Joshua S. Levy

Joshua S. Levy was born and raised in Florida. After teaching middle school (yes, including seventh and eighth grade) for a little while, Josh went to law school. He lives with his wife and children in New Jersey, where he practices as a lawyer. Unfortunately, outer space doesn’t come up in court nearly as often as he’d like.

Interview

What was your favorite book when you were a child?

Somewhere between Ellen Raskin’s The Westing Game and Timothy Zahn’s (now #notcanon!) Star Wars novel, Heir to the Empire (even if it wasn’t technically for kids).

What’s your favorite line from a book?

Wow! Tough question. This will tell you something about me: Most of the time, my favorite line from a book is my favorite line from whatever book I read last. But if I HAD TO choose…probably this, from N. K. Jemisin’s The Stone Sky: “I think,” Hoa says slowly, “that if you love someone, you don’t get to choose how they love you back.”

Who are your top three favorite authors or illustrators?

For grown-ups? Probably N. K. Jemisin (obviously), and maybe also Neil Gaiman and Douglas Adams. (Can you see how I wrote books like Seventh Grade vs. the Galaxy and Eighth Grade vs. the Machines?)

And for kids? I’m going to have to say Rick Riordan, Louis Sachar, and (I’m going to cheat again) a BUNCH of fantastic middle grade authors currently publishing AMAZING work, including Chris Baron, Cory Leonardo, Gillian McDunn, J. Kasper Kramer, Naomi Milliner, Nicole Pantaleakos, Rajani LaRocca, and Nicole Melleby (among SO MANY others).

I know, I know. I “wished for more wishes.” But you didn’t specify “Genie rules!”

Why did you want to become an author or illustrator?

Books and stories—from the serious to the silly—have always been extremely important to me (as they are to most of us, I imagine). And I’ve always wanted to contribute, even a bit, to the universe (or galaxy, as it were) of what’s out there. I taught middle school for a little while and at one point thought: “Okay, what would I have loved to read when I was sitting at those desks.” And took it from there.

Do you have any advice for future authors or illustrators?

Read and write and read and write. Be a part of the extraordinary writing communities that are out there (even you feel like something of a pretender). Appreciate the subjectivity of what you’re setting out to do. And read and write.