Monday, June 17, 2024

Q&A with Maggie C. Rudd



Maggie C. Rudd is the author of the middle grade novel How to Stay Invisible. Her other books include the children's picture book On the Fourth of July.


Q: What inspired you to write How to Stay Invisible, and how did you create your character Raymond?


A: I was walking through the woods behind the school where I worked, and I saw a huge fallen tree. The roots were ripped up from the earth and there was a huge hole through the center of the root system. I stuck my head inside to get a better look, and I thought, Wow, someone could live in here. The thought bloomed and blossomed and turned into a book.


The character, Raymond, is loosely based off of several students whom I consistently worried about, but he definitely developed into his own person with his own unique personality and problems. 


Q: The Kirkus Review of the book said, in part, “Completely devoid of cheap drama, this tightly written, understated narrative tells its story through finely drawn characters, intensely realistic atmosphere and setting, and a protagonist who will capture readers’ hearts with both his courage and his creative survival skills.” What do you think of that description?


A: Initially, I thought, Whaaaaaaaaat?! I was just so blown away and happy. Once the shock wore off, I felt very proud and awe-stricken. I still do. It is such a very lovely review of my book, and I am so very thankful. 


Q: Did you know how the novel would end before you started writing it, or did you make many changes along the way?


A: No, I didn’t know the end, but I knew I wanted better for Raymond.


I would say that I am a momentum writer. I have ideas along the way, but mostly I just write as it comes to me. Stories have a wonderful way of developing as they are told, and you sort of start to see the path ahead as you get going. That is what works for me, anyway.


And then of course, editing is key. When you think you are finished, you aren’t. There are always changes and tweaks to be made, and I certainly had my fair share of those. 


Q: What do you hope readers take away from the story?


A: I hope readers remember that what is visible isn’t always reality. You may think you know what is happening with the people around you, but you probably have no idea.


It is always good to remember to show grace, kindness, and friendship because you just never know when it might make a difference in someone’s life. 


Q: What are you working on now?


A: Too many things. I am always writing something. Rhyming picture books, lesson plans, motivational notes to myself, etc.!


Q: Anything else we should know? 


A: I am thankful for every reader and LOVE to hear from you. You can contact me on my website, Thank you so much for adding Raymond’s story to your life. I hope you enjoy it. 


--Interview with Deborah Kalb

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