Ask the Author: Robin Stevenson

What would you like readers to know about you? 

I write books for kids and teens of all ages, from babies and toddlers up through teens. I also write both fiction and non-fiction. I have 29 books published, and I live on the west coast of Canada. I have three books coming out this spring: A picture book called PRIDE PUPPY, a non-fiction book called KID INNOVATORS, and a teen novel called WHEN YOU GET THE CHANCE. I going to tell you about my teen novel- it was delayed by a year because of the pandemic so I am VERY excited to be finally launching it in May! 

What is your book about for those who haven’t read it?
WHEN YOU GET THE CHANCE is a book I co-wrote with my very good friend–and very talented author–Tom Ryan. It is about two cousins who live on opposite coasts and haven’t seen each in years. When their grandfather dies, Mark and Talia find themselves reunited at the family cottage. They don’t have a lot in common, except for one thing: they’d both rather be in Toronto for Pride weekend. So, with Mark’s kid sister Paige along for the ride, they head off– and along the way, make some new friends, uncover some family secrets, and learn a few things about themselves as well.

What has been your inspiration for writing it? 

Honestly, a big part of the inspiration was that I really missed hanging out with Tom after he and his husband moved away from the west coast! So I texted him one day and asked if he felt like writing a book together. Luckily, he said yes! We knew we wanted to write a queer Canadian novel, and some of the elements of the book– like queer community and queer history– are things that are important to us both. So we hopped on a phone call to talk about ideas…and the story grew from there. 

What was your favorite scene or part of your book to write? 
It was a fun book to write. Tom and I wrote alternate chapters, sending the novel back and forth. I wrote from the point of view of Talia, and Tom from the point of view of Mark. I think one of the most fun parts was when Tom would send his new chapters to me and I would get to enjoy the as a reader before putting my writer hat back on! It was a real joy to write collaborate in this way. I also really adored the character of Paige, Mark’s little sister, and got a kick out of writing any scene that she appeared in. 

What books or authors inspired you to become a writer? 
Too many to list! 
What advice would you give to aspiring authors who want to write a book? 

I think the best thing aspiring writers can do is to read a lot. Read widely, read diversely, and pay attention to what you enjoy. Re-read books and notice how the author creates atmosphere, how they develop the characters, how the novel is structured and so on. And the other best thing you can do is to write. The more you do it, the better you get at it. Don’t be too hard on yourself when you are working on a first draft, don’t quit in the middle when you get stuck (it’s probably better than you think!), and trust that many, many problems can be fixed later when you revise. Most of all, have fun with it. Oh, a find a writing buddy or group. Start building a supportive writing community. Don’t be shy to reach out to other writers! 
Find me online at: 
Twitter: @robin_stevenson 
Instagram: @robinstevensonwrites 

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