Thursday, November 9, 2017

Cornelia Maude Spelman Author Interview

Photo Content from Cornelia Maude Spelman

Cornelia Maude Spelmana former therapist, was a therapist with children and families before turning full-time to writing and art. Her eleven books for young children, described by reviewers as “sensitive” and “compassionate,” have been translated into Chinese, Korean, Spanish, Greek, Japanese, German, Arabic, Danish, Portuguese, and Italian. Her new book, Everybody’s Somewhere, is coming in October from Seagrass Press (Quarto Children’s Books.)

Cornelia’s memoir about her mother and the emotional legacies in her family, Missing (Northwestern University Press) has been called “memoir writing at its absolute finest” (Alex Kotlowitz, author, There Are No Children Here).

Her newest project is Diaries, Letters, Stories, a podcast series about emotional life and relationships between mothers and children, husbands and wives, friends; about ordinary happiness, trouble, loss and grief; about recovery from addiction, and about our ability to help one another. You can see a brief video about Diaries, Letters, Stories — on the upper right of this page there is a link to the podcast website, where you can listen or sign up to subscribe to it.

Cornelia has earned several awards from the Illinois Arts Council, was a finalist for the Penelope Niven Creative Nonfiction award from Salem College, and was awarded the Bernard De Voto Fellowship in Nonfiction at Bread Loaf Writers’ Conference.

Valuing emotional awareness and management, healthy relationships, and the preservation of personal histories–especially those of women and girls, through diaries and personal papers, Cornelia has been keeping a daily diary for thirty-six years, and is currently writing Volume 205. They are archived at the Schlesinger Library on the History of Women in America at Harvard University .

Hear an interview with Cornelia about the importance of emotion:

A mother and grandmother, Cornelia lives with her husband, a writer and professor, just outside Chicago.


What advice would you give to someone who wanted to have a life in writing? 
Write every day first thing in the morning when you are closest to your dreams. Put it aside and read again after six weeks. Write every day!

When did you write your first book and how old were you? 
I was eleven but I unfortunately didn’t keep my book and stories.

What was the greatest thing you learned at school? 
That books were full of adventure.

What was your unforgettable moment while writing EVERYBODY'S SOMEWHERE
Realizing that I could say what I wanted to say in this particular book best by writing in verse.

What are some of your current and future projects that you can share with us? 
 A number of picture books in verse; a memoir of stories about emotional connections.

Which character have you enjoyed getting to know while writing EVERYBODY'S SOMEWHERE
This book doesn’t really have characters but I like thinking about the child who is hearing or reading the line, “I’m right here, I’m somebody too!”

If you could introduce one of your characters to any character from another book, who would it be and why? 
I would like to have any character meet Mary Poppins though I would hope she would be nicer than in the books in which she is quite astringent and not warm and cozy.

What decade during the last century would you have chosen to be a teenager? 
The 1920’s.

If you could go back in time to one point in your life, where would you go? 
To waking up on a summer morning when I was eight.

What book would you recommend for others to read? 
An Episode of Sparrows, by Rumer Godden (I love English books and books about kindness to the hurt or outsider child.)

What is your greatest adventure? 
Being a mother and grandmother.

Tell me about a favorite event of your childhood. 
Visiting the eye doctor for the first time and realizing that I had never seen clearly before – I had never seen leaves on trees!

What was your favorite childhood television program? 
Probably The Lone Ranger (see how old I am!) because of the beautiful white horse.

What was your favorite book as a child and why? 
I loved The Book of Live Dolls in which a girl’s dolls come alive.

1. It’s fun in the way a tongue-twister is fun.
2. It makes you think about things in a new way.
3. It is playful and warm.
4. It helps you imagine other people and what they are doing.
5. It helps you imagine other places.
6. It makes you scratch your head and say, “What?”
7. You may like the pictures.
8. You can make up your own verses after you read the book’s verses.
9. It feels good in your mouth to say the words.
10. If you read it to someone else you will laugh together.

Everybody's somewhere, where are you?
I'm right here, I'm somebody, too.
Some are in the country, some are in the town.
Everybody's somewhere, up or down.

Everybody—moms, dads, grandpas, grandmas, friends, and people you've never met—is somewhere in the world, doing something right now, even if you can't see them.

In playful, bouncy rhymes, Everybody’s Somewhere asks children to expand their perspective. Award-winning author Cornelia Maude Spelman invites children to imagine other people in other places doing different things, to be delighted by new ideas, and to be reassured that everyone is important and sharing the same world.


"an altogether comforting package." 
Kirkus Reviews

You can purchase Everybody's Somewhere at the following Retailers:

And now, The Giveaways.
Thank you QUARTO for making this giveaway possible.
1 Winner will receive a Copy of Everybody's Somewhere by Cornelia Maude Spelman.


  1. "What favorite food puts you in a great mood?" Fried shrimp! And firm, very fresh camembert!

  2. The favorite food of mine that puts me in a good mood is dark chocolate.

  3. Pizzapiza always puts me in a good mood.