Last summer, I read two wonderful books. The Castle Corona and Walk Two Moons got me hooked on Sharon Creech’s works, which are whimsical, adventurous, and have a touch of magic. Walk Two Moons was actually my favorite book of 2014. So you can understand why it delighted me so much when Mrs. Creech agreed to an email interview. Here it is!
Most of your books are based off people, places, or events from your own life. In The Great Unexpected there are many ties to Ireland and Irish legends. Why did you choose to include those connections? Do you have ties to Ireland yourself?
When I began this book, I thought the ‘across the ocean’ part of the story would be set in England, which is where I lived for nearly 20 years, and where I first saw a place called Rooks Orchard. But somehow, once I started writing, England morphed into Ireland. I’ve been to Ireland and have always loved Irish tales and there was something in that setting that fit the story better.
What was so memorable about Rook’s Orchard that caused it to make its way into your book?
The original Rook’s Orchard was an overgrown, eerie looking property with gnarly trees and vines growing over a dilapidated cottage. I liked the name of the place, and the spookiness intrigued me. Oddly, the Rook’s Orchard in The Great Unexpected became a much more enchanting place — although some of the eerieness remained.
In addition to your poetry books Love that Dog and Hate that Cat, you include poetry in your novels and on your website. Do you decide before you put pen to paper if you’re going to write poetry or prose?
It is very much an inspiration of the moment. There is a voice and a rhythm in my head at the beginning of each story, and the way it first emerges on the page shapes all the rest.
When I write, I can never read my work without feeling embarrassed and thinking of a million things I would like to change. How do you overcome that feeling so that you can share your work with the world?
Part of that impulse (wanting to change a million things, etc.) is the revision impulse — it’s natural and necessary, I think. Some people give up if they can’t ‘get it right’ on the first few tries. If you write enough, you learn that the ‘fixing’ is where the real writing happens. You take something raw and you sculpt it and shape it. And sometimes, after all that ‘practice,’ a piece may come out smoothly and ‘nearly perfect’ the first time. Sometimes.
What are some tips that you would like to share with aspiring authors?
You don’t have to know the story before you begin. Words generate words and ideas generate ideas. Just begin! And let the story unspool before you. If you read a lot and write a lot, you will automatically absorb and refine the techniques of story telling.
What is the main thing that you hope people grow to understand from reading your books?
I hope readers will slip into the stories and enjoy the journeys. You can go anywhere, be anything and do anything through story.
I can’t say enough how thankful I am to Mrs. Creech for sharing her writing expertise with us! And for those investigative readers who wish to learn more about her, take a peek at www.sharoncreech.com.