Q.L. Pearce – Meet an author

Tell us a little about yourself and your background? 


I live in California with my woderful husband, a research scientist, two very spoiled dogs, a talkative bird and a bevy of fish. My daughter recently graduated from college and now lives in San Francisco. I’m Canadian-born to British parents. I spent my infancy in Baranquilla, Colombia, my early childhood on an island in Florida, my teen years in Palm Springs, California, and my early adulthood in New York City. My first career was a as a jewler and I spent several years working on Rodeo Drive before my dream of being a writer became a reality. I have since written more than 120 books including educational, nonfiction, biography, and fiction for all age ranges. My absolute favorite, though, is scary fiction for middle grade to YA readers. My first collection of short stories was published as the middle grade series, Scary Stories for Sleep-Overs (Price, Stern, Sloan).


Which writers inspire you?


Ray Bradbury, George Orwell and Roald Dahl are among my favorite masters. Modern author include Neil Gaiman, Holly Black and Ransom Riggs. My favorite book is always changing but Something Wicked This Way Comes, Coraline and The Graveyard Book are on the list of classics.

Have you written any other novels in collaboration with other writers?


I wrote a mini-collection of short stories, Blood Moon Harbor, with Francesca Rusackas and we are working on a middle grade novel together. I also collaborated on a non-fiction picture book, Red Bird Sings, with author/illustrator Gina Capaldi. The book was a joy to research and I am very proud of it. It garnered a great deal of attention and won several awards including the Carter G. Woodson gold medal and a gold medal from the Moonbeam Children’s Book Awards. It was recently listed in Horn Book as recommended reading for Indigenous People’s Day. Gina and I are currently working on two more picture books.


When did you decide to become a writer?


I’ve been writing since I could first scribble a story on paper. I won my first school writing contest in third grade and my first city sponsored contest at age eleven. I actually got into a little trouble when I was a kid for telling scary stories that frightened my friends. My first paid publication was an activity book about dinosaurs.


Do you write full-time or part-time?


That’s a tricky question. I regularly write two or three hours a day and spend a few hours each week on promotional activities. When I’m not writing I’m thinking about my books in work, doing research, and gathering ideas. I volunteer with the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators and I read a lot! So although I can’t say that I sit in front of my computer as a full-time job, I think I can say that I’m a full-time writer.


Do you work to an outline or plot or do you prefer just see where an idea takes you? 


For nonfiction I work with an outline. For fiction I loosely sketch out the beginning, middle, and end of each manuscript, get to know my characters, then start writing. I’m often surprised where the story takes me.


Do you have a strategy for finding reviewers? 


I have a wonderful literary publicist, Berlin Malcolm, at BAM! Literature. I’m not a huge fan of up-to-the-minute technology, but Berlin has guided me through all of the elements, including promotion, and she has been in my corner throughout.


What are your thoughts on good/bad reviews?


I think as writers we can learn from every review, good or bad as long as you don’t take it personally. You have to use what helps you to grow as a writer and leave the rest. I remember when Scary Stories for Sleep-Overs came out it received a “bad” review early on. The reviewer said that it seemed that before writing the collection I had downed a bottle of wine and watched a Twilight Zone marathon. I actually took that as a compliment since I loved Rod Serling. The series went on to sell in the millions.


How can readers discover more about you and you work?


They can go to my website at www.qlpearce.com . I’m also thrilled to be joining Tamara Thorne and Alistair Cross as co-host for YA nights on Thorne and Cross Haunted Nights LIVE, part of the Authors on the Air: Radio Network.


Any Comments for the Blog readers?


The advice I give to working writers is finish what you start. I have several manuscripts that are sitting in a file folder because I didn’t push through when I hit a weak spot. Once that happens I start second-guessing and lose momentum. A prolific writer I respect told me to get the story on paper even if it isn’t exactly what I had in mind, then go back and get it right.

The advice I always give to young writers is to take every opportunity you can to travel, meet new people, learn about new cultures and try new things. Life experience is a wonderful muse.


Any feedback for me or the blog?


Book Wormie is a great, easy to navigate blog. I enjoy clicking around and reading the reviews and interviews.


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