Newbery Honor winner Margi Preus writes books inspired by her love of the outdoors, her family, and the stories they share. windBryce’s latest middle-class fantasy novel, a whirlwind adventure featuring trolls, magic, kidnapping winds, and a determined group of “young men” on a mission to save their siblings. We spoke with Breus about caring about the planet, the heroines of Norwegian fairy tales, and reading as a writer.
wind The main character, Tagalong, begins watching her older sisters disappear into a mysterious winter wind. How does nature act as a driving force in your writing?
I was thinking about a lot of things when I started writing it, but what happens to the planet and what will happen to future generations is at the top of my mind. I am also a very outdoorsy, nature-oriented person and spend as much time outside as I can. I love skiing, hiking, boating, kayaking, and kayaking, and I live in the woods of northern Minnesota so I get a lot of nature. It’s a very important part of my life, and I feel it should be important to everyone. This is our land. This is what we have. We have to protect it and treat it well.
Scientist wind It is a recognizable fantasy world, but some elements hint at dystopian origins. How did you make this kind of curved globe?
I’m glad you brought up the word dystopia because I’ve seen it in the reviews and don’t think of it as dystopia. We are past the miserable part, and the Earth has been able to rest because all our infrastructure has collapsed. In a way it looks like the 19th century due to the lack of transportation, communication and technology. I feel the planet is time to start to recover. This was a world I needed to be in. I needed to create a world where I could imagine, where we could get past some of the worst that’s going on and come out on the other side. I believe in the human spirit, and I believe in the ability of young people to rise to the occasion with a lot of courage, creativity and resilience. It’s so fun to hear what people are taking away windbut I didn’t intend it to be a dystopia.
On your website you mention that your book west moon Inspired by the diary of your great-grandmother when she emigrated from Norway in 1851, while wind It evokes a number of Norwegian fairy tales. Can you talk about your personal relationship with Norway?
My grandparents are Norwegian and I have friends and family I visited in Norway. A few of my trips have been to meet the man whose story I inspired mountain shadow. It is a beautiful country with a lot of nature and people outdoors so I feel at home. My father also studied in Norway. Growing up in a family with a strong storytelling tradition, he read fairy tales in Norwegian. One of the things I really like about Norwegian fairy tales is that there are a lot of really strong female characters. Many of them are the heroes of the stories.
When did your love for fairy tales begin? Do you have a favorite fairy tale?
I have many favorite fairy tales. My dad read us stories when we were very young, so I probably listened to fairy tales from the beginning. He also told Tairy Fales which are flaming, tongue-tie-like tales. They drove me crazy when I was a little kid! I would say fairy tales have always been a part of me and my brothers’ experience with stories from the early days. All my siblings are older than me, and it wasn’t until I practically finished writing wind I realized Taj has three older sisters and I have three older sisters, all of whom left home when I was very young. It wasn’t the wind, exactly, but they were swept away by college, marriage, etc.
As for my favorite story, I really like “East of the Sun, West of the Moon” which was the source for my novel west moon. I also have it kind of funny in the sense that it’s brutal, weird, and scary. Called “Smørbukk” or “Butterball”, it speaks of an old dwarf who holds her head under her arm and the plump little boy she wants to eat. This dwarf appears in wind.
Tagalong and her friends encounter a number of interesting characters and challenges in their quest. Do you have a favorite stop on their itinerary?
I love old ladies. I have several aunts who might be models for these ladies. The Wise Old Woman is an archetype in folk and fairy tales, but I think it’s based on the real thing. Old ladies have a lot of experience; They know a lot and may have a little magic. I had a particularly good time writing The Last Aunt.
Many of your middle school novels deal with courage, adventure, and self-discovery. Do you deliberately work on these topics in your books?
Honestly, it seems enough just to have a story, to see how the plot parts come together. Does it have a narrative flow? I’m working really hard at it and can’t think of anything else. So if these themes work their way in, it’s from the characters and how they interact with each other and what happens to them. I let the characters lead, and I lead to those kinds of topics.
You write for a group of young readers, across age groups and formats. What do you like about crossing categories?
I think it’s good for the mind and the creative mind to mix up a bit. Each has a different way of thinking about the story. With novels, you can be more expansive while with a picture book, you really have to zoom in. I mean, writing picture books is probably one of the hardest things you can do. It’s a challenge, but it’s also a way to keep the brain flexible.
Your advice to writers new to your website is to “read like a writer.” What books or authors have influenced you as a writer?
When I started saying that, I thought about the books I really liked as a kid, and then I realized these direct connections from those books to the books I wrote. It happened once when I was on a school visit and I did it blue dolphin island Next to The heart of the samurai. One of the kids noticed the covers look the same and thought, well, the stories cover similar ground too. I really liked too Long Sock Jenan; Influenced by Astrie west moon Because I think of her as the same kind of soul but bolder. Harriet the spy It is one of the books that really influenced me to become a writer. I still carry my little spy notebook everywhere I go. Brown Encyclopedia She is my other favorite, and I still read a lot of riddles and write riddles too. Snow Treasure This is the story of World War II that inspired me to write Shadow on the mountain Because it made me think about that time period in Norway.
What do you hope readers will take away from him wind?
I hope they have a great reading experience and enjoy reading it. This is really the most important thing for me. Moreover, there are many different types of readers that relate to different aspects, and I do not want to deny anyone’s experience with the book or what it takes away from it. Everything is fine with me. If anything, I always hope there is something at work that encourages kids to get out more and connect with nature, wherever they are. We all have to realize that we are all part of the natural world and if we don’t protect it we will be in dire straits.
What are the upcoming projects you are working on?
I have a picture book with Abrams in the works. Other than that, I’m in the midst of indulging in many, many new ideas at this point.
Do you find being in the idea generation process exciting or worrisome?
This is an interesting question because in many ways I feel that time is the best. Nobody is waiting for you for a book and there is no pressure from a deadline. This is the most beautiful time to write. anything could happen! You are free to fantasize, create and go where your mind takes you. From a book production standpoint, there is little concern simply because a book takes years. But I try not to let this anxiety take over. I’m just trying to enjoy that feeling of possibility, and maybe something magical will happen.
wind by Margie Prius, Illus. by Armando Fifi. Amulet, $17.99 Sept. 13 ISBN 978-1-4197-5824-9