Where do you find the inspiration for the characters in your books?
Character inspiration can come anywhere and at any time: a bizarre dream, the chatty cable guy, the neighbor who cuts his hedge in the shape of a peacock, or sometimes, from simply passing someone on the street. Many writers will base their characters on friends, family, and acquaintances, and I do that, too, to a limited extent. Although I never take the person as a whole, because I am looking for something unique and fresh – a character that has never before existed. I might take one trait from one person and another trait from someone else as I build my own creation, ala Dr. Frankenstein. However, much of the time, characters come to me fully formed. They tell me their struggles and fears and then it’s up to me to figure out how to resolve these issues.The best way I can say it is that they are all sitting in the big waiting room in my head, just biding their time until they are called to share their story. I know it might seem a little strange, but I do think of them as real people. I have to or I wouldn’t be as invested in their story as I need to be to grab the reader.
What would most surprise people about your profession and the job you do?
It usually surprises people to learn how much effort is involved in writing. Writing is a craft, and like any other skillset, you have to learn how to plot, how to create tension, how to develop interesting characters and so on. It doesn’t just spill out of my head perfectly on the page. Oh, how I wish it did! It takes months of writing and rewriting and rewriting the rewrites to get to a place where I am pleased with the result. I am constantly striving to acquire the skills to be a better writer and I hope I always will be. People are also surprised to discover that I write children’s nonfiction, as well as fiction, because it’s a bit out of the norm to specialize in more than one genre. I was a television news reporter for several years and so nonfiction is my first love. I really enjoy the research aspect of it. It’s fun to always be learning something new. Nonfiction allows me to tell other people’s stories, while fiction gives me the chance to tell my own. It’s a dream career!
About Trudi Trueit
Trudi Trueit imagined a career as a novelist ever since writing, directing, and starring in her first play in the fourth grade (it got decent reviews). A former TV news reporter and weather forecaster, Trudi has published more than 90 fiction and nonfiction books for young readers. Her fiction novels include the Julep O’Toole series (Penguin), the Secrets of a Lab Rat series (Aladdin), and Stealing Popular (Aladdin MIX). Her nonfiction books for pre-k through middle school readers cover such topics as history, weather, wildlife, earth science, writing, education, and health. Recent titles include What is Poetry? (Lerner), the Backyard Safari series and Careers with Animals (Cavendish Square). Born and raised in the Pacific Northwest, Trudi still lives in the Seattle area with her husband and their three cats. She loves photography, painting, and all things chocolate. Visit her website at www.truditrueit.com. Follow her on Facebook. Find out about her Skype visits here.