About An Na:
An Na is a South Korea-born American children's book author. Starting her career as a middle school English and History teacher, Na turned to writing novels after taking a young adult literature class while enrolled in an M.F.A. program at Vermont College of Fine Arts. She gained success with her very first novel A Step From Heaven, published by Front Street Press in 2001, which won the annual Michael L. Printz Award from the American Library Association recognizing the year's "best book written for teens, based entirely on its literary merit". It was also a finalist for the National Book Award, Young People's Literature, and later found its way onto numerous "best book" lists. Na still makes frequent visits to middle schools to talk about her works and encourages young Asian-American students to become artists and harness their creativity. She cites Frank McCourt's Angela's Ashes and Sandra Cisneros's The House on Mango Street among the influences on her writing and also admires the work of Madeleine L'Engle and of her first writing teacher, Jacqueline Woodson. She divides her time between Oakland, California and Warren, Vermont.
I had been struggling with how to create a child-like protagonist's voice without making it sound as though I was 'dumbing down' to the character. They are able to see events, people and places with an intensity and open mindedness that adults lack.An Na