April Sinclair's debut novel, Coffee Will Make You Black, was named Book of the Year (Young Adult Fiction) by the American Library Association, received the Carl Sandburg Award and established Sinclair as a YA legend—and one of the first author-activists to amplify the voices of contemporary urban teens. Accordingly, Sinclair was recently voted #43 Favorite Author of the 20th Century. She is the final judge of the 2018-19 COG Page to Screen Awards.
1. As a kid, what did you want to be when you grew up?
I wanted to be a teacher, writer and actress when I grew up.
2. How did you become you instead?
Trial and error. :) I’m still a work in progress.
3. Fave lesser-known hero (personal or fictional)?
As a child, teenager and young adult I idolized my maternal grandmother. She was born and raised in Alabama and a compelling storyteller.
4. What’s the most enjoyable aspect of your work; the least?
The satisfaction of having my creative expression touch and inspire others is the most enjoyable aspect of my work. The least enjoyable aspect is feeling pressure to exceed publishing industry expectations in terms of book sales.
5. If you were a hybrid, what would your two halves be?
6. Describe a teacher, student or colleague you hated (or hate, you big meanie); why?
I used to act in community theater. I had a good reputation as an actress and I got a part in a local theater production. But, the director wanted someone else despite the head of the theater company choosing me and going over her head. The hostility directed at me by the director caused me to be uncomfortable and I ended up tripping on the stage and going to the hospital. I got out of the play and never had to see that meanie again!
7. In desktop publishing, a character tag is embedded code defining the style of a word or phrase. But in the literary lexicon, “character tags” refer to fictional characters’ habits, catch phrases or other distinguishing marks: Yoda’s syntax. Hello Kitty’s bow. Clint Eastwood’s rugged squint. What’s your character tag?
8. What’s the last thing that made you laugh, cry or cuss?
My mother told me that she was going to stop my aunt from bringing food with white sticks in it to her house. I figured out that my mother can’t stand penne pasta. Her description of it made me laugh.
9. Describe your ideal road trip.
The old Route 66 route.
10. What problem, large or small, are you hell-bent on solving?
Getting and staying out of debt!