Author-Jane Yolen

March 13, 2010
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For anyone who loves historical fiction, you need to check out Jane Yolen. From "The Sword of the Rightful King", a story of a legendary king, to "The Devil's Arithmetic", a story set in Nazi Germany, she has every base covered. She has also written fantasy, cook books, song books, children books, fairy-tales, graphic novels and many other genres.

I recently e-mailed Ms.Yolen, asking if I could interview her.


1. When did you really get into writing?

As a child. I wrote poetry. My parents were both writers, so it seemed a natural thing to do.

2. When did you know you wanted to be an author?

From early on because of my parents and beacuse so many of their friends all seemed to be writers. So I just assumed that all adults wrote.

3. Do you enjoy historical fiction books, like the ones you write or would rather read non-fiction historical?

My favorite enjoyment reading (ie when I am not researching) consists of mystery novels, historical novels, fantasy novels, poetry, and biography.

4. You have written a few books about the Nazi reign in Germany. Do you have a special connection to the books, like are you yourself a Jew?

I am Jewish. But raised (and still am) a non-religious Jew.

5. "Girl in a Cage", was based on historical events, but the story itself is fiction, so how did you decide what would happen to the girl?

From the historical record--which is extremely spotty about that time--we only knew a certain amount about the girl. So that left us with the ability to invent imaginatively BASED ON THE PERIOD & WHAT WE DID KNOW ABOUT THE HISTORICAL CHARACTERS.

6. What is your favorite book that you've written?

Whatever I am currently working on.

7. What are some of your hobbies?

Reading, walking, travel, movies, live music/theater.

8. What is a book/author that has most influenced your writing and you, yourself, as a writer?

Anything by James Thurber, Ursula LeGuin, or Emily Dickinson.

9. What are some of your favorite books/authors?

See #8

10. Is there a certain type of writing or genre that you would like to experiment with?

No--done them all, except for hard science, romance novels, westerns, and philosophy, none of which interest me as a writer.

11. Is there a novel you are working on now, that you would like to tell your fans about?

A graphic novel sequel to my first graphic novel FOILED which is just out. That sequel is called CURSES FOILED AGAIN.

12. How did you come up with the idea for the "How Do Dinosaurs..." books?

My editor called me and said, "My son Robbie is three and he hates going to bed and loves dinosaurs. Can you do anything for him?"

13. What advice do you have for aspiring authors?

Read, read, read.
Write something every day.
Don't let anyone tell you no.


Jane Yolen has written over 300 books for teens, youth and children, and I'm sure there will be many more to come.

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This article has 2 comments. Post your own now!

Gymnastgirl26 said...
Jul. 4, 2011 at 2:11 pm
I loved The Devil's Arithmatic alot. Thanks for posting.
TheJust This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. replied...
Jul. 4, 2011 at 2:14 pm
Thanks! And check out some of my other interviews if you get the chance! :)
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