Coral Celeste Frazer
Coral Celeste Frazer has an M.A. in sociology from Princeton University and a long-standing interest in issues of inequality, collective action, and social justice. She writes nonfiction and fiction for teens and adults, as well as reading comprehension items for the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL). She has lived in Colorado, Oregon, New Jersey, and Boston, and now resides in Norwich, England, with her husband and son.
What was your favorite book when you were a child?
I read extremely widely and loved many books as a child. A few of my favorites were The Blue Sword by Robin McKinley, The Witch of Blackbird Pond by Elizabeth George Speare, Island of the Blue Dolphins by Scott O’Dell, and The Blue Castle by L. M. Montgomery. (Hmm, there seems to be a blue theme here.)
What’s your favorite line from a book?
“Do I contradict myself? Very well then I contradict myself, (I am large, I contain multitudes.)”—Walt Whitman, “Song of Myself”
Who are your top three favorite authors or illustrators?
Again, it’s so hard to pick just three. I particularly admire Margaret Atwood, Phillip Pullman, and Sarah Waters for their ability to construct really smart, gripping, surprising stories that make you think and make you feel.
Why did you want to become an author or illustrator?
I have always loved books so much that it has been my greatest aspiration to create them.
The best thing about writing nonfiction is that first of all you get to do a lot of reading. I love learning about a subject in depth, taking all that information in, filtering out what’s most important, and then turning that into a compelling narrative or argument. That is really fun and satisfying.
Do you have any advice for future authors or illustrators?
First and foremost, cultivate the qualities of patience, persistence, self-discipline, and resilience. You’re going to need a lot of those.
Secondly, find a good critique group. You don’t know whether or not you’re communicating what you mean to communicate until you show your writing to someone else. Learn to give good feedback and to make good use of the feedback you receive. Both take practice, and both will make you a better writer. Plus, just having a group of fellow-writers to commiserate with and to cheer you on is invaluable.