Thursday, June 5, 2014
Spotlight Interview: Coe Booth
Coe Booth, beloved author of Tyrell, Bronxwood and Kendra, took some time out of her busy schedule to answer a few questions from one of our students. Thanks Coe!
D: When did you realize you wanted to be a writer?
Coe: I really don't remember a time when I wasn't writing stories. Ever since I learned how to write words and sentences, I was stringing them together to make stories. On my second grade report card, the teacher complained to my mom that I wasn't paying attention in class, that I was just writing all day! So this has been a constant thing in my life, and it surprises me to know that not everybody has characters and stories in their head all the time. That must be very boring!
D: How do you come up with the stories you write?
Coe: That's a hard question because there's no one place where stories come from. They usually start with myself, with experiences I've had or emotions I've felt. From there it's a combination of situations I've seen my friends go through, things I've witnessed in my neighborhood, and lots and lots of imagination. As a writer, you really need to be an observer. You have to watch people on the street, eavesdrop on other people's conversations in public places, etc. You also have to be in touch with your own feelings, the pleasant ones and the sad, difficult ones. That's why I really recommend keeping a journal. Not only does it help you understand yourself better, but it comes in handy when you're trying to recall what you were feeling at certain points in your life. And that becomes very useful when you're writing stories.
D: Who helped you accomplish your goals? How?
Coe: It would take way too long to answer this question! Besides my parents, I think my friends had the most to do with helping me accomplish my goals. Even when I was young, I always chose good friends. I grew up in the Bronx, so of course there were lots of kids who were making bad decisions. I never turned my back on them, but they weren't my close friends. I surrounded myself with people who were about something, who had goals. And they weren't just dreamers; they worked really hard to make their dreams come true. If it weren't for my friends, I probably wouldn't have any books published. When I was working as a crisis intervention specialist, a job that took up most of my time, my friends got together and reminded me of the goal I had since I was a kid, to be a writer. Then they pushed me to quit that job so I'd have more time to write, advice I (thankfully) followed. Friends are so important; choose them wisely!