Posted in Author Meet Up, Meet the authors

Meet the author: Shutta Crum

www.shutta.com ,  www.facebook.com/shuttacrum , https://twitter.com/shutta

I write poetry, children’s books, children’s novels and nonfiction articles for magazines and journals. By Dec. 2017, I’ll have sixteen books out. My newest book is MOUSELING’S WORDS. I love writing for kids of all ages!

Questions:

1. When you were my age did you like to read? As a kid I loved reading everything! I wanted to read all of the books in our small school library. But I did especially love adventure books.

2. What was your favorite book? One book I loved and still think fondly of is: MY SIDE OF THE MOUNTAIN by Jean Craighead George.

3.Where do you get your ideas for books? Ideas are all around us all the time—it just takes a few quiet moments to think about why something is happening, and how if you just made on little tweak . . . really wild things could happen. I like playing “what if.” That is, asking myself what if this or that? What if a space ship landed on the roof of my house on Christmas Eve, instead of Santa?

4. Is it hard to write a book? It’s VERY difficult to write a good book! It’s easy to write a bad book. Sometimes it can take me years to finish a book. But that’s all right, because in the end I know I’ve given it my all and tried to make it the best book I can.

5. Do you have a favorite book of the ones your have written? All my young readers ask if I’ve got a favorite book of my own that I’ve written. That’s always difficult to answer because I like different ones on different days for different reasons. But, overall, MY MOUNTAIN SONG pulls at my heart because it is similar to how I spent happy summers with my grandparents. And THOMAS AND THE DRAGON QUEEN is dear to me because I had my father in mind as I wrote it.

6. What authors are you reading right now? Right now, I love many many authors! I’m reading a lot of Jason Reynold’s novels lately. And I just reread A MONSTER CALLS by Patrick Ness. Really enjoying this reading. As far as books for the very young, I love Rosemary Wells’ books, Sandra Boynton and Jon Klassen.

7. Do you have advice for kids who want to be an author? My best advice: read, read, read! How do you know what you want to write if you don’t read at all levels and in all genres? A good writer needs to really be versed in their field. Read at least a thousand books before you begin your own.

Posted in Author Meet Up, Meet the authors

Meet the author: Jean Alicia Elster

website– http://jeanaliciaelster.com
Facebook author page–
https://www.facebook.com/Jean-Alicia-Elster-Books-160713827312932/
Twitter– @j_a_elster

1. When you were my age, did you like to read? As a youngster, I loved to read!
2. What was your favorite story? My favorite book was Charlotte’s Web by E.B. White

3. How do you get your ideas? The ideas for my two most recently published books, Who’s Jim Hines? and The Colored Car, came from real events in my family’s history in the city of Detroit during the 1930s. As a young person growing up, I heard the core of many of these tales during family gatherings. Of course, for my books, I fictionalize, expand and embellish these core bits of family lore.

4. Is it hard to write/illustrate a book? Writing is a very complex and exacting activity: taking a thought in your mind and writing words that allow the reader to share that thought. So in that sense, writing a book is not an easy endeavor. However, I love the process of writing and I love the end result (creating a book!), so it is not hard for me to write my books.

5. Do you have a favorite among the books you have written/illustrated? I do not have a favorite among my many books–they are all very special to me.

6. What author do you really like right now? An author that I am enjoying right now is Edwidge Danticat, a Haitian-American author.

 7. What advice do you have for a kid who wants to be an author? My advice to any young person who wants to be an author is to read, read, READ as much as they can. They should read different genres of literature, and they should read authors of different nationalities. They should immerse their lives in words.

 

Posted in Author Meet Up, Meet the authors

Meet the author: Jim Benton

Author website/social media: www.jimbenton.com

Tell me a little about yourself: I’m an author and artist, and I created Franny K Stein, Dear Dumb Diary, Victor Shmud, as well as licensed properties like It’s Happy Bunny

When you were my age, did you like to read?: I would read anything. I liked MAD Magazine, and Batman comic books, as well as longer stories. I also liked some old books like The Strange Case of Dr.Jekyll and Mr. Hyde

What was your favorite story? My favorite story???? I have no idea!! I don’t know how to pick a favorite!

