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WHERE DO YOU GET YOUR IDEAS?
Everywhere! I carry a notebook with me, so when I have an idea, I can jot it down right away before I forget.
I’ve learned one of the most important things to do if you want to be a writer is to go outside, try new things, talk to people, especially people whose lives are different from yours. And don’t pass up opportunities.
DID YOU ALWAYS WANT TO BE A WRITER?
I’ve loved writing since I was old enough to hold a pencil, and I’ve always searched out writing opportunities: from creative writing classes, to taking the initiative to pitch – and get – my own newspaper column and articles published in various magazines, to blogging, and now writing children’s picture books.
HOW LONG DOES IT TAKE YOU TO WRITE A PICTURE BOOK?
It depends on the story. I might write a first draft in only a few hours (or days) but the rounds of revisions can take months until I’m satisfied with the story. Then it goes to my critique partners and/or beta readers for feedback and often, more revisions.
WHERE DO YOU WRITE YOUR BOOKS?
When I am writing seriously, I am most comfortable sitting at my desk with classical music playing in the background. However, I might be anywhere when inspiration strikes and have been known to stop whatever I’m doing and make extensive notes, even in my car or in the middle of the night!
DO YOU EVER GET WRITERS’ BLOCK?
Definately. When I’m writing a new book, I sometimes get stuck and feel like I don’t know what should happen next. Time always helps, and if I set the story aside for a few days, a solution usually comes to me.
HOW COME YOU WRITE BOOKS FOR KIDS INSTEAD OF FOR ADULTS?
I have always written for kids, even when I was still a child myself. There is something really special about a story that evokes a sense of wonder, curiosity, or imagination.
ARE ANY OF THE CHARACTERS IN YOUR BOOKS BASED ON REAL PEOPLE?
I’m just starting to explore the idea of writing non-fiction stories, or fiction based on real people or real events. Stay tuned for what transpires!
DO YOU DRAW THE PICTURES IN YOUR BOOKS AND ON THE COVERS?
I wish! I was fairly artistic as a child, but haven’t drawn in years. I’d love to illustrate my own picture books, but for now, I carefully select illustrators who will best bring my stories to life.
WHAT WERE SOME OF YOUR FAVORITE BOOKS WHEN YOU WERE A KID?
Growing up, I loved The Chronicles of Narnia, A Little Princess, Secret Garden, Heidi, Alice in Wonderland, and just about any other book I could get my hands on, including my sister’s Nancy Drew mysteries and my brother’s Hardy Boys mysteries.
DO YOU HAVE KIDS?
Yes – I have two sons.
DO THEY READ YOUR BOOKS?
Absolutely! In fact, my younger son was the impetus for publishing my children’s picture books. As a parent, I delighted in sharing my love of the magical world of books by reading aloud to my two boys. Many nights, my younger son would place his tiny hand on mine while looking up with big, brown hope-filled eyes, (most likely as a stalling tactic) and plead for “one more story” – how could any parent refuse? So in the moment, I began making up stories. Several of my picture books started out as these bedtime stories and they remain beloved family favorites.
DO YOU HAVE ANY PETS?
I have a border terrier mix named Coco Chanel (named after my favorite fashion designer).
WHAT’S YOUR FAVORITE COLOR?
Red. And just about any shade of green.
WHAT’S YOUR FAVORITE BOOK THAT YOU’VE WRITTEN?
Asking an author that question is kind of like asking a parent to choose a favorite child, but I do have an answer…kind of. The book I’m working on right now is always the one that has my passion and attention, so whenever you ask that question, my current project will likely be my favorite. I really love them all though, each one has a special place in my heart.
HOW DO YOU GET A BOOK PUBLISHED?
I chose to publish independently; retaining control of my stories is important to me, so I formed my own publishing company.
If you’re a kid who likes to write, I suggest reading a ton. You can learn so much from reading the work of authors whose styles you admire. And spend time writing everyday!
As far as publishing, start with short stories, targeting a publication that’s especially interested in student work. Here are two websites to get you started:
Happy writing — and reading!