Wednesday, April 24, 2013

An Interview with Author Nancy Cavanaugh

I'm so excited to share with you an interview with Nancy Cavanaugh, author of This Journal Belongs to Ratchet. I recently read this book and really enjoyed it. In case you missed my Marvelous Middle Grade Monday post, here's a brief summary of the book, which is published by Sourcebooks/Jabberwocky:

If only getting a new life were as easy as getting a new notebook.
But it's not.

It's the first day of school for all the kids in the neighborhood. But not for me. I'm homeschooled. That means nothing new. No new book bag, no new clothes, and no friends – old or new. The best I've got is this notebook. I'm supposed to use it for my writing assignments, but my dad never checks. Here's what I'm really going to use it for:

Ratchet's Top Secret Plan
Project Goal: turn my old, recycled, freakish, friendless, motherless life into something shiny and new.

This year, I'm going make something change.

And now for the interview!

Share a little about how you ended up as a writer?

My dream to write a children’s book was born during my first few years of teaching.  I was a third grade teacher for 13 years, and I LOVED teaching reading.  I LOVED the books my students were reading, and I LOVED reading aloud to them.  That’s when I decided I wanted to write a children’s book.

How did the idea for your story emerge?

My ideas for stories almost always start with a character, and that’s how THIS JOURNAL BELONGS TO RATCHET started.  I had the idea for a main character nicknamed Ratchet, and then I began to let my imagination create her story.

What was the most challenging aspect of writing your book?

Ratchet tells her story through the assignments in her homeschool language arts book, so the most challenging aspect was figuring out a way to tell an entire story using so many different writing forms.  Though it was the most challenging part about writing the book, it was also the most fun and creative parting of writing it.

Each book I write teaches me something about the world, myself or the process of writing.  What did you learn through writing this book?

I would have to go back to the previous question for this one.  The format taught me how to be open to different writing forms and also taught me how important it is to let a story evolve and grow.  I really had to figure things out as I went along and in order to do that I had to allow myself room to make a lot of mistakes.  I tried a lot of things that didn’t work before I found things that did work.

Because I love reading as much as I love to write, I’m always curious about what other people like to read.  Do you have any favorite books?

I have too many favorite books to list, but I will tell you some of my all-time favorite authors:  Beverly Cleary, Katherine Patterson, Madeleine L’Engle, Cynthia Rylant, and Anne Lamott.

Is there anything else you’d like to share about your book or an upcoming project?

My next book will be another alternative format – not a language arts journal, but something somewhat journal-like. 

Thank you, Nancy, for stopping by my blog for an interview. I'll be watching for your next book!


  1. I just read the Kirkus Review of this book, so I was really excited to read this interview! The book sounds unique and fabulous~ thanks to Nancy and Andrea for a great post!

  2. This book is on To Read list! Great interview!

    1. I really enjoyed it - loved the unique way it's presented. And it's always great to hear about a writer who persevered and had her dreams come true!

  3. This was a great interview. I especially appreciated when she talked about learning new things and allowing herself to make mistakes. I'm trying to learn to draw and I'm making lots of mistakes, sometimes I wonder if I'll ever get to a point that I'm proud of what I've drawn. lol

  4. I love the crayon look on the book cover.

  5. I was looking for the review of This Journal Belongs to Ratchet!! Good to see this here!!!

  6. Agreed with Marcia - adorable book cover. Thanks for the hat tip! Sounds like a great read for kids.

  7. Thanks for the lovely comments! And thanks to Andrea for hosting me! To have readers finally enjoying RATCHET is so exciting for me!
    Nancy J. Cavanaugh

  8. Great interview! I like how Nancy learned new writing formats when writing Ratchet!


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