This weekend I realized that my friend Donna Earnhardt tapped me, as well! Thanks, Donna! Please stop by Donna's blog at WordWranglerNC and be sure to check out her fun, funny picture book, BEING FRANK!
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This was a lot of fun! Here are the questions and my answers:
1. What are you working on right now?
I have several “balls in the air” right now. I am currently drafting the third book in my chapter book series. It is so much fun to get to spend time with my characters again! I am also knee deep in revisions—again—for the first book in the series. (No matter how much you’ve revised, you can *always* make your manuscript better!) I also have several picture books that I am working on, as well as a middle grade novel that is coming along very slowly.
2. How does your chapter book series differ from other works in its genre?
The chapter book series I am working on focuses on an imaginative, spunky fourth grade girl named Glory who just happens to have an identical twin sister who is her total and complete opposite. The books and characters are fun and entertaining, but they also have a subtle educational twist that will fit nicely into the elementary curriculum (book #2 in the series focuses on different types of poetry, for example). I have also created a cast of characters that will appeal to both girls and boys. Writing about these kids is SO much fun!
3. Why do you write what you do?
I have always wanted to be a children’s writer. Seriously, ALWAYS. Even in college, when I kept going back and forth between potential career choices, I always said, “but I will write books for kids, too!” Finally, during my early years of teaching third grade, I began to write seriously. A teacher friend and I started meeting every so often before school, and then I was able to really focus during the summers. When I became pregnant with twins and we moved from Florida to Texas, my writing went on vacation for awhile. After a year or two, though, I started writing again during naps and at night, and I haven’t stopped since.
I write what I do because I can’t NOT write for kids! Teaching, having children, and spending lots of time volunteering in schools has provided endless inspiration, and if I didn’t write, I think my brain would simply pop!
4. How does your writing process work?
I set aside time each week for writing, and then I sit down and work on whatever is at the top of my to-do list for that week. It may not be the same exact time each week, but I do find time to write almost every day. This week my focus will be on revisions for book #3 and a specific picture book. My monthly in-person critique group meets this Friday morning, and I hope to have the picture book in good enough shape to take to our meeting.
My “big picture” writing process is a little more complicated. At any given time I have several projects going on, including some new magazine work I am delving into and my twice-weekly blog posts. I try very hard to strike a balance between the time I spend writing for my blog and the time I spend on writing and revising books, stories, etc. For “big picture” stuff I set goals and then work toward achieving those goals (for example, I aim to have revisions complete on the chapter book by Thanksgiving). Once a project is complete, I let it sit for several weeks and then revisit it and make any changes. Then I let my online critique group read it and make suggestions. This whole process may be repeated several times—as long as it takes for the manuscript to be as good as I can get it. Write, edit, repeat.
5. Any departing words of wisdom for other writers?
Understand that no writer’s path is EVER the same as someone else’s. I know of authors who signed with an agent or editor on their first round of submissions, and I also know of authors whose first books weren’t published until they’d been writing for several decades. It can be disheartening to try and try and try with little success (trust me, I know!), but with perseverance and patience and a supportive writing community you WILL get through the rough spots!
Also, every serious writer should have a critique group or partner to run his or her work by. I know not everyone believes this, but it is so helpful to have a second (or third, fourth, or fifth) set of eyes review your writing for grammar, content, and structure. No matter how much we’ve perfected our work on our own, it can always be better! ☺
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Please visit the following fabulous children’s authors who have agreed to continue our blog tour next Monday, October 14:
Carol Baldwin at http://carolbaldwinblog.blogspot.com/