Like our most recent Inklings novelist, Sophia Nesamoney, Darcey Rosenblatt found inspiration for her book by listening to others’ stories, especially stories that might not otherwise be heard. Do you know someone—a friend, family member, or acquaintance—whose story of persistence, hard work, or resilience ought to be known? Honor that person by writing a short narrative or poem inspired by their experiences. If you’re able, sit down with that person, and listen to them tell the story in their own words. Make sure to ask their permission, but if they agree, use what you hear to breathe life into your piece.
We’d love to hear from you! Submit your responses by emailing email@example.com and you might be published on our website.
An Interview with Darcey Rosenblatt
When you start developing a new book, do you start with a character, a setting, a theme, a plot idea, or something else? Is it a mix?
Usually, for me, it is a plot idea—what if this happened and then that happened? But I don’t get excited about an idea and the story doesn’t start to grow properly until a character is born in my head to go with it. Then interestingly, as I get into writing the story, the plot changes more than the character.
What kind of research did you do in order to create Lost Boys?
This was maybe the hardest part of writing this book and for months I shied away from writing because I wasn’t sure I had enough information to tell the story. Because it’s historical fiction I could make up the characters, but not the facts of what happened to them. I spent a lot of time on the internet, but information was patchy and sometimes conflicting. What finally gave me the confidence to dive into writing was finding two first-hand sources. My friend Masood is from Iran and is the age that my character, Reza would be now. Masood talked to me a lot about growing up in Iran and how his family’s life changed after the revolution. I also found a man called Ian Brown, who’d taught in the Iraqi POW camps in the 1980’s He’d written a book about his time with the Iranian boys who were captured and spent years in the camps. He was happy that someone could use his experiences to tell the story of what happened to these boys. I shared a manuscript with him and he offered helpful comments.
So much of writing is about revising. Do you have any specific strategies you use when you’re revising a scene or a full manuscript?
Strategies change depending on what story I’m working on, but I’m a big fan of colored post-it notes. I use a wall or a foam core board and outline the whole story out scene by scene with different colored post-it notes. Different colors represent plot, subplot, emotion, tension, and theme.
What’s the best surprise you’ve had in your writing life?
I would say my recent award of the Crystal Kite Award from SCBWI. It is such an honor and puts me in amazing company.
What do you hope young readers take away from Lost Boys?
I hope Lost Boys is a window into a time and culture they haven’t heard much about, but I also hope that they can see that no matter what they go through or where they come from, kids are kids. I hope kids understand that even though Reza and Ebi (my main characters) are in a harrowing place for most of the book, they have friendships and act goofy just like kids everywhere.
If you could tell your young writer-self something, what would it be?
I would tell myself to stick with it! I wrote as a young kid and all through high school and then didn’t for years because I thought I should have a “traditional job” and I thought I couldn’t do both. I’m not sorry I’ve had a traditional job. I work as an environmental planner, but now I write too. I would tell my younger self not to abandon my storytelling. What I didn’t know then was even if you aren’t lucky enough to make a living as a writer, writing makes for a rich and interesting life whatever else you do.
Society of Young Inklings News
- We’re celebrating the release of our 2018 Inklings Book! We’re so proud of the 18 young authors who contributed to this year’s anthology. Grab your copy today.
- Join our society! We’ll send you a FREE Inklings Starter Kit with tips and tricks personalized to your creativity style. Plus, you’ll get exclusive member benefits like discounted prices on online programming.
- Each writer is unique, and that’s why we’ve designed our program to be more of a choose-your-own-adventure rather than a one-size fits all. Not sure where to start? Click here to take our quiz. We’ll help you pick your best-fit program!
Darcey Rosenblatt writes for middle grade and teenage people because she believes for them stories can be life changing – they were for her. Her debut novel Lost Boys (Henry Holt for Young Readers) was released in August 2017. Darcey is a co-founder of the annual Better Books Workshop for middle grade and young adult writers. She lives in the San Francisco Bay Area with her fabulous husband and daughter, some fish, and the two best dogs in the world.