Friday, December 7, 2012

Author Interview with Jerry Spinelli

The DMS was lucky enough to interview Jerry Spinelli, author of the middle grade novel Loser. Lizzy recently reviewed this wonderful story, and it was great to share our thoughts about it and hear yours! We are excited to learn a little bit more about the story behind the story. So, without further ado... take it away, Jerry! 

What inspired you to write Loser?

For years I'd been giving talks on the value of failure. Loser is my fictional take on that idea.

How long did it take you to write Loser?

About a year, which is typical for me.

What are some of your favorite books from childhood? Were there any specific authors who inspired you?

Hah. This is a writer who didn't read much as a kid (which may be why I have Maniac Magee carry a book everywhere he goes). In sixth grade I had a subscription to Bugs Bunny comic books. My reading devotions centered mostly on the sports pages of the Norristown (PA) Times Herald. My favorite writer was the sports editor, Red McCarthy.

Where did you come up with the character Zinkoff?

From looking at the one kid who is running south while the other 99 are running north.
Authors Stephanie Robinson & Jerry Spinelli
2012 UCONN Children's Book Fair

If you could befriend a character from any of your books, who would you befriend? Why?

I would say Amanda Beale from Maniac Magee. My kind of kid.

Where do you like to write? Do you listen to music while you are writing?

I write (when I'm not on a long-distance train) in my office at home. No music.

If you could live anywhere in the world, where would it be? Why?

Right where I am, a few miles from where I was born in southeastern PA. I will always be, in part, the place where I began, so I can travel the world, as I have, and always return to myself.     

Zinkoff really enjoys school and learning. Do you have a favorite teacher or memory of school that stands out to you?

I fondly recall many teachers, more so than subjects. I dedicated Fourth Grade Rats to Miss Coleman, my fourth-grade teacher.     

Where can we purchase your books?


  1. Great interview! Congrats, Jerry, about your book!

    1. Thanks for stopping by, Cherie! Jerry is such a wonderful author and person. :) ~Stephanie

  2. Sounds like a really fun read with a bit of a new take. I'm pretty sure I can relate to finding value in failure :)

  3. Charmaine- Thanks for stopping by! It is a great read and a book with a different outlook. It's important to learn from failure. :)