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Studio Feature: Andrew Clements

May 20, 2013

Andrew Clements on The StudioWriter Andrew Clements seems to know a lot about what middle school kids feel. In the book Troublemaker, Clayton Hensley is mischievous but not quite the rule breaker he’s made out to be. To Jordan Johnston in About Average, everyone else in school seems extraordinary, except her. Nick Allen fights his bad boy image in Frindle by coming up with a funny word that makes him a local hero.

Perhaps it helped that, before he became a full-time writer, Andrew taught English at public school for seven years. “I loved having a yearlong relationship with bright, funny kids,” he says, “and also getting to read good books and think about big ideas together.”

Andrew credits his boyhood summers at a remote cabin in Maine for helping to shape his writing. “There was no TV, no phone, no doorbell, and no email,” he recalls. “I know those quiet summers helped me begin to think like a writer.” During his senior year in high school, Andrew got his first burst of encouragement. An English teacher handed back his poem and on top, it said, “Andrew, this poem is so funny. This should be published!” Andrew packed up that praise and went to college “feeling like I was a pretty good writer.”

These days, Andrew spends his days writing in a small shed at his Massachusetts home. “There’s a desk and chair,” he says, “but no TV, no phone, no doorbell, no email.” Just like that cabin in Maine where he spent his earliest summers!

For more about Andrew, his books, and writing, go to The Studio.