There’s a great interview in the Washington Post with local author Phyllis Reynolds Naylor about the forthcoming final installment to her popular Alice series of novels, Incredibly Alice. “Alice is fictional, though she is like the daughter that I never had. I had no idea that she would become a series, but she was wildly popular. I wanted her to be a girl without a mother raised by her father and older brother who knew nothing about raising a girl. That is what makes the series funny,” says Naylor. And she has some advice for kids who want to try to write:
I tell them to think about the time when they were most happy, sad or embarrassed and then write a few sentences about those feelings. Then start changing things like the main character, the location or even the ending to make the story fun and exciting. Then you have started with something personal, and it really grew with the help of your imagination!
Naylor wrote her own piece in the Post a few years ago about Alice and the letters from fans. I liked what she had to say about how important it was to her that her parents read aloud.
My parents, they read aloud to us until we were 14 and 15. It was the late Depression, and we really didn’t have much of anything. But we did have books. They read with great drama. I think Dad read almost all of Mark Twain’s books aloud to us. He imitated all the voices, and I just loved it. And I must have thought, “If it’s so much fun listening to books, it must be even more fun writing books.” And it is.