Interview Paul Mosier

Nadat ik voor de kinderboekenweek bij In de boekenkast het boek Bestemming Onbekend van Paul Mosier mocht recenseren was ik direct fan. Zijn boek is intens en aangrijpend en toch met de nodige humor. Hij reageerde via instagram direct op mijn berichtje over zijn boek en na wat contact te hebben gehad heb ik mijn stoute schoenen aangetrokken en hem gevraagd of ik online een paar vragen aan hem mocht stellen voor mijn blog, en zoals je kunt zien mocht dat! Wauw dat was echt heel bijzonder. Mocht je zijn boek Bestemming Onbekend nog niet gelezen hebben, DOEN!!!! 

Can you tell us something about yourself?

I live a short walk from the hospital where I took my first breath in downtown Phoenix, Arizona. I love writing, and baseball, practicing yoga, and eating vegetarian food. I love hanging out at coffeehouses, where I do much of my writing. I love being a father to two daughters, though my younger daughter, Harmony, passed to the next dimension last year at age 9 after a two year cancer fight. We have the best dog ever, a black and white Borador named Oreo.

When did you start writing, and why?

I have written my whole life— stories, journaling and the occasional poem. I never thought I could write a novel because my head is chaotic and random, but I tried anyway in 2011. Now I feel like I was born for it. I think that writing stories is not something I have chosen but rather is something that has chosen me.

Why do you wanted to write children books?

I wasn’t a big reader as a child, though I always wrote stories. I was obsessed with basketball when I was young. Reading children’s literature to my daughters showed me that there are works for young readers with the emotional depth necessary for me to have a rewarding artistic experience in writing for the young. Specifically, the novel JUNONIA by Kevin Henkes made me realize I could write something quiet and poetic and beautiful.

I know you from your book ‘Train I ride’ or in Dutch ‘Bestemming onbekend.’ How did you came up with the idea for this book?

The idea for Train I Ride came from the first line of a song by Elvis Presley and Junior Parker, called “Mystery Train.” The first line is “Train I Ride, sixteen coaches long.” I thought that sounded like a good first line for a novel, so I wrote it—- “the train I ride is sixteen coaches long.” I decided it would be an adolescent girl telling the story, and after that the character told me the story while I listened to her.

How does it feel that your book is translated in other languages?

It feels amazing to have my work translated in other languages, which so far includes Dutch, Japanese, Spanish and Italian. Sharing the story with people all over the world is magical. I was on a train in New York City and wanted to lighten my suitcase, so I offered to give two of my books to an adolescent girl and her mother. It turns out they were visiting from The Netherlands, the girl was a huge reader, and she had seen Bestemming Onbekend all over her homeland. She was also proficient in reading English so she accepted the books.

You yourself have children, are they a inspiration for you? And are they your testpublic when you have written a new book?

My two daughters have inspired me in that I have been exposed to lots of great children’s literature while reading to them, I wanted specifically to be able to write something they could read, and they have made it easier for me to draw adolescent female characters. Eleri, who is now 16, is a tough critic! Harmony, my younger daughter who passed in 2018, also would read and tell me what she thought. Both of them are very creative themselves.

Do you know if other books that you have written will be translated into Dutch?

I don’t know if any other books of mine will be translated into Dutch, but I hope so! Lemniscaat did a great job with Bestemming onbekend. I feel like my best work is ahead of me, including next summer’s release, SUMMER AND JULY.

Do you hope that children will read more after they have read your book(s) or is there something else you hope to accomplish with your books?

I guess my strongest wish is for the reader to feel something from what I’ve written. I don’t feel like the creator of a story, but rather the first one to experience it. It feels great to share the experience of being moved by a story with readers. Providing a catharsis, connecting with people around the world— I feel very lucky to be able to enjoy this.

Who is your favorite author and why? 

It’s hard to pick a favorite author. I have said that my favorite book is The Old Man And And The Sea by Hemingway, but I’ve also said that of The Catcher in the Rye by Salinger and To Kill A Mockingbird by Harper Lee. I feel like I am more inspired by poets and lyricists. I embed lots of favorite lines from songs and poems in my novels!

Is there anything you like to add or tell us?

I’d like to say thank you to the people who have read me, who give me my purpose. It’s an honor for me to bring the gifts of the muse to life, and I’m grateful to be chosen by her!

Dear Paul, thank you so much for your answers and time! l loved your book and hope that more of your books will be translated bij Lemniscaat.

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