This is the second installment in our new series, Five Questions. Today we’re interviewing Julie Fatlatko, author of Snappsy the Alligator (Did Not Ask to Be in This Book!). I hope you all enjoy getting to know the person behind the book and the "story behind the story" as much as I have.
How did Snappsy come to be?
In 2012 I had immersed myself in children’s literature. I got huge stacks of picture books from the library every week, and was writing as much as I could. I wrote a lot of bad stories, then a lot of not-great stories, and then some pretty-okay stories It was in the middle of all that, thinking about all the books I’d read, and about how I mostly liked picture books that are funny and smart, that the idea for Snappsy came to me.
What does your background include besides being a writer?
I was an English major in college and got my masters in library science in 2010. And I’ve always loved reading and writing. (I guess the not-so-secret secret here is that it’s possible that writing children’s books is the only job I’m actually qualified to do.)
What books are you reading to your children at the moment? (Or, what are their current favorite books?)
I have four children, so you’re going to get a varied list here.
Ramona, who’s 6, is loving A Dark, Dark Cave by Eric Hoffman, illustrated by Corey R. Tabor, Where’s the Party? by Ruth Chan, Good Night Owl by Greg Pizzoli, and Explorers of the Wild by Cale Atkinson.
Zuzu, age 8, is nose-deep in The Harry Potter Character Vault and The Harry Potter Artifact Vault, and also Hamilton: The Revolution by Lin-Manual Miranda and Jeremy McCarter (we’re all reading that, actually). She also loves the Zebrafish graphic novels from FableVision.
Eli, age 10, just read Hoot and Flush by Carl Hiaasen, and loves anything related to World War II (he especially liked The Boys Who Challenged Hitler by Phillip Hoose). He also loves the Nathan Hale’s Hazardous Tales series, and any book that starts with “graphic” and ends with “novel.”
Henry, who’s 12, is reading the Leviathan series by Scott Westerfeld, and loves non-fiction science encyclopedias like the DK/Smithsonian Natural History or History of the World in 1,000 Objects.
What is the best piece of advice anyone’s ever given you?
The best advice I’ve gotten is to take the word “aspiring” out of my description of myself as an author. If you’re writing, you’re a writer. An aspiring author is someone who thinks sitting at the coffee shop with a laptop sounds like something that might happen someday ten years from now. To take yourself seriously as a writer, do it, right now, today.
Any hidden talents we should know about? 😉
I’m pretty open about everything, so I’m not sure any of my “talents” are hidden. One thing I’m good at, which maybe is unusual, is public speaking. I love being on stage in front of a microphone (or just talking really loud). You know how public speaking is regularly listed as people’s number one fear? I’ve tried, but I really don’t get it. If anything, I fear not public speaking (like, I don’t know, a situation where everyone else gets to talk to a crowd, and I’m left out). I have fears of clowns, old dirty pennies that are weirdly damp, milk in sippy cups, and a strange rustling in tall grass. But I love public speaking. Is that a hidden talent? Maybe for a writer who spends the majority of her days sitting at a desk?
So great getting to know you, Julie. And thanks for making us laugh!