Meet the author: Lisa Wheeler

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Tell me a little about yourself: When you were my age, did you like to read? Yes! My town did not have a public library. We did have a library class at school and twice a week I got to check out books.

What was your favorite story? Humbug Witch by Lorna Balian. It is back in print, I think. I loved that it had a surprise ending.

How do you get your ideas? My ideas come from everything around me. I am a “kinesthetic” learner. That means my mind works better when i am in motion. When I am taking a walk, driving a car, cutting grass on the riding mower or even swimming laps in a pool, ideas seem to come into my brain. Sometimes, those ideas come from something that is happening in my real life. For instance, I have been having trouble sleeping. I have written two books about sleep that will be coming out in 2017: Even Monsters Need to Sleep and also, Babies Can Sleep Anywhere. Both books fell into my brain while tossing and turning in the middle of the night.

Is it hard to write a book? Sometimes. It is hard when I have no ideas. It is hard when my characters do not want to do what I want them to do. It is hard when an editor asks for a revision that might not make sense to me. But even though it is hard, I love it! Best job for me!!

Do you have a favorite among the books you have written/illustrated? I always say that my books are like my kids and if I pick a favorite they will fight. But like my kids, each of my books is good at doing different things. So if you asked which books are my funniest, I might say Turk and Runt or Uncles and Antlers. If you asked which ones did I have the most passion for it would be Mammoths on the Move, Seadogs and Spinster Goose. If you asked which I liked to read aloud the answer would be, Bubble Gum Bubble Gum, Sixteen Cows, Jazz Baby and the Dino-Sport series. So every book is a favorite and every book is good at doing a different job.

What author do you really like right now? Phyllis Root will always be a favorite. But I also enjoy so many different authors–Amy Dyckman, Kelly DiPucchio, and Carolyn Crimi are a few of my favorite picture book authors.

What advice do you have for a kid who wants to be an author? Easy peasy–Read! Read everything. Read often. Fill your brain with words and story. That is the best way to learn to be a good writer. Then, write. Keep writing. practice, practice, practice.

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