Society of
Children's Book Writers
and Illustrators

Member Interview: Author Philip Hoelzel

As a new year begins, we welcome Philip Hoelzel, to our Member Interview Series. He is author of the upcoming PLANTING HOPE: A PORTRAIT OF PHOTOGRAPHER SEBASTIAO SALGADO. While the printing has been pushed, we look forward to this SCBWI member’s debut. Here is more on Philip from The Writing Barn.

Where did you grow up, and how did that place (or those places) shape your work?

I grew up in the Chicagoland area. My county was fairly rural allowing me to go for long bike rides on farm roads and to work on habitat recovery for my county conservation district. These places fed my love for the outdoors which is what attracted me to the subject of my upcoming book titled Planting Hope: A Portrait of Photographer Sebastião Salgado. He and his wife Lélia’s efforts to reforest his boyhood farm/home in Brazil grabbed my attention.

Did you always want to be an author, or did that come later?

I decided to be an author after a story came to me as an adult and I felt the need to write it down.

If someone were to follow you around for 24 hours, what would they see?

Nothing consistent other than when I sleep.

How does your everyday life feed your work?

My everyday life is filled with variety. It feeds my natural curiosity and provides me with ideas to write about.

Tell us about some accomplishments that make you proud.

Having a good relationship with my family and using my ability as a writer to call attention to good, important and interesting things happening in the world.

What surprises you about the creative life?

There is no predicting its ebb and flow.

When a reader discovers your work, what do you hope they find?

I hope the reader finds something that inspires them and they think it is good enough to share.

Quick-Fire Questions:

Favorite outdoor spot to watch a sunset?

In the Austin area, the sunset deck at Balcones Canyonlands National Wildlife Refuge off of 1431 near Lago Vista.

Would you rather be the baseball or the bat?

The ball.

You play Brazilian percussion instruments. If you wrote a children’s book about that, what would the title be?