How do you get your ideas?: I just sit down and start doodling or writing. The ideas eventually just come.

Is it hard to write/illustrate a book? Only sometimes. Usually it’s a lot of fun, but if a drawing is giving me trouble, or if I’m stuck on part of a story, that can be kind of frustrating.

Do you have a favorite among the books you have written/illustrated?: My favorite is whatever I’m working on at that very moment. Currently it’s a Christmas book.

What author do you really like right now?: One of my all time favorites is an author named P.G. Wodehouse.

What advice do you have for a kid who wants to be an author?: Keep reading and keep writing. Even silly little things are great practice and your work matters.

Posted in Author Meet Up, Meet the authors

Meet the author: Nancy Shaw

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nancyshawbooks.com

facebook.com/nancyshawbooks

When you were my age, did you like to read? I have always loved to read.

What was your favorite story? In elementary school, I liked Beverly Cleary, Ruth Stiles Gannett, and especially Half Magic by Edward Eager. (I like Harry Potter and I’m sure they would have been favorite books if I’d had them when I was young.) I kept loving to read all the time I was growing up, and I still do.

How do you get your ideas? Why Sheep? Ideas can come from real life–I wrote Elena’s Story because of visiting a middle school in Guatemala. I wrote Raccoon Tune because raccoons kept messing up our trash cans. The Sheep stories started from goofing around with rhymes–I wanted to see if I could tell a whole story that rhymed with “eep”–and then grew because sheep are fun to put in silly situations. They have a reputation for not being very sensible.

Is it hard to write/illustrate a book? It’s hard for me to write a book–especially getting started, and then making the characters have enough of a problem to be a real story.

Do you have a favorite among the books you have written/illustrated? I’m fond of Raccoon Tune and Sheep Out to Eat, but I like them all.

What author do you really like right now? I have many favorite authors, especially Jane Austen and Anthony Doerr for adults. Some of the authors I like for young people are Maryrose Wood, Gennifer Choldenko, Lisa Yee, Cece Bell, David Wiesner, and Jerdine Nolen. A new favorite is The War That Saved My Life, by Kimberly Brubaker Bradley.

What advice do you have for a kid who wants to be an author? Reading what you love is good practice for being an author. You will get a sense of how stories work, even if you are not thinking about it directly. And write what you enjoy writing, too

Posted in Author Meet Up, Meet the authors

Meet the author: Amy Nielander

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Website: amynielander.com

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/nielanderamy/

Twitter: https://twitter.com/nielanderamy

Blog: http://www.amynielander.com/blog/

I am the Author Illustrator of the wordless picture book, THE LADYBUG RACE. I have always loved being creative since I was your age! I remember drawing my  neighbors houses when I was little for fun and typing stories  out on our typewriter.

When you were my age, did you like to read? I did like to read. I can’t remember exactly what I was reading at that particular time but a few books I do remember enjoying were Where the Sidewalk Ends, Mrs. Piggle Wiggle books, Tales of a Fourth Grade Nothing  and The Littles.

What was your favorite story? My favorite story was Tales of a Fourth Grade Nothing. My favorite picture book was Popcorn by Frank Asch.

How do you get your ideas?My ideas come from many places. Stories sometimes come to me if something happens and it affects me emotionally. Ideas may also come in the form of an object…like pajamas! When my daughter was three she had a favorite pair of
polka dotted pajamas. She loved them so much (so did I) that I created a story about…a polka dot family!

Is it hard to write/illustrate a book? It depends. If all parts of the story come together easily, then its not so tough! But, usually its the other way around and I have to try and try (and try!) to figure out the  best solution.

What is it like to both write and illustrate your book? It is fun to do both the writing and illustrating. I am still learning how to be the very best author and illustrator I can possibly be!

