Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Interview with Exquisite Corpse Authors and Illustrators!

An Interview with NCBLA Exquisite Corpse Adventure Contributor, Author Susan Cooper!!

Check out Episode 4 and Episode 17 of The Exquisite Corpse Adventure to read Susan's part in this fun story.

Newbery Medal winner Susan Cooper writes novels, picture books, chapter books, and screenplays for television and Broadway. In the world of children's literature, fantasy and Susan Cooper are synonymous. One only has to read her The Dark is Rising series to see how she magically weaves myths and legends into gripping tales.

The NCBLA coaxed Susan back into the real world to answer a few questions:

Q- What did you find to be the most challenging aspect of writing an episode for The Exquisite Corpse Adventure?

A-"I suppose the most challenging aspect was the one that was also the most fun - the fact of having absolutely no control over what happened to the characters before the start of my episode, or after it. The second time around was even more fun than the first, because so much outrageous stuff had happened to them in between. And the second time offered extra challenges because I felt I should go back to Jon S's (Scieszka) list of forthcoming events and characters mentioned in his first episode and try to pick up some that we hadn't yet dealt with. The whole thing was a blast, and I hope it's been enjoyable to read - though it does probably prove that a truly coherent novel is best written by a single author."

Q-What were some of your favorite books when you were in elementary school?

A-"I was in elementary school A VERY LONG TIME AGO, and in England. I loved The Wind in the Willows by Kenneth Grahame, Kipling's Jungle Book, the Just So Stories, and Kim E. Nesbit's fantasies, The Five Children and It, The Phoenix and The Carpet, and non-fantasy, The Railway Children (these three were very old-fashioned even then, but are still worth reading). And most of all, everything by my favorite author, Arthur Ransome, stories about children and boats, from Swallows and Amazons all the way to Great Northern? My American children loved them too. When they grew up and left home, my son Jon carried off my childhood set, so I wailed to a secondhand bookseller friend in England and she found me substitutes. There they sit on my shelf, all twelve of them, in the original green bindings."

Q-What are you working on now? Do you have a new book coming out this year?

A-"Candlewick will be publishing a book I've written about the singer/director/author John Longstaff in 2011. I've been writing a novel (for 10 year olds, I imagine - it's the publishers who decide that) for the past two years and am just finishing it, so it probably won't come out till 2011 either. It jumps from the 17th century to the present day and is written in the first person by a Native American boy, which is either very courageous of me or very rash - perhaps both! Neither book yet has a title: I always have trouble with titles. The novel, I suppose, will be Simon & Schuster (McElderry) over here and Random House (Bodley Head) in the UK, as usual."

Look for Susan's intriguing books at your favorite bookstore or library.

For more information about Susan and her books, visit her website.

What is The Exquisite Corpse Adventure?

For those not in the know, The Exquisite Corpse Adventure is a series of episodes written by famous children's authors and illustrators. Each author and illustrator inherits the story from the previous folks. It's like taking over a recipe in the middle, you need to understand what's gone into the stew so far and then add your own ingredients to make it hot and spicy! To catch up on all the exciting episodes, go to

And parents, teachers, and librarians, be sure to check out the NCBLA's Exquisite Corpse Adventure Educational Resource Center for great ideas on how to turn The Exquisite Corpse Adventure into a great education adventure.