Printz Award Winner, John Green.
When and why did you start writing for children?
I didn't start writing for teens until I was about a year out of college and living in Chicago. I was working at the book review journal "Booklist," and I was reading a lot of YA novels.
Also, one of my bosses, Ilene Cooper, wrote children's books. I was inspired to write for teens by Ilene and by those YA novels I read--books like "Speak" and "Perks of Being a Wallflower."
What is the most valuable advice you can give to a newly published writer?
I think it's a good thing to have low expectations. I worked at "Booklist" for five years, and in that time, I saw so many good books come and go. I think some first-time authors think that once they finally get published, everything will happen. They'll be on Oprah and hit the New York Times bestseller list. I found it helpful to have much more modest goals. (My goal for "Looking for Alaska" was that I wanted it to make it to paperback.)
Also, like everything nice that happens to you in life, there is great value to enjoying it.
What is one of your favorite children’s books that you'd like to recommend?
I'm sitting next to Scott Westerfeld right now, so I think I'll recommend his fabulous bestselling "Uglies" trilogy. Those books can be read thoughtfully and critically by reluctant 10-year-old readers, and there's also a lot in them for teenage and adult readers.
What is your favorite dessert and why?
I was on Weight Watchers for the first 13 weeks of this year, and I fell in love with the Weight Watchers brand 2-point ice cream cones. Even though I'm off Weight Watchers, I still eat these things. I don't know what they're made out of to only be 2 points, but they are frakkin' delicious.
John Green is the author of "Looking for Alaska," which won the 2006 Michael L. Printz Award, and "An Abundance of Katherines," which was a 2007 Michael L. Printz Honor book. He has also twice been a finalist for the L.A. Times Book Prize. He lives in New York with his wife.