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
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/.