Q&A

CAROL MATAS ANSWERS READERS' QUESTIONS

Where were you born?
Winnipeg, Manitoba.

When were you born?
November 14, 1949

Where do you live now?
Winnipeg, Manitoba. 

Do you have a family?
I have two grown children, a husband, and seven grandchildren. We used to have a very special dog named Kokopelli. Koko was an American Indian dog — that ís a special breed — who could catch a Frisbee. She loved the snow and the desert. You can find out more about the breed on the Web. We now have a standard poodle named Ava. She is a retired show dog.

What are some of your favorite things?
I love walking in Assiniboine Park in Winnipeg. In Assiniboine Park there is an English Garden, and my husband and I go there to look at the flowers. It’s a great place to think. I also love politics although I find it very frustrating. But I read the newspapers and watch the news, and follow both American and Canadian politics and often I’ll work for a political candidate. I love flowers and colors. My favorite food is fruit in season, and my favorite treat is dark chocolate.

What is important to you?
My family is the most important thing to me. My work is also important. Through my work I hope to make the world a little bit better — I’d like to make a difference and help make the world a better place to live for everyone. I believe one person can make a difference for good or for ill.

What is your favorite book that you wrote?
I really don’t have a favorite. They are all like children to me. I am always a little fonder of the baby- the newest book, the one I have just finished.

What is your favorite book that you have read?
The Wizard of Oz books were my favorite as a child. They had great characters, strong feisty girls with lots of courage, and wonderful imaginative plots and settings.

What book was the most fun to write?
Probably The Race, because it was all about politics and I love politics. But the books I wrote with Perry Nodelman were also great fun because we were able to work together and it was always interesting and fun.

Why do you write so much about the war?
Over two million children were murdered in the Holocaust. They cannot tell their stories. I hope I can tell some of those stories for them. It is also a way to explore the issues of good and evil in the world. They are difficult books to write but very rewarding.

Where do you get your ideas?
Everywhere! I can be reading the newspaper, looking out the window, watching a movie, reading a book, or talking to a friend. And suddenly I'll think — wait, that would make a great book. Often I write about things young people have not read much about because that way it will be fresh and interesting and perhaps get them to think about new things in new ways.

Why do you write?
I write to entertain and I write to challenge. I want my books to be fun to read, pleasurable, and I also want them to spur people into thinking for themselves, to ask questions, to think.

How do you do your research?
That depends on the book. If possible, I talk to people. If the book is set hundreds of years ago, I read not only history books but memoirs and diaries — the next best thing to talking to people. I also try to view videos or movies or view pictures, so I can get a visual sense of the times. Research can take anywhere from a few months to a few years.

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