Your first time can be magical… It can also be anxiety-ridden, awkward and filled with tears, and the life of a published author or illustrator is filled with them. This series will give us a look at some of the first times of our favorite creators.
This time: Erin Entrada Kelly’s debut novel Blackbird Fly was released in 2015 and was a Junior Library Guild Selection, Indies Next Pick, and one of SIBA’s Best Books of the South. She has been nominated for the Pushcart Prize and the Philippines Free Press Literary Award for Short Fiction. Her second novel, The Land of Forgotten Girls, comes out March 1, from Greenwillow Books. She lives in Philadelphia.
1. WHEN DID YOU FIRST KNOW YOU WANTED TO BE A WRITER?
Since forever. Honestly, I can’t remember a time when I didn’t. I wrote my first book in second grade and haven’t stopped since.
I would like to say that I screamed and twirled and went out with friends for a grand celebration, but really I just sat on my back fire escape, dumbfounded. It was surreal. It still is!
3. WHAT WAS THE PROCESS OF PUTTING YOUR FIRST BOOK TOGETHER LIKE?
I assume you mean my first published book. The short answer is: The process was long, frustrating, and incredibly rewarding.
4. WHAT DID YOU LEARN FROM THAT FIRST EXPERIENCE?
Writing is a solitary experience. Publishing is not. You have to be willing to listen to feedback and you have to remember that books aren’t all about the author. You have to think about the reader, too. It’s a mutual relationship, in my opinion.
5. WHEN DID YOU FIRST SEE ONE OF YOUR BOOKS IN A STORE? HOW DID YOU FEEL?
Once again: Dumbfounded. But to be honest, I was more excited when I saw my book in a library for the first time. I have a longtime love for libraries. I would live in one if I could. Maybe if I ask nicely, someone will let me…