Ten writers for children. All with something to say.


Where Do Ideas Come From?

  • I never run out of ideas because they are everywhere. Where?

    * In childhood
    + I have many stories about my sister and how she treated little ME!
    + I began my novel In the Shade of the Nispero Tree on a day when I missed my second-grade friend, Hilcia. Later the characters acted differently than Hilcia and I did, so I changed their names and the memoir turned into a novel.

    * In oral traditions
    + Juan Bobo:Four Folktales from Puerto Rico are stories I heard when I was growing up.
    + Shake It, Morena! is a collection of stories, songs, riddles, and games from my childhood.

    * In heroes
    + I have four published biographies: Poet and Politician of Puerto Rico: Don Luis Munoz Marin , Cesar: Si, se puede! Yes, We Can! , Frida: Viva la vida! Long Live Life! , and Diego: Bigger than Life.
    + My father is also a hero, and I want to write about him.

    * In the grave
    + Cemeteries are good places to find ideas. In Canada I found a grave covered with marbles. Why? I have an answer cooking in my head.

    * In the "What if?"
    + Since I was shorter than I am now I've stared at people. I didn't know it then, but I was becoming a writer. I stared because I wanted to be in their heads. I wanted to know what they were thinking. I couldn't do that. So I made it up. "What if he's thinking how delicious that chocolate ice cream he's licking is, and what if at the bottom of the sugar cone a cockroach is waiting to jump out?" I'm lactose intolerant, you see?

    I wish I could have more time to write, because there are as many stories as there are numbers.


David LaRochelle said...

A cockroach at the bottom of an ice cream cone! What a powerful image, Carmen. That would indeed make a strong scene in a book (and I hope I don't think about that every time I have ice cream from now on!).

Edie Hemingway said...

I think you may have ruined ice cream cones for me, Carmen, but you've also given me endless ideas. I, too, have used old graveyards for character names from another era.

Lauren said...

I am loving seeing all of these photos of us potatoes when we were young!

I lived in NYC too long to want to read about a cockroach at the bottom of an ice cream cone, though I finally saw the movie Wall-E and wouldn't you know-- only Disney can make a cute cockroach.

I love the image of the grave covered with marbles-- you must use it!

Christy said...

Everything you say is so true! You are bursting and I'm so glad we get to watch it happen. Can't wait to follow all your new works.

Stephanie said...

Love that photo! You haven't changed at all!