Having recently returned to the US after living six years in China, Larissa Theule resides in Pasadena, CA, with her family and dog. Once a barista, a billing assistant, and a high school teacher, she now devotes her time to writing stories and growing a rambling garden, where no fairies have been sighted—at least not yet. Fat & Bones is her first book.
What was your favorite book when you were a child?
When I was a kid I read and reread The Chronicles of Narnia. I read everything by Madeleine L’Engle, everything by Katherine Paterson, especially loving Bridge to Terabithia. But perhaps the book I loved the most, the story that broke my heart and pieced it together again to be stronger, was Natalie Babbit’s Tuck Everlasting. Oh, and Snow Treasure by Marie McSwigan. Also, Andrew Henry’s Meadow by Doris Burn… I can’t narrow it down to just one!
What’s your favorite line from a book?
I have two favorites, starkly different in tone:
From the incomparable Pride and Prejudice, the cheeky opening, “It is a truth universally acknowledged, that a single man in possession of a good fortune, must be in want of a wife.”
And the haunting passage from Alan Paton’s masterpiece Cry, the Beloved Country, “Cry, the beloved country, for the unborn child that’s the inheritor of our fear. Let him not love the earth too deeply. Let him not laugh too gladly when the water runs through his fingers, nor stand too silent when the setting sun makes red the veld with fire. For fear will rob him of all if he gives too much.”
Who are your top three favorite authors or illustrators?
So many favorites… Madeleine L’Engle (especially her nonfiction), Annie Dillard, Jane Austen, David Small and Sarah Stewart, poet Marina Tsvetaeva, Shawn K. Stout, C. S. Lewis, Margaret Atwood, Richard Peck, Varian Johnson, Ernest Hemingway, and many more.
Why did you want to become an author or illustrator?
Circumstance gave me the opportunity to write. I found myself living in Shanghai, China, without a single productive thing to do, so from abroad I went back to school to study writing, something I thought I’d enjoy because stories and books shape much of who I am. While at Vermont College of Fine Arts, I learned the discipline of the art and the value of being a member of a warm and brave community of writers. I think I’ve always wanted to be an author, partly because I’m not sure I’m suited to any other line of work, but mostly because I’m utterly convinced in the power of books to change the world and I want to be a part of the storytelling.
Do you have any advice for future authors or illustrators?
Don’t hurry yourself. Don’t compare your style and success to someone else’s. Write the story your heart burns to tell even if (especially if) it is strange.