Interview with author Scotti Cohn

Scotti Cohn is one versatile author.  At the age of 60, this South Carolina writer has published 10 nonfiction books.  Scotti also writes fantasy stories and focuses on a wide range of age groups, from preschool to adulthood.  At the time of this interview, Cohn’s most recent work is a nonfiction book for children entitled Big Cat, Little Kitty, published by Sylvan Dell Publishing.

Read on to learn more about this talented author:

 

Q:  When did you first decide that you wanted to be an author? What made you want to choose this career path?

A:  I have wanted to be an author ever since I found out that authors exist — in other words, ever since I began reading and appreciating books. I found that I loved writing poetry and stories, and I thought I would enjoy doing that all the time.

Q:  Who are some of the authors that greatly influenced your writing style? What were some of your favorite books as a kid?

A:  My favorite books as a kid included the Mary Poppins books by P.L. Travers. I kept thinking how cool it would be if Mary Poppins were my babysitter. I also loved the Eloise books by Kay Thompson, Nancy Drew mysteries, and books about horses and other animals. I don’t know if I can name specific authors who have influenced my style. I write a lot of different types of things. I *hope* that my style has been influenced by the authors I like the most, such as Ray Bradbury, Philip Pullman, Madeleine L’Engle, Susan Cooper, Cornelia Funke, and Clive Barker.

Q:  Did you have a hard time getting your first book published?

A:  I felt like I had a hard time getting my first picture book published, although I have talked to authors who had a harder time than I did. I submitted the manuscript to 23 publishers before Sylvan Dell picked it up.

Q:  Assuming that you write for children or young adults, what made you decide to write for those age groups? Do you still feel connected to your “inner child”?

A:  I am definitely still connected to my “inner child.” I love the thought of giving children as much enjoyment as I received as a child when reading my favorite books.

Q:  What are some of your hobbies, other than writing?

A:  My hobbies include The Beatles (I have a huge trunk full of scrapbooks and memorabilia, plus my original copies of all of their albums). I make jewelry and sell it online(http://jewelrybyscotti.blogspot.com/). I play piano and guitar. I collect walruses (stuffed animals, metal, wood, china, ceramic, paintings, etc.)

Q:  Do you have any sage advice for new authors who are just entering the field?

A:  Learn as much as you can about the craft of writing, practice practice practice, and never stop believing in yourself.

Q:  Do you hold any other jobs outside of your writing? If so, do you find that this helps your writing or gets in the way?

A:  In the past I held full-time jobs that did get in the way of my writing. I was so tired from my job and taking care of my children that I just didn’t feel like writing much. I really admire people who can work a full-time job, manage a household with children, and produce publishable material. Fortunately some of my jobs did involve writing, so I stayed in practice. These days I occasionally take on a copy editing project, but that doesn’t interfere with my writing.

Q:  If you could meet one author, living or dead, who would it be? Why?

A:  I would like to meet Susan Cooper (who is still living) so I could talk to her about her Dark Is Rising series — how she developed her characters, the story line, and so forth. She is one of the authors whose books made it clear to me that one day I would like to write a YA or middle-grade fantasy.

Q:  Do you have any other information you would like to share, such as a website, author page, awards won, etc.?

A:  My author website: http://www.scotticohn.com

Awards:

My picture book One Wolf Howls (Sylvan Dell Publishing, 2009) won a Silver Nautilus Award and was named a Maryland Blue Crab Young Readers Award Honor Book.

My picture book Big Cat, Little Kitty (Sylvan Dell Publishing, 2011) won a Mom’s Choice Gold Award.

Currently I am collaborating with illustrator Christina Wald on an upper elementary age chapter book — a fantasy called Wordsworth and the Dragon — that I plan to self-publish. I invite everyone to join me on this journey at http://wordsworthdragon.blogspot.com/.

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