Jane Yolen, often called “the Hans Christian Andersen of America”(Newsweek) is the author of well over 350 books, including OWL MOON, THE DEVIL’S ARITHMETIC, and HOW DO DINOSAURS SAY GOODNIGHT. Her books and stories have won an assortment of awards—two Nebulas, a World Fantasy Award, a Caldecott, the Golden Kite Award, three Mythopoeic awards, two Christopher Medals, a nomination for the National Book Award, and the Jewish Book Award, among many others. She has been nominated three times for the Pushcart Prize in Poetry. She is also the winner (for body of work) of the World Fantasy Assn. Lifetime Achievement Award, Science Fiction Poetry Association Grand Master Award, Catholic Library’s Regina Medal, Kerlan Medal from the University of Minnesota, the du Grummond Medal from Un. of Southern Missisippi, the Smith College Alumnae Medal, and New England Pubic Radio Arts and Humanities Award . Six colleges and universities have given her honorary doctorates. Her website is: http://www.janeyolen.com.
As I have two poems in Corvidae and one in Scarecrows, my answers will be different from those who had characters to write about, though we are all trying to get at the truth—“but tell it slant” as Emily Dickinson so famously wrote.
Is this your first time writing about corvids and/or scarecrows?
No—I have a children’s picture book—THE SCARECROW’S DANCE, and lots and lots of bird poems as I am the matriarch of a family of birdwatchers. My husband was a bird recordist (among his many other interests) and taught the children and grandchildren all about birds and birdsong. Probably my most famous book about a bird is not about a corvid but about an owl—OWL MOON.
What do you enjoy most about writing?
Three things:1. It’s a job I can do at home in my jammies. 2. I can talk aloud to myself and no one thinks I’m crazy (or at least not certifiable) and 3. I do no harm to the universe.
What age did you start writing stories/poems?
About 5 years old. Encouraged by my parents who were both writers.
What is your favourite theme/genre to write?
Poetry, fantasy, children’s picture books.
What book are you reading now?
A book of short stories by the Edwardian author Walter de la Mare. And a mystery novel by Ruth Rendell.
Do you nibble as you write? If so what’s your favorite snack food?
Handfuls of a nut-dried fruit mixture I make myself, and a cup of tea.
Where do you see yourself in ten years?
Possibly alive but no guarantees. (I am 76!)’
What genre is your next project? What is it about?
Historical novel called HOUSE OF CANDY about the Holocaust, for young adults based on Hansel and Gretel that begins in the Lodz Ghetto, treks through chapters with the Polish partisans in the woods, finally ends in a concentration camp where a young doctor (invented character) who worked under Mengele doing the twin experiment tries to better his mentor and is dispatched by the twins and thrown into one of the camp’s ovens. Or at least I believe that’s how it’s going to end. One never knows with novels.