All Member Spotlights
Member Spotlights

Member Spotlight: James Solheim

Why is writing important to you and why do you think it’s an important medium for the world? I know from my own childhood that books for children inspire better futures for them. Books expand their world and make their minds work better. Research shows that reading increases empathy. Obviously we need more of those wonderful people whose lives cultivate empathy instead of anger.

What are your tried and tested remedies to cure writer’s block? If you’re willing to write anything and not believe it has to be great, you can write. You can come back later and see what’s on the page that you can make great afterwards.

What is your favorite time to write? I write any time I can.

What’s the best piece of writing advice you’ve ever received and would like to impart to other writers? My teacher Marvin Bell described traditional ceramics that were brilliantly balanced in their aesthetics. Somebody asked the artists how they achieved that perfect balance, and they said they just didn’t try to be perfect. In my writing process I try not to be perfect at first and then work toward perfection in revision.

What excites you most about being a writer in today’s age? The best children’s books today are real art. The best children’s writers and artists get to write with the same approach and aesthetic as those for adults (if they are lucky enough to find their ways into that edge of the children’s book world).

James Solheim’s Eat Your Woolly Mammoths!: Two Million Years of the World’s Most Amazing Food Facts, from the Stone Age to the Future is out May 3 with Greenwillow Books.