Treasure Chest
Meet Will Hobbs
  Will in office
We were an Air Force family so I grew up all over the map. We lived in Pennsylvania, Panama, Virginia, Alaska, northern California, southern California, and Texas. I have three brothers and a sister—I'm the middle one. During the years we were living in Alaska I fell in love with mountains, rivers, fishing, baseball, and books. Books I read on my own were the best part of school for me. I was always going on adventures in my imagination.

Halfway through my fifth grade year we moved from Alaska to California, where I roamed the hills behind our house almost every day after school. In the summers I went backpacking in the Sierras. It was hard work and sheer joy, and has been a big part of my life ever since. After graduating from Stanford University I moved to southwestern Colorado, where my wife Jean and I have lived for many years. We do lots of hiking in the nearby San Juan Mountains, and spend as much time as we can running rivers in our whitewater raft. You won't be surprised to learn that I was a reading teacher for many years before I became a full-time writer.

Readers often ask me, “What made you want to write in the first place?” That's easy for me to answer: it was because I loved reading. If you like reading stories, you too might start thinking, I want to try that. I want to write a story!

About half of my ideas for stories come from my own life experiences, and the other half come from reading, as I learn more about whatever has sparked my interest. Learning to write well takes practice and dedication, just like learning to play a musical instrument or a sport. It takes patience too, because revision is a big part of it. My biggest breakthrough was learning to write with the five senses. In the world of the story, both writer and reader are imagining what it's like to be someone else, so you want to let the reader hear, see, taste, touch, and smell what your characters are experiencing.

When I'm starting a new story, it takes a lot of faith. I'm like a woodcarver staring at a block of wood. It helps me to remember how, in the story of Pinocchio, that block of wood turned into a real boy. If you just keep working, you'll reach a point when the story starts coming to life. That's what a writer lives for! From that point on, you're hearing conversations in your head, you're seeing things happen, and you're just writing it all down.

My first hope for my novels is that they tell a good story, that the reader will keep turning the pages and will hate to see the story end. Beyond that, I hope to be inspiring a love for the natural world. I'd like my readers to appreciate and to care more about what's happening to wild creatures, wild places, and the diversity of life.

Be sure to visit Will's Books. For each book there's a place where you can click to see pictures and hear how I came up with the ideas for each of my stories.


WILL HOBBS is the author of twenty novels for upper elementary, middle school and young adult readers, as well as two picture book stories. Seven of his novels, Bearstone, Downriver, The Big Wander, Beardance, Far North, The Maze, and Jason's Gold, were named Best Books for Young Adults by the American Library Association. ALA also named Far North and Downriver to their list of the 100 Best Young Adult Books of the Twentieth Century. Ghost Canoe received the Edgar Allan Poe Award in l998 for Best Young Adult Mystery.

In outdoor stories that appeal to both boys and girls, Hobbs has readers discovering wild places, sharing adventures with people from varied backgrounds, and exploring how to make important choices in their own lives. A graduate of Stanford University and former reading and language arts teacher, Will has been a full-time writer since l990. He lives with his wife, Jean, in Durango, Colorado.

Will's books have won many other awards, including the California Young Reader Medal, the Western Writers of America Spur Award, the Mountains and Plains Booksellers Award, the Colorado Book Award, the Southwest Book Award, the Heartland Award, and nominations to state award lists in over thirty states.

NOVELS: Changes in Latitudes (1988), Bearstone (l989), Downriver (l991), The Big Wander (l992), Beardance (l993), Kokopelli's Flute (l995), Far North (l996), Ghost Canoe (l997), River Thunder (l997), The Maze (l998), Jason's Gold (l999), Down the Yukon (2001), Wild Man Island (2002), Jackie's Wild Seattle (2003), Leaving Protection (2004), Crossing the Wire (2006), Go Big or Go Home (2008), Take Me to the River (2011), Never Say Die (2013), City of Gold (2020)

PICTURE BOOKS: Beardream (l997), Howling Hill (l998)

childhood photosWill Hobbs
Copyright Will Hobbs. All rights reserved. Privacy Policy. Site maintained by Winding Oak.
Materials on this website may be copied for classroom or library use but may not be used for commercial purposes without permission.