What author do you really like right now? I like many authors and illustrators. But, if I were to go back to the very beginning of my journey.  I would say Marla Frazee (Mrs. Biddlebox, The Boss Baby, Walk On!)  was the artist I looked up to most.

What advice do you have for a kid who wants to be an author? Read as much as you can! And write.

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Amy says you can find the Ladybug Medal activity on her website.

Posted in Meet the authors

Meet the author: Kristin Bartley Lenz

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Author website/social media: http://www.kristinbartleylenz.com, https://www.instagram.com/kristinbartleylenz/, https://twitter.com/KristinBLenz

Tell me a little about yourself: I am a writer and social worker, and I live in metro-Detroit with my husband, teen daughter, and two puppies, Henry and Harper. I used to work as a social worker at Children’s Hospital in Detroit, but now I’m blending writing with social work. In addition to working on my own stories, I do freelance writing for non-profits/social service agencies, and I manage the SCBWI-MI blog.

When you were my age, did you like to read? I was a total bookworm growing up. I was often sick due to severe asthma, and I spent a lot of time resting and reading.

What was your favorite story? I don’t know if I had one favorite story, but Judy Blume was my favorite author. I loved all of her books.

How do you get your ideas? My ideas are sparked by real-life incidents or emotions or “what if” questions. For example, my novel The Art of Holding On and Letting Go was inspired by my own rock climbing experience and wondering what it would be like to be raised by professional mountaineering parents. How would she grow up differently than me, and how would her upbringing shape her worldview?

Is it hard to write/illustrate a book? Yes! Sometimes a story idea is there and the first draft will flow, but I often get stuck in the middle. And even when the full story is written, there’s still a lot of revising to do. My first draft is often just the bare bones of a story, and then with each revision, the characters, plot, and themes become more developed.

Can you explain what you do for SCBWI? What is it? SCBWI is the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators. It’s an international, professional organization that supports children’s writers and illustrators, and every state has a chapter. I manage the blog for the Michigan chapter, so that means I work with a small team of co-editors to publish a weekly blog post about any writing/illustrating/publishing topics that are of interest to not only our Michigan members, but any writer, illustrator, or reader of children’s books. You can follow the blog here: https://scbwimithemitten.blogspot.com/

What author do you really like right now? Gary D. Schmidt is speaking at the SCBWI-MI fall conference, so I just re-read his novel, Lizzie Bright and the Buckminister Boy. I loved it just as much as I remembered from ten years ago.

What advice do you have for a kid who wants to be an author? Keep reading and being curious. Over time, reading a lot of stories will naturally give you a blueprint for how to write. And if you’re curious and continue to learn about the world, you’ll have a steady stream of ideas to write about.

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Bridget Note:  I have not read Kristin’s book yet but my mom has. She says it is amazing and hard to put down, but also for kids a bit older than me.

Posted in Meet the authors

Meet the author: Deb Pilutti

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Website: www.debpilutti.com

When you were my age, did you like to read? I loved reading anything. Picture books, fairy tales, chapter books. I also devoured biographies from our school library.

What was your favorite story? I have two:Where the Wild Things Are, by Maurice Sendak, and Little Blue and Little Yellow, by Leo Lionni.

How do you get your ideas? Several of my book ideas have come from doodling a character. I have many sketchbooks filled with doodles, and every once in awhile, I want to know more about a character, and that becomes a story.

Is it hard to write/illustrate a book? Spending so much time on something that I enjoy does not always feel like work, but it does require constant exploration, writing, editing and rewriting to make a book. It can take many months or years to complete.

Do you have a favorite among the books you have written/illustrated? It’s usually the one I am working on.The Secrets of Ninja School is coming out in March, so that is my current favorite.

What author do you really like right now? There are so many wonderful books out there, so it is hard to choose one! Alison DeCamp’sMy Near Death Adventures (99% true!) is hilarious. And the picture books by Sean Qualls and Selina Alko are lovely.

What advice do you have for a kid who wants to be an author? Read! Also, don’t be afraid of revision.