When I first read Jill’s manuscript, I saw such humor. Rhyme is one of those tough sells, so to see an author who could balance that with commercial appeal and humor, I just knew I needed to see more. Keep an eye on this lady, because great things are coming!
Tell us a bit about your writing process. Where do you write, and how often?
I write mostly in rhyme. One line at a time. I never know where the words will lead my pen, or how the story will end. It’s like piecing together a puzzle, where the last piece reveals a grand surprise. I love the suspense.
Since retiring, I’ve had the luxury of writing when my muse moves me. My favorite time to write is early morning, before I’ve even hopped out of bed. With paper and pencil in hand, I snuggle and write with cat in lap. I also love to write among the trees in the quiet outdoors.
I write my first drafts in longhand. The process is messy, but a cleanly typed first draft is always exciting to look forward to. Then the seemingly unending revisions begin – a process I love.
What do you love about writing picture books?
I love looking back and writing from the child in me. I love the inquisitiveness and innocence of children. I love tapping into the universal truths that children hold close. I love the simplicity of words in picture books, and the mountain of joy those words can bring to a child. I especially love writing humorous books and making children laugh. “At the moment of laughter, there is nothing wrong in the world.”
Why did you choose this genre?
I didn’t choose the picture book genre. It chose me. Since a young child, I have been writing poems and stories in rhyme, so picture books seemed like a perfect fit. It’s fun! And children love rhyme. The simplest story can bring such joy to a child. (That’s not to say that writing picture books is easy!) Creative writing, as a whole, has always been my passion, but children’s books are my focus at this time.
What is the hardest part about writing picture books?
When writing picture books in rhyme, the hardest part is finding rhyming words that are essential to the story, and not used just for the sake of the rhyme.
In general, the hardest part of writing picture books is forcing myself to avoid adjectives and adverbs (which I love) as much as possible; to be concise; and to cut parts that don’t move the story forward.
What book do you wish you had written, and why?
Winnie-the-Pooh, by A. A. Milne. It’s the perfect guide to living a happy life. Winnie-the-Pooh is simple. He’s lovable. And he cares about his friends, regardless of their shortcomings. He may be of little brain, but he is an example of how we all should live. That’s not to say he doesn’t find himself in silly and difficult situations, but because he lives in the moment and has no ulterior motives, things always work out for him. And through his experiences, he grows in wisdom. Pooh enjoys being alive, and reminds us that every day is a celebration.
If you’re not reading or writing, what would we catch you doing?
Listening to music and singing along in harmony, taking photographs, working on craft projects, taking walks. Or eating guacamole.
Do you belong to any writing organizations?
Where can readers find you on the web and social media?
If money were no object, what would be your dream writing location
To dwell beneath majestic pines
Beside a crystal creek
Where gnomes and fairies magic, make,
Enchanted woods, I seek.
What excites you most about joining the BookEnds family?
I am excited to be a part of such a friendly, energetic, tight-knit family. And Natascha’s enthusiasm is inspiring!