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Author Interview with Gary Paulsen

Fear not the unexpected. Interview with children's author, Gary Paulsen

The DMS was lucky enough to interview Gary Paulsen, author of the middle grade novel Hatchet. Lizzy reviewed this exciting story, and it was great to share our thoughts about it and hear yours! We are excited to learn a little bit more about the story behind the story. So, without further ado... take it away, Gary! 

What inspired you to write Hatchet?

I was spending a lot of time in the brush, with the dogs, and I didn't have access to stores. I had to carry everything I needed, do without, or find a substitute on the trail. I was prepared and got better at knowing what I'd need with each trip, but I wondered how well I'd do without any supplies.

How long did it take you to write Hatchet and the other books in the Brian Robeson series?

I never know how to answer that question because I spend years thinking about books before I write them. When I sit down to do the work, the process goes very quickly because I type fast.

What are some of your favorite books from childhood? Were there any specific authors who inspired you?

I was not a great reader or student as a kid. I didn't pick up a book for ages and I can't remember what I read. Only that, once I started getting lost in the story and fell in love with that excitement, I read anything I could get my hands on.

Where did you come up with the character Brian?

I wanted to put a kid who didn't know the wilderness smack in the middle of rough country. I'd always been good foraging in the woods and streams, but I wanted a kid who hadn't been raised like I was, on my own, in the brush.

If you could befriend a character from any of your books, who would you befriend? Why?

Probably Brian or Sam from Woods Runner; they seem like people who could figure out any problem if they had to.

Where do you like to write? Do you listen to music while you are writing?

I write anywhere I am--in a dog kennel, on the back of my sailboat, in motel rooms when I took the Harley to Alaska, next to a campfire when I'm out riding trail with my horse, at my desk on my computer, longhand on a notepad if I'm on a plane. It doesn't matter where I write or how, just that I do it. I like listening to classical music, but I don't need it to work.

If you could live anywhere in the world, where would it be? Why?

Exactly where I am -I have a ranch with horses in New Mexico, a sailboat on the Pacific and a dog kennel in Alaska. They're my home.

Have you ever had to survive in the wilderness? If so, can you tell us about it?

Yes, many times. When I was a kid, I would run away from home and make camp in the woods. Later, when I was running dogs, I had to make winter camp on the trail. I spend as much time as I can on the ocean. And, even when I'm at home, I try to sleep on my porch more than in my room. I do best when I'm outside, houses and buildings and towns make me edgy.

If you had to survive in the wilderness, what would you like to have with you?

Waterproof matches, extra dry socks, good boots, and a weapon.

Where can we purchase your books?

Independent bookstores, online book stores, chain bookstores. Visit the library.  

☞ Amazon ☞ Barnes and Noble

Connect with this author:☞ Website  ☞ Facebook 

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