Welcome back to the Colorado is for Writers interview series! Every other Tuesday, I talk to different Colorado-based authors about their work and their connections to this beautiful state. Today, I’m happy to welcome Todd Mitchell to the blog!
Todd is the author of several extremely-cool-sounding novels for young adults, including one Colorado Book Award winner and another finalist. Welcome, Todd!
First things first: Colorado native or transplant?
I’m a transplant (been here 15 years). I grew up in Illinois (someone has to get the short straw). I first came to Colorado when I was 10 and fell in love. An aunt and uncle of mine lived in Fort Collins, so I came back and visited them on my own as soon as I could. The first time was when I was seventeen, and drove out West with my closest friend. Then I drove out here again when I was in college in a car I bought for $400. Both times, I got in a car accident in Fort Collins, which I guess is fate’s way of telling me to stay here.
Tell us a bit about your book(s), published and/or in progress!
BACKWARDS (Candlewick Press, 2013, for ages 12 & up)
This is an odd book. It’s a bit of a mystery, a psychological thriller, and a romance told from the point of view of a character called the Rider who’s trapped in the body of a suicidal teen. Not only that, he’s stuck traveling backwards in time. So he needs to figure out what he’s doing there, and what his purpose his, and ultimately how to take over and make this life his own.
THE SECRET TO LYING (Candlewick Press, 2010, for ages 14 & up, Winner of the Colorado Book Award)
The story of James, a high school sophomore, who gets into a school where no one knows him and decides to reinvent himself as the person he always wished he could be. This book explores what happens when your life becomes a lie.
THE TRAITOR KING (Scholastic Press, 2007, for ages 8 & up, Finalist for the Colorado Book Award)
Part fantasy, part reality. While searching for their missing Uncle Will, Darren and Jackie discover a secret family history that pulls them into a fantastical Otherworld. (It’s kindof like The Lightning Thief, but with figures from Celtic mythology instead of Greek.)
A FLIGHT OF ANGELS (Vertigo, 2011, for ages 14 & up)
This is a graphic novel that I co-authored, working with four other writers (Holly Black, Bill Willingham, Alisa Kwitney, and Louise Hawes). Basically, a bunch of supernatural beings find a fallen angel in the woods and each tell stories to determine what they should do with it. Definitely for more mature audiences. The art, by Rebecca Guay, is incredible.
What’s the view like from your favorite writing space?
Here’s a picture (it’s in Ireland). Hey, you asked for my favorite spot. In all seriousness, my best writing happens outdoors. By which I mean, I write every day in my basement (which has a decent view of a pond), but when I get stuck I go for a run, and my best lines, insights, and ideas usually come to me while I’m running. So I run daily. And I run everywhere.
What’s the best thing about being a writer in Colorado?
See above. Having so many beautiful open spaces to run in. Also, the weather here is incredible. I love all four seasons (though fall is my favorite). But running in fresh snow and making tracks is pure bliss. In Colorado, there’s a culture of healthy living, which is essential for a writer (otherwise, I get lost in my own head). One other thing I love about being a writer in Colorado is that there’s a surprisingly vibrant and talented YA and Children’s Book community here. Within just a few blocks of my house, I know five other extremely well-published and best-selling YA and Children’s book authors. That’s pretty amazing.
Thank you, Todd, and congratulations on the publication of Backwards, which sounds amazing! (And fall is my favorite season, too–good call there. 🙂 )