Blue Balliett: Clean Socks and Blue Jeans

Blue Balliett

Blue Balliett writes in the laundry room. Scholastic hide caption

itoggle caption Scholastic

Blue Balliett is the author of two novels for children. Her latest, The Wright 3, is a detective story that takes place in a house designed by Frank Lloyd Wright. Balliett graduated from Brown University with a degree in art history. She lives with her family and cats in Chicago.

How She Writes: "I write as soon as I'm awake, and I work in the laundry room in our house. During the five years it took me to finish Chasing Vermeer, I worked with a laptop on an extra bed that was always covered with a mountain of clean socks and blue jeans. Now I have a table, and am surrounded by mountains of paper and the occasional runaway dish towel or t-shirt. Such is life; I like the thought that this isn't a likely place to write or think."

Writer's Block Regimen: "I'm lucky, because I always have more ideas than I have places to put them. But the business of sifting and then capturing on paper is sometimes elusive –- and it's difficult not to wonder how your work will be judged. The thought that I'm writing for children helps me tremendously. When I get stuck I just ask myself, 'What do kids see? What are they capable of? What am I saying to them? And what do adults know, anyway?' Usually, that gets me back on track."

A Favorite Sentence: "That's a hard one, because I don't ever look at my writing in those terms, but I do know when I have a sentence the way I want it. Here's one that feels right to me:

'Petra loved the stories filed neatly into the flow of train windows –- she had seen arguments in profile, mouths open with laughter or horror, noses squashed against glass.'

This sentence is filled with 'oh' sounds, and this fits what it is saying. I like sentences that have a predominant sound or feel that supports the meaning."

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Books Featured In This Story

The Wright 3

by Blue Balliett and Brett Helquist

Hardcover, 318 pages | purchase

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Title
The Wright 3
Author
Blue Balliett and Brett Helquist

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Chasing Vermeer

by Blue Balliett and Brett Helquist

Paperback, 254 pages | purchase

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Title
Chasing Vermeer
Author
Blue Balliett and Brett Helquist

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