I was tagged to participate in an Author/Illustrator Blog Tour by the great illustrator, Matthew Cook, who illustrated The Daring Escape of the Misfit Menagerie. Every author or illustrator who participates answers the same 4 questions. Check out Matthew’s answers here, and mine below!
What am I currently working on?
I am currently finishing up the last book in the Truth or Dare trilogy. It’s called Kiss and Tell, and it comes out on Feb 3rd. All the’ mysteries in the series get wrapped up this book, so it was a lot of fun to write!
How does my work differ from others of its genre?
When you create a brand new world, I think you draw from a well of your own personal memories and beliefs and likes and dislikes…and that all gets threaded into your vision in one way or another. For me, that’s what sets my work apart from other books in a genre. I think it’s most apparent in my Misfit Menageries series. Those books were very much shaped by my lifelong love for animals, and my belief in the importance of friendship between kids and animals. My memories of my relationship with my first dog, Willow, absolutely impacted how I wrote about the friendship between Bertie and Smalls!
Why do I write/illustrate what I write/illustrate?
I write for both kids and teens, which is the age group I’ve always dreamed of writing for. I think it’s because of how incredibly important books were to me at that age. There was nothing more exciting than coming home from the bookstore or library with a tall stack of books — knowing all the places I would soon travel to and people I would soon meet within their pages. As I got older, it became my dream to foster that same kind of excitement for reading in other kids. It’s one of the reasons I love doing school visits so much; any time you get to bring a book alive for a kid in a different way, it helps take the reading experience to a whole new level. It’s my hope that, in some small way, my books and school visits have brought the same kind of excitement to kids and teens that my favorite authors once brought to me. (I still remember the time I met Judy Blume at a bookstore signing… Best. Day. Ever.)
How does my individual writing/illustrating process work?
I get my best plotting and first draft writing done while walking. Yup: walking. There’s something about my legs moving and oxygen flowing to my brain and scenery passing me by that really spurs on my creative juices. I’ve worked out a whole system for this. I have a writing app on my phone, and I will literally walk around (Slowly! With lots of stops for street corners!) for miles, just typing away. The downside is that I look to the casual passerby as if I am furiously, desperately texting my friends. (I’m not! I’m writing a book! I swear!) But I get some of my best writing done this way, so I’ve accepted that I will forever be known as the crazy neighborhood texter.
Revisions are a bit of a different story. With bigger revisions, I still try to get out and move around, but as I get down to the nitty gritty of a manuscript, I really need a desk and computer. So I try to work in front of a nice window or bring my laptop to a favorite coffee shop. Obviously, I’ve written anywhere and everywhere over the years (planes, subways, the backseat of a car, locked away at in a bedroom at a holiday dinner…you get the gist), but I find I work most efficiently and enjoyably when I’m in a setting that I like.
Tag another author or illustrator!