Trudee Romanek - Author

Trudee Romanek

Birthplace?
Barrie, Ontario. I DID move away to go to university and get married but came back to my hometown a few years ago when our kids were small.

Birthday?
January 28th.

When did you start writing?
I'd have to say just after university, when I started working.

What is your favorite book? Why?
Adult book: A Prayer for Owen Meany because I love how everything, absolutely everything, gets pulled together in the ending. Children's book: The Dark Is Rising by Susan Cooper. I'm a sucker for the good guys winning.

What are your hobbies?
I sing in a quintet with four friends. We perform frequently around our city. That takes up most of my spare time.

What was your training or schooling?
I did an Honors Bachelor degree in English Literature and drama at the University of Toronto.

How did you get involved with children's books?
I started by editing for a textbook publisher and went from there to children's trade books, and since literature for children was what I knew, that's what I started writing.

What is the thing you like the most about creating kids' books?
I love learning new and amazing things everyday as I research. As I learn nifty facts, I imagine the readers and whether they will enjoy learning what I've just learned. It's my connection to the readers. I also really enjoy talking to cooperative experts on the phone. I'm amazed at how helpful most people are.

You work as an editor also, don't you? How does editing books differ from writing them?
Editing books is totally different. When I edit, I'm usually helping another writer to organize his or her ideas in the way that flows smoothly and makes the most sense. Making suggestions to help someone improve what's already there is much more straightforward than starting from nothing and building a book. Let's say creating books is like cooking in a way. The editor is like a cook who can figure out how to manipulate the steps and the amounts of ingredients to make the dish the best it can be, but the writer is like the chef who has to decide what sort of dish it will be and select the ingredients from the millions of possibilities.

What is your favorite movie? Why?
The Princess Bride. Because it's hilarious and because the good guys win.

Where do you work/write?
I used to think you had to place yourself in a “creative” setting to write. I've learned that if I concentrate, I can write anywhere. I do most of my work in my office, looking out at our backyard. We have a demented groundhog who lives in the field beyond our yard who occasionally comes and thumps on my window as I work. I still haven't figured out why he does that!

How do you research or create your stories?
I do a lot of my research on the Internet. I've gotten pretty good at using search engines to find what I need. Of course, I still use books from the local library as well, but the Internet can bring me resources I couldn't otherwise reach. And I spend a lot of time talking to experts on the phone, interviewing them to learn what they can tell me.

Do you have any tips for young creators?
Don't be discouraged. Even the very seasoned writers don't get all the words right the first time. This is something I have to keep telling myself, too. Even if I feel my writing isn't good enough, I have to try to improve it, and then be brave enough to show it to someone else.

Do you have any special secrets or insights about one of your books or characters?
Everyone in my town thinks I'm nuts because I spent so much time testing out technology here. I convinced a local restaurant to let me test their touch screen, and I hung around the Cineplex theater to do the same there. I also had the librarians scanning cans of tuna for me so I could see what would show up on their computer screen. And the Future Shop let me test all their video cameras and remote controls to make sure you could see a light signal from the remote through each camera (for an activity in the book). And I walked through innumerable automatic doors to test out how long they stay open and to see what their sensing mechanisms look like. I even visited the hospital and watched someone perform surgery with an endoscope.

Birthplace?
Barrie, Ontario. I DID move away to go to university and get married but came back to my hometown a few years ago when our kids were small.

Birthday?
January 28th.

When did you start writing?
I'd have to say just after university, when I started working.

What is your favorite book? Why?
Adult book: A Prayer for Owen Meany because I love how everything, absolutely everything, gets pulled together in the ending. Children's book: The Dark Is Rising by Susan Cooper. I'm a sucker for the good guys winning.

What are your hobbies?
I sing in a quintet with four friends. We perform frequently around our city. That takes up most of my spare time.

What was your training or schooling?
I did an Honors Bachelor degree in English Literature and drama at the University of Toronto.

