For young writers, words of inspiration

Author Rebecca Stead shares best place to discover story ideas

Author+Rebecca+Stead+%28center%29+poses+with+reporters+from+the+Watertown+Splash+during+a+visit+to+Lesley+University+in+January.
Author Rebecca Stead (center) poses with reporters from the Watertown Splash during a visit to Lesley University in January.

Author Rebecca Stead (center) poses with reporters from the Watertown Splash during a visit to Lesley University in January.

Author Rebecca Stead (center) poses with reporters from the Watertown Splash during a visit to Lesley University in January.

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A lot of Rebecca Stead’s ideas come from her childhood. For example, “When You Reach Me” was based on her neighborhood. Other ideas came from a job she had at Subway, her dentist, and when her mom was on “The $20,000 Pyramid.”

“This is stealing from yourself,” she said, “which you’re allowed to do.

Rebecca, the Newbery Prize-winning author, was at Lesley University recently, reading from her latest book “Liar & Spy.”

Rebecca lives in Manhattan with her husband and two kids. She is the author of three books: “First Light,” “When You Reach Me,” and “Liar & Spy.” When asked if her kids inspired her books, she answered, “No, I don’t think about my children too much when writing.”

When Rebecca was in high school — when she had Frank McCourt as a creative writing teacher — she still didn’t think she wanted to be a writer. She loved to read though.

After graduating high school and college, Rebecca went on to be a lawyer. She was a lawyer into her 30s, and she then realized that she had a passion for writing. Rebecca kept it a secret for the longest time.

“I didn’t tell people at first because I didn’t take myself seriously,” she said.

Rebecca has a very interesting approach to writing: She writes a bunch of scenes and then finds a way to string them together.

Rebecca is now working on a new book that will be coming out next year.

She had some advice she would like to give to those high schoolers who are hoping to become authors.

“Read widely with an open heart,’’ she said. “If you stop reading, you stop writing.”

–March 16, 2014–

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