Topic: Author Interview
Where did you get the inspiration for Angeline Jellybean?
I don't even remember how I came up with the story. I was taking a picture book writing class back in 2007. Our assignment was to write a picture book under 500 words, and that's what I did. I wrote it in rhyme because I wanted to see if I could write a rhyming picture book. I didn't even really expect to like it. That's how Angeline was born. A few rounds of revisions and a submission later, here it is!
Is Angeline anything like you?
Oh yes. *laughs* Angeline loves jellybeans almost as much as I love chocolate. Of course, I have learned to limit my chocolate intake, and I didn't have to go through the nasty side effects that Angeline did! Angeline is also very strong-willed and has a bit of a temper, which reminds me of a certain little redheaded girl I once knew.
When did you start writing?
I've been writing as long as I can remember. I used to write short stories way back in first grade. I've been reading even longer, since before I started school, so I only felt it was natural for me to write. I wrote poetry for many years. It wasn't until I went to grad school to get my MFA in Creative Writing that I discovered writing for children. That was in 2006. I ended up with a dual emphasis in poetry and writing for children and adolescents. I am amazed at how far I have come along with my writing since then.
How do you get the ideas for your picture books?
Well, I live and experience life, first of all. I get most of my ideas from things I've seen, experienced or heard. I also try to interact with children. I spent a year as a volunteer reading to children in daycares across Pittsburgh. In that year, I learned more about what children like than I had learned in my entire life. I also love to read children's books. I'm always asking myself if I can write something better than or different than the kinds of books that are out there. I'm not interested in writing books that copy a current trend, unless I can put my own spin on that trend.
Do you experiment with other genres as well?
Yes, I do. I started out writing poetry. I have also experimented with flash fiction. But nothing makes me happier than writing for children. I'm really a big kid at heart, and I write the kinds of books I would have liked to read when I was younger. I have also recently completed a young adult novel in verse, and I'm very excited to break into the YA market was well
Update: I spent hours yesterday working with Wordpress, but couldn't get it to do all I want. I'm heading over to Blogger now and see how I can work with that. Please watch here for updates. Thanks for your patience, everyone!