I honestly can’t figure out why I even know the lyrics to a song that came out in 1957. But ever since I agreed to be a part of the Children’s Author Blog Hop, my brain has been telling me to, “Do the dance sensation that’s sweepin’ the nation, at the hop!” I’m so happy to be sharing this all with you today, if only to get that song out of my head! So, Let’s Go To The Hop (oh baby), shall we?
I was asked to participate by the fabulous and prolific (just look at those publishing credits!) Jody Jensen Schaffer. Thanks Jody! After you read this, head on over to her website and check out her answers to the four blog hop questions.
Jody Jensen Schaffer
Jody is the author of 14 published and forthcoming books for children and numerous poems and magazine stories. She has written celebrity biographies and books about animals, science, and social studies. Her work has been published in Highlights High Five, Highlights Hello, Babybug, Humpty Dumpty, Turtle, Pack-o-Fun, Clubhouse Jr, COLUMBIAKids, and coming soon in Highlights. She is represented by Kathleen Rushall of Marsal Lyon Literary. You can visit Jody at http://jodyjensenshaffer.blogspot.com.
Thanks so much, Jody, for inviting me into the fun! Without further ado, here are MY answers to the questions:
WHAT ARE YOU WORKING ON RIGHT NOW?
I almost always have several picture book manuscripts going at once. I’ll pore over one for a couple of days, get sick of it, and move onto something else. And just when I think it’s done, I’ll look at it a few days later and decide to change some things, and in some cases, everything. Picture book writing is so precise, and I LOVE that about it. Here is a sampling of the characters from my works in progress…a flamenco-loving termite, a boy trying to get away from his presidential name, a wallaby-obsessed child, and Dracula.
HOW DOES IT DIFFER FROM OTHER WORKS IN THE GENRE?
One of the things I love about picture books is their universality. There needs to be something about a picture book story that evokes feeling and connects children to the world around them. So in that sense, I would say that my stories don’t differ from other works in the genre. But my hope is that they would rise to the top, and offer an element of surprise and re-readability that will woo an editor and ultimately, lots and lots of readers.
WHY DO YOU WRITE WHAT YOU DO?
As a child, I loved being able to lose myself in the worlds I found in my books. It didn’t matter that Frances was a badger…I saw myself in her as she turned her nose up at a boiled egg and sang little songs to make herself feel better. And as I grew up, I resonated with characters like Ramona, Claudia Kincaid, and Antonia Shimerda. I feel truly blessed to be a part of the children’s literature world, and hope to be able to continue to make my contribution.
WHAT IS THE HARDEST PART ABOUT WRITING?
For me, it is finding a unique concept to pursue, and then allowing myself to write a really terrible first draft. Letting those initial unrefined words out (and on paper! where someone might see!) is difficult for my inner perfectionist.
Okay, enough about me! I would now like to introduce you to three more amazing writers in the kidlit world:
Bethany is a wife, and a mother of two young, crazy boys. She is fortunate enough to stay home with her kiddos, while her husband works tirelessly at a job she can’t talk about. Her family is the most important thing to her, and they are where she draws inspiration from.
Bethany graduated from the Institute of Children’s Literature, and is a SCBWI member. She is the author of WAITING FOR JAMES IN A SEA OF PINK, which is available through MeeGenius. Bethany is represented by Danielle Smith of Foreward Literary. You can visit Bethany online at bethanytelles.com
Dorina Lazo Gilmore
Dorina Lazo Gilmore grew up in the kitchen with her mama, aunties and grandmas. Her family is a mix of Filipino, Chinese, Spanish, Portuguese and Italian culture. Dorina loves to create healthy recipes and share stories in the kitchen.
Dorina has a B.A. in English and Journalism and an M.F.A. degree in Children’s Literature at Hollins University. Dorina’s most recent picture book is Cora Cooks Pancit (Shen’s Books) about a Filipino girl learning to cook her family’s favorite noodle dish and tasting some family history while she’s at it. The book was awarded the Asian Pacific American Librarian Association’s “Picture Book of the Year” in 2009 and listed as a top pick by the Cooperative Children’s Book Center in 2010. Dorina is also the author of two other children’s books, Children of the San Joaquin Valley and Stone Soup: A Hmong Girl’s Journey to the United States. Her poetry has appeared in magazines, like Cricket for young readers.
Dorina and her husband help direct a non-profit organization helping impoverished families in the Northern mountains of Haiti. They split their time between California and Haiti. Dorina is the Director of The Haitian Bead Project, which offers jobs to Haitian women who make jewelry from recycled cardboard. Dorina has three active daughters who love to travel with their parents and cook up stories of their own. You can find Dorina online at dorinagilmore.com
Marcy lives in the Black Forest of Germany with her husband and their four children. She has written for Bridge to the Nations Magazine, the Syrinx, the Acorn, and also writes freelance. Her first published children’s book is SOMEONE TO BELIEVE IN: ANCIENT HEBREW AND CHRISTIAN RELIGIONS published with SNAP Learning. Her second book with SNAP Learning is due out next year. Her hope is that her writing will be an encouragement to others going through difficult (and mundane) life situations, whether written directly for adults or through picture-books for children. She is an active member of SCBWI. You can find her at www.marcypusey.wordpress.com, @marcypusey, and at facebook.com/marcypusey