REBECCA STEAD ABOUT

I grew up in New York City, where I was lucky enough to go to an elementary school where I could sit in a windowsill, or even under a table, and read a book. On those windowsills, under those tables, and in my two beds at night, I fell in love with books. (I had two beds because my parents were divorced.)

Reading books made me think about writing. (The writer Saul Bellow once said that a writer is a reader moved to emulation. That’s me.)

But, as a kid, I didn’t write a lot.
You could probably fit everything I wrote before the age of 17 into one (skinny) notebook.

Much, much later, I became a lawyer (I believed that trying to be a writer was impractical), got married, and started working as a public defender. But I still wrote stories (for adults) when I could find the time.

My first child, a fabulous son, was born. A few years later, I had another fabulous son. There wasn’t much time for writing stories after that. I still tried, though.

One day, my three-year-old son, though fabulous, accidentally pushed my laptop off the dining-room table, and my stories were gone. Poof.

So. It was time to write something new. Something joyful. I went to a bookstore (an independent bookstore) and bought an armload of books that I remembered loving as a kid. I read them. Then I went back to the store and bought more books written for children (newer ones). I read them. And then I began to write again. This time, for kids.

Some people will tell you that “real writers” don’t use parentheticals (which is nonsense). The most important thing to know about writing is that there are no rules.

I grew up in New York City, where I was lucky enough to go to an elementary school where I could sit in a windowsill, or even under a table, and read a book, and no one told you to come out (well, eventually someone did, but not right away). On those windowsills, under those tables, and in my two beds at night, I fell in love with books. (I had two beds because my parents were divorced.)

Reading books made me think about writing. (The writer Saul Bellow once said that a writer is a reader moved to emulation. That’s me.)

Reading books made me think about writing. (The writer Saul Bellow once said that a writer is a reader moved to emulation. That’s me.)

But, as a kid, I didn’t write a lot. You could probably fit everything I wrote before the age of 17 into one (skinny) notebook.

Much, much later, I became a lawyer (I believed that trying to be a writer was impractical), got married, and started working as a public defender. But I still wrote stories (for adults) when I could find the time.

My first child, a fabulous son, was born. A few years later, I had another fabulous son. There wasn’t much time for writing stories after that. I still tried, though.

One day, my three-year-old son, though fabulous, accidentally pushed my laptop off the dining-room table, and my stories were gone. Poof.

So. It was time to write something new. Something joyful. I went to a bookstore (an independent bookstore) and bought an armload of books that I remembered loving as a kid. I read them. Then I went back to the store and bought more books written for children (newer ones). I read them. And then I began to write again. This time, for kids.

Some people will tell you that “real writers” don’t use parentheticals (which is nonsense). The most important thing to know about writing is that there are no rules.

Interviews

A few interviews about my books, my childhood, and my writing process, among other things:

Rebecca Stead author interview with The Horn Book
interview #1
(“Yeah, I like to talk about weirdness.”)
Author Rebecca Stead interview at Publisher's Weekly
interview#2
(“Now I feel like my regular, struggling self”)
Author Rebecca Stead interview at Book Browse
interview #3
(“On many days, I don’t sit down to write at all.”)
Rebecca Stead author interview with School Library Journal
interview #4
(“And one day I just lost my sense of the book’s internal logic.”)
Author Rebecca Stead interview at Publisher's Weekly
interview #5
(“Guess who I’m writing a book with?”)
Rebecca Stead author interview with NPR
interview #6
(“With Her Parents Divorcing, A Child Makes ‘The List Of Things That Will Not Change’”)