School Time Author Q&A Series: Deb Caletti

Hello Beautiful People,

We’re pleased to announce our next author in the School Time Author Q&A Series, the ever so humble, the ever so eloquent, the YA champion, Deb Caletti.  Thank you Deb, for taking the time to chat with us! 

Check out our exclusive Q&A: 

TWT: Where do you get the inspiration for your stories?

DC: I think writers are people who live vividly and observantly, meaning we’re always open to small moments that become books or parts of books.  Anything can be inspiring.  A bad feeling, a triumph, a storm, or a stalled truck at the side of the road.  Falling in love, or falling apart.  For me, it’s more a question of what isn’t inspiring, rather than what is.  An overheard conversation can turn into a novel.  My own mistakes and the things I want to understand or figure out are often where my books come from.     

TWT: Of all the characters you’ve created, who is your favorite? (Or top three if you just can’t pick one.)
DC: I’ve always liked Frances Lee from The Secret Life of Prince Charming.  And minister Joe Davis from Honey, Baby, Sweetheart.  Clara’s Dad in Stay is a reader favorite, and one of my favorites, too. 

TWT: Do you have any advice for aspiring journalists and novelists?
DC: You’ve heard it before: read.  Read and read some more.  Read what you love and don’t love, and try to figure out why you feel the way you do.  Read to understand rhythm and voice, where a plot bores you, and where you can’t put a book down.  All the writers who you’ve ever read, from Beverly Cleary on up to Hemingway – they’re your best teachers. 
TWT: What tips would you give to parents of reluctant readers?
DC: Keep making those wandering-the-aisles trips to the library, and keep trying new things.  You never know what might strike the right note with your child.  I believe that one book can change everything.  That right one, the one that gets them truly excited – it can help them comprehend all the magic available to them between pages.  And the book that helps them turn that corner may not be in children’s fiction.  It might be a book about tornadoes or black holes or Houdini. It might be a magazine or a graphic novel or a collection of science experiments.  Let your own excitement be contagious, too.  The library is a world of a thousand other worlds you walk into, a place of thrilling discovery.

TWT: Do you ever get writers block?
DC: I have times where I don’t feel motivated, and times where the words don’t flow, or when I’m stuck somewhere along the line while writing a book.  It takes about a year for me to complete a book, so naturally some days “it” is REALLY there, and other days it’s kind of there, and on other days still, it isn’t there at all.  But this is my profession.  It’s my job; it’s how I make my living.  If I was an attorney or a teacher I couldn’t have attorney-block, or teacher-block, right?  I’d have to go to work and make it happen, best I could.  If I’m stuck or uninspired, I push through.  I don’t wait for some perfect moment or lightening bolt of an answer.  I just keep working. 
TWT: What’s your favorite movie genre? 
DC: I love documentaries, which is probably consistent with my love for contemporary fiction – real life is where I personally find the most meaning.  But I’m all for a good character-driven film, too.  And let’s throw in another favorite – a thriller.  Especially the Art-Museum-Theft-in-Venice variety.  Husband-and-Wife-Jewel-Thieves, yes.  I think it was watching all those Pink Panther movies with my dad when I was a kid. 

TWT: Who is/was your greatest teacher?
DC: HOW can I choose one?  I’ve had so many teachers who have made me the reader and writer I am today.  Mrs. Foley, second grade – Ramona the Pest read aloud.  Life changing.  And Mr. Rich Campe, hippie and third grade teacher extraordinaire, who set me on the path to creative writing with his encouraging words on my stories: “Groovy!” “Far OUT!”  And Mr. Tom Deebach, same, who in the sixth grade was also on a one-man mission to build my self-esteem.  Let’s not forget Joann Kotker either, who, during my first two years of college, opened my world with her own enthusiasm for great literary fiction.  Or Pauline Christiansen.   In her literature class, I wrote my first story of merit, at least according to her.  One day, years and years later, at one of my book signings, Pauline appeared.  She pulled that very story out of her purse.  She’d kept it all those years, with some belief that I’d be where I am now.  That’s some kind of belief.  Great teachers, great human beings.  I have continuing gratitude for each and every one of them. 

If you haven’t picked up one of her novels, well, you’re missing out.  And like we always say, you know we’d never steer you wrong.

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