Get to know the amazing authors attending YA Fest in October 2015!
Author of The Tomb Quest series, Rotten, Surrounded by Sharks and others!
YA Fest: Favorite YA/MG authors?
Michael Northrop: Tough question! I already have too many, and if I weren’t such a slow reader, I’m sure I would have a lot more. There are so many fantastic books out there now. I guess I will retreat into the past and say that S.E. Hinton is probably the reason I began writing YA, and Watership Down is one of my all-time favorite books.
YA Fest: Favorite YA/MG books from the past year (2014/2015)?
Michael: I was very impressed by the graphic novel This One Summer. Jillian Tamaki’s text works beautifully with the gorgeous art by Mariko Tamaki. The story has all of the complicated messiness of life, but it is told in a very seamless and virtuosic way.
On the younger, more doodly end of things. I’ve really been enjoying the Timmy Failure books by Stephan Pastis. They’re hilarious.
YA Fest: How/why did you start writing?
Michael: I actually started out by writing poetry. I am dyslexic so I got off to a slow start with both reading and writing. At first, I gravitated toward poetry mostly because it is mercifully short! Then I won a class-wide writing contest with a rhyming poem in elementary school. A little positive reinforcement can go a long way at that age, and I became more serious about writing. It wasn’t until after school and well into my (first) career as a journalist that I began writing fiction, though.
YA Fest: One piece of advice for young writers?
Michael: Even if the story or book that you’re working on seems like a mess, you can still get a lot out of finishing it and spending time trying to make it better. Revision is just as big a part of the process as writing. You get to see what works and what doesn’t, and understanding that the first draft is just the first step takes a lot of pressure off your writing.
YA Fest: What are you currently working on? (Give us your elevator pitch!)
Michael: I am finishing up a middle grade series calledTombQuest that brings the magic and mystery of ancient Egypt to the modern world. It’s a multi-platform series from Scholastic (like The 39 Clues andSpirit Animals), so there’s an awesome online game plus message boards and all that cool stuff. It has been an incredibly intense process—five books in two years!—but I am about to wrap this series up tighter than a mummy.
YA Fest: Are your characters/stories inspired by real people/events?
Michael: I write fiction, but there are definitely bits and pieces of real life mixed in: things about a character that remind me of someone I know; plenty of research, whether it’s historical, mythological, meteorological, or whatever; and a lot of real places, even if they are sprinkled with a fine layer of fiction.