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Her most popular book is probably "A Mango Shaped Space", but author Wendy Mass has written many other novels for pre-teens and young adults, including "Leap Year", "Jeremy Fink and the Meaning of Life" and her fractured fairy tale series, "Twice Upon a Time".
I was recently given the opportunity to interview Ms. Mass for Teen Ink.
RH: When did you first get interested in writing?
WM: I wrote my first short story in 5th grade, and was hooked! I co-wrote it with my 2 sisters and it was about our cat who turned into a goat and broke into the neighbor’s house!
RH: When did you know you wanted to be an author?
WM: By the time I was in high school, I knew this was what I wanted to do. I spent most of college writing short stories, and then when I graduated I got a job in publishing, so even though I wasn’t the one writing the books, I got to have a hand in bringing them to life.
RH: What was your inspiration behind "A Mango Shaped Space"? Do you actually know someone like Mia?
WM: I didn’t know anyone with synesthesia before I started writing the book, but as I went along I met many. I think it’s a lot more common than people think. Just start asking your friends the colors of various letters and I bet some can tell you!
RH: How do you come up with such unique characters?
WM: I don’t think my characters are really so unique—only in the way that all people are unique. Like we’re all a mix of different personality traits. But to create them, I have a form I fill out with around 20 questions on it. Basically I’m “interviewing” the character—what do they look like, good traits, bad traits, family dynamics, etc. Then by the time I’m done with the interview, voila, a character has been born.
RH: Do you enjoy fractured fairy-tales, like your "Twice Upon a Time" books?
WM: I do enjoy seeing old stories in new lights. I’m excited to be continuing that series next year.
RH: What is your favorite book that you've written?
WM: Leap Day and 11 Birthdays were a lot of fun to write, although I think Jeremy Fink & the Meaning of Life is probably the strongest.
RH: What are some of your hobbies?
WM: I have 4 year old twins, so if I’m not writing, all I want to do is play with them. They’re my new hobby. :o)
RH: What is a book/author that has most influenced your writing and you, yourself, as a writer?
WM: I read a book in 7th grade called ALLEGRA MAUD GOLDMAN by Edith Konecky that I loved! Made me laugh and cry, and really inspired me. Other than that, I just loved all the books I read in elementary and middle school, and think they are so important to your development as a person. I write for this age to give something back to the books that gave so much to me while I was growing up.
RH: Who are some of your favorite authors?
WM: So many! See the Author Pals section of my website (wendymass.com).
RH: Is there a certain type of writing or genre that you would like to experiment with?
WM: I’m exited to try my hand at science fiction next. It’s going to be a kind of off-the-wall story about a boy who mistakenly destroys the universe and has a week to rebuild it.
RH: "Finally" was released this year; are you already working on a new project?
WM: I’m working on another book in that birthday series, and THE CANDYMAKERS was just released in the beginning of October. It’s about 4 kids competing to make the world’s best new candy, but things are not at all what they seem.
RH: Thank you so much for doing this. I really appreciate it!
WM: My pleasure. SOOO sorry it took so long!!*
RH: No problem! Thank you for taking some time to answer my many questions. I'm looking forward to your new books!
*[the e-mail got lost]
Mount Vernon, Washington
Los Angeles, California
Lagrange, North Carolina
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