You can click on any of the book covers to go to their Amazon page.
Jonathan Sprout: You write about fictional heroes. What qualities do you look for
when creating your fictional characters?
Valerie Tripp: I don't have to look far for heroic qualities because my characters are inspired by my readers, and my readers are heroic to me because they face their daily challenges with humor, empathy, curiosity, generosity, and kindness. All of my books have the same message: Yes, disappointments and troubles will come your way, but you’ll be okay. You are the hero of your own life story.
“I don't have to look far for heroic qualities because my characters are inspired by my readers, and my readers are heroic to me.” - Valerie Tripp
Valerie: I love to do research. It is not a process; it is a way of life. When you become interested in a time period, it is as if the universe is full of the information you need – you just have to start to pay attention! Research for me is travel, reading, talking to people who are experts and people who lived when my character did, looking at movies, and listening to music. It is also observing and being delighted and inspired by girls of today. Research can also be looking back at my own experiences as a child. Research is active: it can be taking cooking lessons, going for a horseback ride, swimming in the Rio Grande river, and trying to knit a sock (unsuccessfully, by the way!)
Jonathan: When you are creating a character, do you think about the parents, caregivers or teachers of these girls and boys and how your
characters will inspire dialogue between them? Can you elaborate?
Jonathan: Your books encourage boys and girls to understand that they too can be “heroes” in their everyday lives (i.e. you don’t have to be famous to be a hero). What are your thoughts on this?
Jonathan: Are there differences between what girls find heroic and what boys find heroic? How has an awareness of this this helped you to
craft your stories?
Valerie: No, I don’t think there are differences between what boys and girls find heroic. Heroism is facing your own specific challenges, and no matter what those challenges are, we all have to find the inner courage to do so.
Jonathan: Tell us about your latest writing venture - writing for boys.
“I felt as though books were short-changing boys. The boys I know are funny and nurturing, passionate, goofy, adventurous, brave, and have rich inner lives.” - Valerie Tripp
Valerie: I felt as though books were short-changing boys. The boys I know are funny and nurturing, passionate, goofy, adventurous, brave, and have rich inner lives but the boys I saw in books had to solve problems with magic or bathroom jokes. The Boys Camp books show boys facing landslides, fires, near-drowning, friendship troubles, skunks, bears, snakes, shyness, and dives off cliffs! They’re jokesters and bird-watchers, tennis stars and singers – and they are ALL heroes!