Avi: One Quality Book After Another

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• Part 2: More on Crispin

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• Book Review: Crispin

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Editor's Note: I had a chance to interview Avi in connection with the release of his latest book. That interview is below, and the review of his book is here.

Part 1: The Quality of His Work

Avi will have his 50th book published next month. The Newbery Honor winner is already hard at work on other projects (including a fantasy with a female main character).

Crispin: The Cross of Lead, a historical fiction story of a young boy in medieval England, will hit stores in June, 2002. A review of the book can be found here.

And with this 50th book, the author says he still does things the way he always has. He still does a great many rewrites. ("It's true," he said. "In an early version of this book, there was no cross of lead.")

The ease of use of modern computers has helped him save these revisions and previous versions, rather than crossing things out and then erasing the crossings-out. "Typing by hand was an incredibly laborious process," he said. "It [the computer] has allowed me to be bolder and take risks. You can put things in and out and try stuff with greater ease. It's made me a better writer in that sense."

But the process is still the same: Find a good idea and tell the story.

Avi says that when he is writing, he sees pictures, not words, in his head. "When the book really comes alive to me is when I'm recording the vision," he said. "I do enormous amounts of rewriting, until I reach a discovery moment, in which the vision becomes very clear. The image becomes so clear that the whole book comes into relief."

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