Monday, February 28, 2011

Tim Green Author Interview!

    Last weekend I was thrilled to attend Anderson's Bookshop's Children's Literature Breakfast.  The first time I attended this event was two years ago when I got to meet Meg Cabot, Sharon Draper, Peter Yarrow, and Stephen Kellogg.  It is such a unique event because the authors are amongst all the people attending the event and sit at the tables and do author chats.
Tim signing my copy of Football Genius
     When we got there, we found a table right in front and you can imagine my absolute awe when I saw that Tim Green was sitting at our table.  I was so excited to be able to talk to him about his books.  I had just recently finished listening to Football Genius and had loved it.  Not to mention, we're huge football fans at our house, so it was very cool to meet an ex-NFL player who is now a writer.
Me and Tim Green
       After talking to Tim Green and then listening to him speak about his books and his passion for encouraging kids to read, I am beyond ecstatic to interview him here and share it with you.

TMT: Many authors contend that to be a great author you have to be a reader. Do you agree or disagree? And, why or why not?

Tim Green: I agree absolutely. I think that first of all, to be a writer, the prerequisite is that you have to love to read. If you love to read you will be reading all the time. It helps you when you are writing to be exposed to other writers’ work for ideas- not to plagiarize but just to see different techniques and be exposed to different ways of doing things. 

TMT: To whom or what would you accredit to fostering your lifelong love of reading/writing?
Tim Green: Definitely my parents, for sure. They were both voracious readers and my mom was a school teacher so it was also very important to her that I become a reader. They didn’t just talk about it, they also read themselves, constantly. That is just the house I grew up in. 
TMT: As a parent, what did you do that was successful in encouraging your kids to read?

Tim Green: I actually read more to my kids than I was read to when I was young. I read to my kids. My kids see me reading. I also find that my boys need more prompting to read than my girls. My daughters seem to just keep going at a real fast pace. My boys, I tend to need to nudge them and to give them books to read. That’s why the sports thing is such an important opportunity for boys because, mine anyway - and not all boys love sports - but mine are passionate about sports. When they know they can read something that has something to do about life inside sports, they are hungry for that. 
 Football GeniusFootball HeroFootball Champ: A Football Genius NovelThe Big Time: A Football Genius Novel
TMT: Can you describe what makes an ideal reading spot for you?

Tim Green: In the summertime, down on my dock, at the end of the dock on a chair. I love sitting in the sun and being out right on the water and just reading a book.

TMT: What about your ideal writing environment?  

Tim Green: I have a great place to write. I have a library that looks out over the lake.  I have a huge window in front of my desk and off to one side is a fireplace and the other side is a wall of books. It’s a great place. I love it. 

TMT: Do you set goals for yourself as a writer - for example, to finish so many pages in a day, to write for so many minutes/hours a day?

Tim Green: Pretty much, I know how long I have to write a book and I just start writing. Right now I’m writing a book every 6 months. I just start and I don’t really give myself specific goals until I get about 1 or 2 months from my deadline. Because of football season and coaching, this time I wasn’t as far as I normally am, so I think in 4 ½ months I only had about 120 pages. I knew in 6 weeks I had to write about another 100-120 pages. So I just said I got 6 weeks, I need to write 20 pages a week, and then I did.  I don’t really push myself until I have a deadline that’s looming. I really write at a pretty leisurely pace.  I like that, being able to go along and let it develop and not push it too hard.

TMT: What makes your books for kids unique:

Tim Green: I feel like I’m able to shine a light on a world that is incredibly interesting and violent and fightening and heart-warming.  I think it is such a rich, rich backdrop and I’m the only one who’s doing this...I think that’s the thing that I am most proud of about my own work, that I am able to shine a light on a place that no one else is so that it’s sports but it digs so much deeper than any sports books that are out there.
     In Baseball Great the main character, who is a kid, is confronted with the issue of using performance drugs or not. Everyone has an opinion about performance drugs. Everyone involved with sports understands what they can do good or bad, but I don’t think any writer has ever really understood it as an athlete. I was confronted with that issue and the stakes for me were incredibly high. I knew what they could do to my game; it wasn’t only I’ll get bigger, faster, stronger. I could make millions of dollars more. It wasn’t maybe, I knew I could. I was on the cusp and the one thing I really lacked as a player was size for my position. I knew I was only a pill away from going from 250 to 280 and I knew what it would mean for me to not do that.  
     My perspective on that is so different from anyone else's, to feel that incredible draw but at the same time have this moral compass inside me. For me, with that kind of issue, it wasn’t a matter of that’s the wrong thing, it was a matter of, 'Oh my God, if I did this, this is what would happen'.  Part of me was saying, 'Everyone else is, why wouldn’t you?' And another part was saying, because it’s wrong and you don’t want to do that and have cheated to get there. 
     When I take on that issue, even though it’s baseball, it’s an issue that had such an impact on a decision in my life.  It had far-reaching effects on me and my entire life. When I examine it, it’s not, 'It’s wrong or bad', or 'Everyone does it'. It’s right down the middle and it makes it very real. 
 Baseball GreatRivals: A Baseball Great Novel (Baseball Greats)
TMT: How would you finish the sentence, “Reading is…”?

Tim Green: Reading is something that makes your life better in every way.

TMT: What about, “Writing is…”?

Tim Green: Writing to me is the most pleasurable form of creation I can imagine outside of my own kids.  

Me and Tim Green
I would like to thank Tim Green for being so willing to let me interview him!!!  It was one of the most enjoyable chats I've had with an author.  His book Rivals: A Baseball Great Novel, was recently released on paperback on February 22nd and the third book in his baseball series, Best of the Best: A Baseball Great Novel will be published on March 22nd.  Check back in a few weeks for my reviews!           

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