Transcript of Authors Live with Jean Fritz
American Revolution Books
April 24, 2002Related Resources for Authors Live
View photos of Jean Fritz taken during the interview.
Moderator: Welcome to Authors Live. We are ready for your questions, now!Pennsylvania: Why are most of your book titles done as questions? Who helps you to think of them?
Jean Fritz: I like to ask questions because it makes you curious about what's inside. My children helped me think of book titles. We had a lot of discussions at the dinner table!
Texas: Who is your favorite author?
Jean Fritz: Natalie Babbitt, who wrote Tuck Everlasting. I have many favorite authors, though. Lois Lowry is another author I like.
Kansas: How many books have you written?
Jean Fritz: I used to say over 50, but I've noticed that the Internet says 65!
New York: What did you want to be as a child?
Jean Fritz: A writer. I never changed.
Pennsylvania: Are there any manuscripts in your house that have not been published?
Jean Fritz: A few very old ones. I wrote them at the very beginning of my career.
Pennsylvania: What is your second favorite subject, after history? We know that you like baseball we followed the morning interview.
Jean Fritz: English. You have so much reading to do, and I love that.
Texas: What is your favorite food?
Jean Fritz: Ice cream!
New York: Did you go to college?
Jean Fritz: Yes, I did. I went to Wheaton College in Massachusetts.
Texas: What is your favorite thing to do with your family or in your spare time?
Jean Fritz: I like to go on picnics with my family. I like to go to the beach. I like to just talk with my family and play games.
Pennsylvania: If you could redo anything in your life, what would it be?
Jean Fritz: I would not have had the operation on my back, which left me in a wheelchair.
New York: Why did you think Benjamin Franklin's big idea was lightning and electricity, and not the almanac?
Jean Fritz: I think his big idea was America as with all of the Founding Fathers.
Pennsylvania: We at Arrowhead enjoy Harry Potter. What did you read as a child?
Jean Fritz: I read Harry Potter as a grown-up! As a child I liked The Secret Garden and Dr. Doolittle.
Kansas: Are you still in a wheelchair? I have a student in a chair who is interested in knowing.
Jean Fritz: Yes, I am still in a wheelchair. Please say "Hi" to your student in the wheelchair. We can understand each other.
Pennsylvania: What is difficult in the writing process for you? We have trouble with revision.
Jean Fritz: Well, I think you have to count on revision when you get into writing. You can never just write one draft. I do it over and over again. But the hardest part, really, is getting started. Once you get started, you just keep rolling.
Texas: Which is your most recent book?
Jean Fritz: My most recent book is a picture book called Leonardo's Horse.
New York: Did Paul Revere really sell Samuel Adams dozens of sleigh bells?
Jean Fritz: Yes!
New York: Does John Hancock's house really have 54 windows?
Jean Fritz: Well, it's not standing now, so I wasn't able to count them. The house was really large, and they say it had that many windows.
Pennsylvania: What is it like learning subjects in China?
Jean Fritz: I went to an English school in China. I studied English history. I didn't have any Chinese in China, as a subject, which is too bad. I had French in second grade, also.
Texas: What do you think makes a good story?
Jean Fritz: Good beginning, good ending, and good between!
New York: What was your reaction to America when you first arrived?
Jean Fritz: I was on cloud nine! I thought it was just wonderful to be in a place where everyone spoke the same language. Where everything was green, with all the trees, and everything wasn't so crowded.
Pennsylvania: What is Lost Colony about? Is that your next book?
Jean Fritz: It is my next book. It's about an English colony that was started on Roanoke Island in Virginia. (Roanoke Island is now in North Carolina.) Some people were left there, and when the others went back to take them food, they were gone so they were lost.
Texas: Are any of your children writers?
Jean Fritz: No. My daughter is a very good critic. She reads all of my books.
New York: Why did Samuel Adams talk so much?
Jean Fritz: He had a lot to say. He wanted America to be free of England, so he went around telling everyone that's how it should be.
Kansas: Why was Samuel Adams afraid to ride a horse?
Jean Fritz: I don't know why he was afraid. Maybe he didn't have a horse, so he was embarrassed more than afraid. I don't think he was afraid. He could talk to people better on his feet.
Pennsylvania: Do you go crazy receiving letters from fans?
Jean Fritz: I receive a lot of letters. I enjoy them. But I have trouble finding time to answer them.
Kansas: Where do you get your historical information?
Jean Fritz: I start off by reading books about the person and by the person. Then I try to find letters that the person wrote. I read newspaper articles. I go to where they lived.
Texas: Do you have other jobs besides writing?
Jean Fritz: Writing is enough. It keeps me busy.
Pennsylvania: We would love to see your work on television. Will any of your books be made into television specials?
Jean Fritz: I have never heard of that happening, but that would be nice.
Texas: Do you return to China often?
Jean Fritz: I've just done it twice.
New York: How do you come up with ideas for your titles?
Jean Fritz: I discussed the titles with my family over the dinner table. I lie awake at night thinking about it.
New York: What was the first book you wrote?
Jean Fritz: A picture book that is now out of print. It was about a cat, named Fish Head.
Texas: What suggestions do you have for an aspiring writer of children's books?
Jean Fritz: Keep a diary. Write what you feel and what you're thinking, so when you are grown-up you can look back and remember your feelings.
New York: Have you met any presidents? Which president is your favorite?
Jean Fritz: No, I have never met any. It was nice to have Kennedy as a president. Washington is my favorite. I can find no fault with him.
Kansas: What is your favorite song? Do you like music?
Jean Fritz: I like music. I like Yo Yo Ma.... Yo Yo Ma is classical.
Pennsylvania: Will you ever write about the events of "9/11"?
Jean Fritz: I don't think so.
Texas: We would like you to know how much we have enjoyed preparing for this interview. You have touched our lives and we will never forget this experience. Thank you!!!
Pennsylvania: Arrowhead School has loved reading about your life. We loved all the books. We did many activities along with the reading. Thank you!!!
Moderator: One minute left – any other messages for Jean Fritz?
Texas: Please keep writing!
Kansas: Thank you for answering our questions. We enjoyed reading your books as we were studying the American Revolution. We would love for you to visit us.
Jean Fritz: I've loved being with all of you people, wherever you are. I feel as if I've visited you, and I would love to do it again.
Texas: Thank you, TeacherVision!
Jean Fritz: I say "Huzza!" to all of you!
New York: Thank you very much for this interview. We would love to have you visit us in the Bronx!
Moderator: Thank you, all, for a wonderful Authors Live. Cheers for Jean Fritz!
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