Posted in Meet the authors

Jess Keating

• Author website/social media:

-Web: www.jesskeating.com

-Tweet: @Jess_Keating

-Instagram: jesskeatingbooks

Tell me a little about yourself:

I’m an author, zoologist, and illustrator! I love writing books about animals, science, strong and funny girls, and creativity. When I’m not writing or drawing, I’m usually outside! A few random facts for you: my favorite season is autumn, because of the cool breezes and smell of leaves in the air. If I had to pick one meal to have for the rest of my life, I’d pick burritos. I also love Disney movies, cheese (any kind), and dogs. (Seriously, dogs are the greatest.)

1. When you were my age, did you like to read?

When I was your age, I liked to read everything, but I especially loved funny stories, or stories that had animals in them. I also loved reading comics—Calvin and Hobbes was my favorite!

2. What was your favorite story?

It’s so hard to pick a favorite book! One of them would definitely be Judy Blume’s Tales of a Fourth Grade Nothing. I loved the humor, and could relate to all the craziness of having a brother! (Though my brothers are older than me!)

3. How do you get your ideas? 

Usually, my ideas happen when I combine several things I love into one big thought. I love mixing science and creativity, and especially when I can add humor! I got the idea for Pink is for Blobfish when I started realizing how many of the people my age still tell kids that pink “is for girls”. I knew it wasn’t true, and that pink was a color that anyone could enjoy. I decided to tell that story through lots of different animals. The easy part is getting ideas, the part that I always have to work on is making sure to write them down when I get them! I always think I will remember them, but it’s not true—you must write them down!

4. Your books are very science based. Do you have to do a lot of research for them?

I do! Every book I write involves research, even my novels (that are entirely made up!) For some books, I read research from many scientists. Sometimes I visit museums (virtual museums are wonderful!), and sometimes I speak to other scientists to get their opinions about what I’m working on. Research is one of the most important parts of my job, and it’s so important to get it right.

5. Did you get to see an actual blobfish when you wrote that book? What about sharks?

 

I have never seen a blobfish in real life! They live so deep underwater, I think I would need a submarine to do so! I have seen sharks, however, and they remain some of my favorite animals on earth. They are just so mysterious and powerful. I wish I knew what it was like to be a shark!

6. What author do you really like right now?

There are so many! Lately, I’ve really been loving Nicola Davies! She is a fellow zoologist and author (that doesn’t happen often!) so we are kindred spirits, for sure. Her book, “Song of the Wild” is absolutely beautiful—you should check it out!

7. Do you have any new or lesser known authors you would suggest?

I don’t know if she is lesser known, but I think that everyone should check out Carter Higgins’ books! She writes absolutely beautiful picture books and novels, and her work is like portable nostalgia. Everything You Need for a Treehouse is so stunning—I want to live inside of it!

8. What advice do you have for a kid who wants to be an author?

No matter what, keep writing. When you get discouraged (and you will!), keep writing. Keep a notebook for all your ideas, and don’t throw them away, even if you think they suck at the time. (That’s normal!) And most of all: follow every curious impulse you have, no matter how weird or strange it may seem. If you want to learn about something, do everything you can to learn about it, and write it down so you’ll have it for future reference!

9. As an author, do you hear from your readers? What do you like about that?

 

I am very lucky to hear from many readers! I especially love hearing from kids, because they always have such wonderful thoughts and ideas! I keep all of the emails and letters, and sometimes even tape them to the wall near my computer, so I can look at them for inspiration as I write. I’m grateful for the inspiration!

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