Welcome back to You Heard Write! A place where writers and fans can hear from their favorite authors as they discuss aspects of the craft, up and coming publications, and personal experiences.
Today we welcome a very special guest, international bestselling author Cornelia Funke!
About the author:
Cornelia Funke was born in 1958 in Dorsten, Germany. After she graduated from college, she worked as a social worker with children from difficult backgrounds. She returned to school three years later, this time to study book illustration at the Hamburg State College of Design. As an illustrator, she designed board games and illustrated children’s books. But she soon became frustrated. Disappointed in the way some of the stories were told and wanting to draw fabulous creatures and magical worlds rather than familiar situations of school and home, she was finally inspired to write her own children’s books! Her books have found international success, making her one of the most beloved authors of the century.
Some of Cornelia’s most known works:
CN: Being a lover of dragons, I’m dying to know where the inspiration for Dragon Rider come from?
CF: The book goes back to some ideas I used for my very first book “Die grosse Drachensuche” (The long search for the dragons), which has never been translated into English. Someone wanted to make a series out of it and asked me to make the story a little longer. Well, you can’t just make a story longer and so I decided to write it anew and in a slightly different way. While I wrote that new story I didn’t feel like turning it into a TV series anymore and so now there’s just the book.
And there was one more reason to write Dragon Rider. I wanted to draw dragons and all the strange creatures that live with them.
CN: What should aspiring authors expect if they wish to have their stories traditionally published?
CF: I would suggest sending a summary of your story and a strong excerpt that can stand alone to a publisher. If the editor likes the idea and the writing style, he/she will contact you and ask for the complete text. But: please be patient and do not be disappointed, if it does not work at first go. Wait. Getting an answer—any kind of answer!—takes a long time. Most publishers and/or agents have to go through hundreds of submissions each week. Be patient…
CN: If you could go back in time and give your pre-published self one piece of advice, what would it be?
CF: Structure! I print out each chapter I have rewritten, and put the working sheets on each chapter with notes on what I’d like to put in the drafts. Then they’re organized in sets of 10 chapters, since there are so many chapters in the books, like the Ink trilogy. Each time I do a rewrite, there’s a new color for each draft. That way I know how many drafts I’ve done for the book. With big books like those, you have to be really organized.
Besides, you have to have patience and collect ideas about something you’re really passionate about. Characters you want to talk about and that readers would want to read about. Then collect ideas for places in the book — look at photos and books about different places for inspiration. Then start collecting little things about the story and background… until you have a chest full of ideas. Then you can start writing the plot of the story, based on your ideas.
CN: (Fun One) If you could live inside any of the fantasy worlds that you have created, which one would you chose and why?
CF: I would read myself into MirrorWorld and be a shapeshifter like Fox.
CN: What can your fans expect from the next Cornelia Funke book(s)?
CF: Hopefully as much joy as they found in my other books 😉
Myself, Cornelia, and her sister, Insa, who was wonderful in delivering the answers to me, want to thank you all for stopping by You Heard Write! We hope you had as much fun reading the Q and A as we did ourselves, as well as furthering your knowledge on the craft of writing. And be sure to check out Cornelia’s work next time you’re looking for a great book to read!
You can connect with Cornelia on social media and her website by clicking on the links below!
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