Scumble & Savvy by Ingrid Law

Author Ingrid Law About Ingrid Law

2009 Newbery Honor winner INGRID LAW is the New York Times Bestselling author of Savvy and its new companion novel, Scumble. Ingrid is a fan of words and stories, small towns and big ideas. Born in New York, Ingrid's family moved to Colorado when she was six years old. Ingrid still lives in the West, but now has a teenage daughter and an imaginary pet cat, and is trying her hardest to keep at least one plant alive as she works on new stories and adventures.

Q&A With Ingrid Law

1. What inspired you to write Savvy?

When I started Savvy, I wanted to create a different kind of magic—one that called to mind the feel of a modern American tall-tale. I wanted to break away from the traditional tales about magic and find roots in the soil around me. What would magic look like if it sprang up in the small towns of America? And what in the world would it be called if I didn't want to call that distinctive know-how magic? I enjoyed setting Savvy in our ordinary, everyday world, and filling it with larger-than-life characters who have very normal, human reactions and fears.

2. Do you have a distinctive talent, trait or "savvy" of your own?

With a savvy, there is always the element of the ideal versus the reality-what you dream about versus what you get. If I could pick, my savvy would probably be the ability to fly or to breathe underwater. But if I were to declare what my real, true, everyday savvy is, I think that I would have to say that I smile a lot, even through rough times. And I tend to spill things-usually on my shirt at dinner parties!

3. What was your family like growing up?

Growing up, my family consisted of a mom, a dad, an older sister, a few (dozen) rabbits, numerous hamsters, gerbils, several birds, and a goldfish that lived about twelve centuries in goldfish years. I didn't have a big family like the Beaumonts, but we did have our own share of unusual attributes, and my sister and I were always encouraged to follow our hearts and explore our talents.

4. Are any of your characters based on you or your family?

I think it might be impossible not to put a tiny bit of oneself into at least a few characters. Like Samson, I prefer solitude. Like Lester, I tend to twitch. Like Lill, I often feel big and small at the same time. And like Mibs, I still struggle to weed out other people's voices from my head.

5. Savvy is your first novel. What would you be doing if you weren't writing?

I'd be worrying more! I think that anxiety is simply an active imagination put to the wrong use. I try to redirect all of the 'What-If's' of worrying into the 'What-If's' of storytelling.

6. Where do you write?

I have an overstuffed chair that's big enough for me to sit in cross-legged and pull a laptop table up to when I write. It's like a nest. It's my favorite place in the house.

7. What's on your playlist right now?

I have very eclectic taste in music and enjoy switching from silly to intense to mellow to upbeat without warning. Here are some favorites, as well as some songs that I associate with Savvy and Scumble in one way or another:


  • Voices by Penelope Houston
    A wonderful librarian gave me this song right after Savvy came out. She made her own Savvy playlist and this was on it.
  • Ievan Polkka (Ieva's Polka)
    Folk polka from Finland, what could get any better? Seriously. Grandma Dollop would have put this one in a jar for sure. She loved polka.
  • The Only Promise That Remains by Reba McEntire & Justin Timberlake
    Co-written by a friend of mine, this is a beautiful song that I think fits really well with Savvy.
  • Samson by Regina Spektor
    Okay, I admit it. I simply loved this song when I was first writing Savvy and because of that I decided that I wanted to name a character Samson. Other than the sweetness of it, the song doesn't have anything to do with the character of Samson in the book, but it is the reason I named him what I did.
  • Electric by Tristan Prettyman
    Rocket is in both books, so this works for both my Savvy and Scumble playlists.
  • Torn Asunder by Far Too Jones
    I listened to this one a lot while writing Scumble. Poor Ledge. He pulls everything apart. But an even better song for Ledge is:
  • Falls Apart by Thousand Foot Krutch
    What can I say? How can I not like this song when it's so perfect for my new main character.
  • Trumpet Air from the Indian Queen, composed Henry Purcell, performed by English Chamber Orchestra with Wynton Marsalis
    In case you might wonder while reading Scumble, this is the piece of music that I imagine is captured inside the infamous Peter Pan Peanut Butter jar.

8. What do you like best about writing for a teenage audience?

The transition between childhood and adulthood can feel huge and exciting and scary and painful and lonely and embarrassing and thrilling and big and loud and crowded and unpredictable and fun. Tweens and teens are knee-deep in the drama of life, and have the potential to be the greatest heroes in their own stories every day.

9. Greatest inspiration?

My greatest inspiration is my daughter, who turned thirteen two days before Savvy was released, and so often accuses me of being four.

10. Words to live by?

"Things turn out best for people who make the best of the way things turn out." —John Wooden