Lee Edward Födi Author Bio:
Lee Edward Födi is an author, illustrator, and specialized arts educator—or as he likes to think of himself, a daydreaming expert. He is the author of several books for children, including Spell Sweeper (HarperCollins), The Secret of Zoone (HarperCollins), and the Kendra Kandlestar series (Simply Read). He lives in Vancouver, where he loves seeking lost pirate treasure and hunting for dragon eggs in the nearby woods with his wife and son.
What inspires you to write?
I find inspiration everywhere. I think I was always like this, but didn't quite understand that I should do a better job of recording and developing. These days, I pretty much have my inspiration switch always set to "on". This means if something inspires me—a piece of art, a TV show, something on the internet—I don't zoom past. I stop, make a note, possibly a sketch, and take a photo or video. I may not always know where that inspiration is going to lead, but my criteria for stopping to "record" something is quite simple. Am I intrigued? Then . . . yes.
An example of this is when I started seeing brooms everywhere on my travels. I kept finding these mysterious, often hand-made brooms, sitting in the corner of a temple in Angkor Wat or on a street corner in Hanoi, all alone without anyone using them. Obviously, they're just waiting there to be used by a street sweeper, but I couldn't help feeling they had a more magical purpose. So, I started taking pictures and cataloging them. Eventually, this led to the development of my idea for my middle-grade novel, Spell Sweeper.
Tell us about your writing process.
When I was younger, I used to get an idea and be so excited and inspired that I'd run to the page (or computer) and start furiously writing. . .only to run out of steam within the week. Then I'd get a new idea and repeat the cycle all over again. Eventually, I realized that I needed to spend more time developing—I'm just not successful when I try to write by the seat of my pants. These days, if I get an idea, I run to my brainstorming book (usually a cheap dollar-store notebook) and begin doodling, writing snippets of scenes, creating lists of character names . . . I build, build, build and don't worry too much about plot until I have all the pieces that I want to play with in place (or mostly in place).
I do often outline, but the middle is usually murky. I'll know the beginning and end, but then I allow the characters to drive me in certain directions during the process. I often outline a specific scene before I write it, deciding where I want it to take place, what emotions and plot points I want to achieve, and what characters need to be present. It helps me be just a little more efficient.
I also do a lot of activities related to my books that don't involve playing with words. For example, drawing maps, building fantastical props (like dragon eggs and magical brooms), and sketching character designs.
For Fiction Writers: Do you listen (or talk to) to your characters?
My characters talk to me all the time, especially specific ones. If I've just had an intensive writing session, I find my brain responding to real-life events with the perspective or attitude of my characters. My character of Cara in Spell Sweeper was very opinionated and she was a particularly hard character to get out of my brain after spending a few hours writing with her. She always had something to say about everything.
Who are your favorite authors?
I read a lot of middle-grade books because that's mostly what I teach and what I write. My all-time favorite author is Terry Pratchett, and other ones include Linda Sue Park, Ellen Oh, Tony DiTerlizzi, Kate DiCamillo, Elsie Chapman . . . I could go on and on.
What genres do you write?
children's, fantasy, adventure, comedy
How did you choose the genre(s) you write?
My author friends and I joke that we write for the age at which we are emotionally stuck. For me, that seems to be eleven! I think I just always had a joy of children's lit and those epic adventures with dragons and wizards. I also like the humor and silliness that you can often get away with in children's lit.
What three things are on your writing desk at any given moment?
Well, I'm a prop-builder . . . so, there is usually an assortment of magical creature eggs of various sizes and colors (all made by me). Two other items that are always on my desk are potion kits (also made by me) and my brainstorming journals.
What hobbies do you have when you need a break from writing?
I find it hard to turn off my brain. Going for a bike ride can help, though sometimes I find myself writing or imagining in my head as I ride. I like watching sports because they don't remotely inspire me; they truly turn off my switch in a way that watching anything else doesn't.
What formats are your books in?
eBook, Print, Audiobook
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All information is provided by the author and is presented as it was submitted so you the reader get to hear the author’s own “voice” in their interview.