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Lena Coakley; author of Wicked Nix. "Japan!"

What was the first book you ever read all by yourself? I don’t recall the title, but it was a wordless picture book about a stray cat who follows a child home. My mother got it from the library, and I’ll never forget the sheer delight I felt at being able to read it myself. I got very miffed at my father when he told me it didn’t count as reading since the book didn’t have any words. To this day I disagree! Name a book you never finished reading, and why? I don’t finish 50% of the books I start. I have a very short attention span, so if a book doesn’t grab me, I feel no guilt about setting it down. In which fictional house or land would you like to live? I live in fictional lands for a good portion of every day. I’m a big daydreamer. I’m like those enviable authors who “divide their time” between Bali and New York City–or wherever–except that I divide my time between the real world and the fantastical. Tell us a favorite opening line from any children’s book. “The first thing you find out when yer dog learns to talk is that dogs don't got nothing much to say.” The Knife of Never Letting Go by Patrick Ness. Brilliant! Have you ever stolen a book? Why/when/where? I had a very clever friend in High School from whom I borrowed a book called, Dada: Art and Anti-Art. I told her I’d return it when I finished it, and since I’ve never been able to finish it, I suppose it’s not really stealing. What sentence by someone else do you wish you’d written? “Whether I shall turn out to be the hero of my own life, or whether that station will be held by anybody else, these pages must show.” from David Copperfiled by Charles Dickens. Another wonderful first line! Where would you most like to go to research your next book? Japan! When I turned fifty I decided I wanted to do something difficult to keep my brains from melting away so I started learning Japanese. I’m still not very good, but I’ve fallen in love with the language and the culture.

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