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Member Spotlights

Member Spotlight: Ellen Weinstein

author Ellen Weinstein and an image of her book Five Stories

Why is writing important to you and why do you think it’s an important medium for the world? Writing and illustrating a book is a way to follow my curiosity on a subject and see where it goes. If a topic interests me, it will interest other people as well. Conducting research is an integral part of the writing process for me. Even if I don’t use seventy percent of the research material, it informs the remaining thirty percent of what remains. Writing is a way to take a subject and tell a story.

What are your tried and tested remedies to cure writer’s block? As an author/illustrator, if I get stuck while writing, I will switch to sketching and vice versa. Creating a book for young readers is a balancing act between text and image. It helps me get ideas flowing by walking, being outside, and exercising.

What is your favorite time to write? I can create art any time of the day, but for writing, I like early mornings best. If a work or draft is in progress, I will review what I wrote previously, make edits, and begin from there. When I am working on a book, it never entirely leaves my mind. I will do line edits in my head or think of something and send myself a note.

What’s the best piece of writing advice you’ve ever received and would like to impart to other writers? “You never learn how to write a novel, Neil. You just learn how to write the novel you are on.” Gene Wolfe, to me, proudly telling him that I’d learned how to write novels, after American Gods. –Neil Gaiman

What excites you most about being a writer in today’s age? As an author/illustrator of picture books, I love seeing children reading and engaging with a book. Sometimes, that is done in person at an event or on social media with shared photos.

Ellen Weinstein’s Five Stories is out now with Holiday House.