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hitchhiking

The way fiction comes to life

I had just completed my first semester at Antioch College, in Yellow Springs, Ohio. It was time to go home in NYC for Christmas break (six hundred miles by the most direct route). My pals and I decided to hitchhike home. I cannot explain the reason for wanting to do this idiotic thing, save that I was seventeen years old,

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Crispin: Cross of Lead

You need to read your own work 81 times

Every writer has his/her own process of writing a book. From start to finish it usually takes me, more or less, about a year to complete. I have crudely calculated that I read and reread that book some eighty times. This can be tedious, arduous, annoying but, trust me, necessary.   In the course of my re-reading, I discover big

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unhappy

Are you pleased by what you’ve written?

When I have handed in a new manuscript it is not uncommon for the editor to say to me—”Are you pleased by what you’ve written?” Often, the answer, you might be surprised to learn, is “No.” Consider, I have worked on the text for much of a year—if not longer. The truth is that the work seems dull, poorly written,

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City of Orphans

Do Writers Listen to Critics?

When you are a public (i.e., published) author you are going to get public (published) criticism. In all the years of my publishing I have never gotten universal positive responses to any book I wrote. One review of The True Confessions of Charlotte Doyle indicated that if I had worked harder I would have written a better book. True, I guess,

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The Poppy Series bookmark

Bookmarks

I recently had printed a bookmark which displays the covers of all the books in the Poppy series. I’m happy to give a few to those that want them.  Please send a SASE to: Avi PO Box 900 Clark, CO 80428 Here’s a brief history of the bookmark plucked from the internet. “The History of the Bookmark” by Sailee Brahme

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My Son Shaun

Having posted the lyrics and music for “The Mouse Song” from my new book, Ragweed and Poppy. A number of folks asked me to say something about my son Shaun, who wrote and performed the music with his family. His name, Shaun, derives from my admiration of the Irish writer Sean O’Casey. His full name is Shaun Wolf Wortis, and

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Ragweed & Poppy

From the Mailbox, part 2

Dear Avi- Thank you so very much for sending me a copy of Ragweed and Poppy. It was such a wonderful surprise to win the drawing! I’m not sure who was more excited, me or my 9yo daughter. She is a huge Poppy fan. When we heard that you were working on a new Poppy adventure, there was great anticipation.

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Crispin: Cross of Lead

From the Mailbox, part 1

I have to drive into town to get our mail from our post office box. Occasionally, I find a letter that makes the trip a joyful one. Dear Avi, Because your books appeal mostly to young people, you may be surprised to hear from a 92 year old! My 59 year old daughter introduced me to Crispin. Immediately, I fell

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City of Light, City of Dark

Working with Brian Floca

I was living in Los Angeles, so naturally, I wrote a fantasy set in New York City. It had much to do with subways, the Statue of Liberty, and shadowy creatures called Kerbs. Since I had just bought my first computer it was a long and complex story. I offered it to a publisher who took it. But as I

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Ragweed & Poppy

Writing a Funny Book

Writing something that is funny—that will make readers laugh—is one of the hardest things to do. When I set out to write Ragweed & Poppy, that was one of the goals. The writer sits in front of the blank page (or screen). He/she is usually alone. Maybe you are listening to music. (I like absolute quiet) You are trying to

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