How did you get involved with children's books?
I started by editing for a textbook publisher and went from there to children's trade books, and since literature for children was what I knew, that's what I started writing.

What is the thing you like the most about creating kids' books?
I love learning new and amazing things everyday as I research. As I learn nifty facts, I imagine the readers and whether they will enjoy learning what I've just learned. It's my connection to the readers. I also really enjoy talking to cooperative experts on the phone. I'm amazed at how helpful most people are.

You work as an editor also, don't you? How does editing books differ from writing them?
Editing books is totally different. When I edit, I'm usually helping another writer to organize his or her ideas in the way that flows smoothly and makes the most sense. Making suggestions to help someone improve what's already there is much more straightforward than starting from nothing and building a book. Let's say creating books is like cooking in a way. The editor is like a cook who can figure out how to manipulate the steps and the amounts of ingredients to make the dish the best it can be, but the writer is like the chef who has to decide what sort of dish it will be and select the ingredients from the millions of possibilities.

What is your favorite movie? Why?
The Princess Bride. Because it's hilarious and because the good guys win.

Where do you work/write?
I used to think you had to place yourself in a “creative” setting to write. I've learned that if I concentrate, I can write anywhere. I do most of my work in my office, looking out at our backyard. We have a demented groundhog who lives in the field beyond our yard who occasionally comes and thumps on my window as I work. I still haven't figured out why he does that!

How do you research or create your stories?
I do a lot of my research on the Internet. I've gotten pretty good at using search engines to find what I need. Of course, I still use books from the local library as well, but the Internet can bring me resources I couldn't otherwise reach. And I spend a lot of time talking to experts on the phone, interviewing them to learn what they can tell me.

Do you have any tips for young creators?
Don't be discouraged. Even the very seasoned writers don't get all the words right the first time. This is something I have to keep telling myself, too. Even if I feel my writing isn't good enough, I have to try to improve it, and then be brave enough to show it to someone else.

Do you have any special secrets or insights about one of your books or characters?
Everyone in my town thinks I'm nuts because I spent so much time testing out technology here. I convinced a local restaurant to let me test their touch screen, and I hung around the Cineplex theater to do the same there. I also had the librarians scanning cans of tuna for me so I could see what would show up on their computer screen. And the Future Shop let me test all their video cameras and remote controls to make sure you could see a light signal from the remote through each camera (for an activity in the book). And I walked through innumerable automatic doors to test out how long they stay open and to see what their sensing mechanisms look like. I even visited the hospital and watched someone perform surgery with an endoscope.

Achoo!

2006 - Red Cedar Book Award, Short-listed
2005 - Hackmatack Children's Choice Book Award, Short-listed
2004 - Silver Birch Award, Ontario Library Association, Short-listed
2004 - Science in Society Book Award, Canadian Science Writers' Association, Short-listed
2004 - International Book Awards, The Society of School Librarians International, Commended

Aha!

2007 - Red Cedar Book Award, Short-listed
2006 - Hackmatack Children's Choice Book Award, Short-listed
2004 - International Book Awards, The Society of School Librarians International, Commended
2004 - YA Top Forty Nonfiction, Pennsylvania School Librarians Association, Winner

Squirt!

2007 - Hackmatack Children's Choice Book Award, Short-listed
2007 - Information Book Award, Children's Literature Roundtables of Canada, Short-listed
2007 - Great Book of the Year, Canadian Toy Testing Council, Commended
- Best Bets - Top 10 Canadian Children's Books, Ontario Library Association

Wow!

2005 - Silver Birch Award, Ontario Library Association, Short-listed

Zzz ...

2005 - Red Cedar Book Award, Short-listed
2003 - Silver Birch Award, Ontario Library Association, Short-listed
2003 - Our Choice - Starred Selection, Canadian Children's Book Centre, Winner
2003 - Childrens' Choices, International Reading Association, Short-listed

Non-fiction

Squirt!, 2006
Wow!, 2004
Aha!, 2004
Achoo!, 2003
Zzz ..., 2002