed publisher/editor: Stephen Roxburgh (Front Street Books). Stephen has agreed to talk to you about his company in a future post. In the meantime, check out the link above and look around. There's a wonderful article in PW (Publisher's Weekly) posted on the Namelos web-site about his company and his philosophy. Spend some time looking over the Namelos site. It has a lot to offer writers and readers. And now, on to the INTERVIEW with Wendy Townsend.

Q: Is Lizard Love based on your life?
A: Yes, though only the grandparents are real; the mother is based on my mother, but everyone else is made up. Most of the animal characters are real.

Q: Are there scenes in the book that really happened?
A: Most of the Prologue is pretty real. I did walk out of a pet shop with a baby reticulated python who had lost most of his skin. I got a tour behind the scenes at the Bronx Zoo. My iguana friend at Grace's age was a female; Spot came later in my life and he never did bite me. Oh, and I did ride the subway to a friend's school.

Q: What books influenced your work on Lizard Love?
A: The Language of Goldfish and Rascal. In the first story, the girl is struggling so hard with becoming a young woman that she has to go into therapy. Rascal is about an extraordinary friendship between a boy and a raccoon--it is totally autobiographical and the author even uses his own name for the boy character. As with Grace and Spot, the boy, Sterling, sleeps and plays with Rascal.

Q: Are you the protagonist, Grace?
A: No and yes. It's true that first books are particularly autobiographical. Lizard Love started out as a memoir and I wrote the Prologue while I was in the Vermont College MFA Program. Making the leap into fiction was very difficult for me. Grace took on a life of her own, but it was a struggle, and I'm not so sure I really succeeded.

Q: What was the hardest part of writing the book?
A: The fact that I didn't know what it was all about while I was writing it. I wrote the Prologue and then didn't know what to do.

Q: What did you find the easiest part to write?
A: Nothing about the book was easy. But if I had to pick something, it would be working with an editor. I was just so thrilled to get any kind of guidance, anything to go on.

Q: Technically, what was the most difficult part of writing?
A: Getting bogged down in fixing sentences, instead of trusting the images in my head. I had to write the whole novel to learn that that's not the best way to write fiction!

Q: When did you decide to write for children?
A: I didn't decide; it turned out that what I was trying to say had to do with issues around that time in a person's life. When you're a child you see things for the first time and that is charged for me and more interesting to write about than the trials and dramas of adult life.

Thanks for joining us today, Wendy. You'll all be happy to know that Wendy will be back here on Wednesday to share thoughts about writing, including some excellent tips for writers. Don't forget to post a comment this week to be included in the drawing for a free autographed copy of Lizard Love. The winner will be announced on Thursday, September 24th.


  1. Thanks for the interview and providing the info on Namelos--another option for writers--yeah!
    It was nice to learn more about Wendy and some of the things that went into her new book. I wish her well with it!
    Looking forward to Wendy's Wednesday writers tips.

  2. Thanks for dropping by, Beth. It's always good to hear from you. Hope you had a great writing summer.

    Your name is added to the hat for a chance to win an autographed copy of the book.