Who are your writing heroes?
I’ve been re-reading a lot of my favorite books this summer, and thinking about who my writing heroes are and what it is I admire about them. One of the reasons for this is that a few weeks ago I won something in an online charity auction.
These are Dr. Who washcloths. I am not a Dr. Who fan. But. These washcloths were knitted by none other than Kristin Cashore. I am a HUGE Kristin Cashore fan. I can’t tell you how thrilling it was to send her an email with my address, to open up my mailbox and have something in there from her. My writing hero. Shortly after my first novel came out, I was signing books at an author fair, and I looked down the line and saw none other than George Ella Lyon signing books too. George Ella Lyon is a poet and writer from Kentucky, just like me. We even went to the same college – although a few years apart. I’ve always been a big fan of her poetry. Her poem “Where I’m From” inspired the opening poem in Caminar in fact. I somehow screwed up the courage to walk over to her and tell her this, showing her my poem and asking her to sign my beat-up copy of her book, that I happened to have with me.
It is a little surreal to meet our writing heroes.
Libba Bray sat in a talk I gave in grad school—one in which I was quoting her book. I got to chat with her later and I remember feeling so completely in awe of just how kind she was, how humble, how seemingly unaware she was of her heroic status.
Who are your writing heroes? Whose books do you read over and over again? Who would you feel a little tongue-tied to meet in person?
Kristin Cashore is my writing hero. She builds rich, interesting worlds, and fills them with strong, unconventional characters.
Rainbow Rowell is my writing hero. She writes lines that stab me in the gut and make me wonder if she’s writing her books just for me. Don’t you love when a book speaks to you that way?
Don Calame is my writing hero because his books are funny. So, so, so funny. Laugh out loud funny. Boys-really- talk-like- that funny.
Kwame Alexander? The perfect blend of exquisite poetry and action on the page.
David Levithan? He takes all the rules of stories and throws them out the window.
Meg Medina? Those descriptions! Libba Bray? Perfect Satire! Ruta Sepetys? Queen of opening lines.
I can’t get enough of these writers. And I think summer is the perfect time to relax with all my favorites. I read a lot of books, but it isn’t often I want to reread a story. Even one I like. Yet somehow, a few authors can make me spend an entire summer doing just that. Rereading all the worlds they’ve built, the characters they’ve imagined, the stories they’ve carefully crafted.
These are my writing heroes. Who are yours?
Skila Brown is the author of verse novels Caminar and To Stay Alive, as well as the picture book Slickety Quick: Poems About Sharks, all with Candlewick Press. She received an MFA from Vermont College of Fine Arts. She grew up in Kentucky and Tennessee and now lives in Indiana where she writes books for readers of all ages.
Thanks for this amazing post Skila! Kristen Cashore is one of my writing heroes also.