Tell us a bit about your writing process. Where do you write, and how often?
I actually have an upstairs room designated as office space, but I avoid it. It’s a small, windowless room not conducive to creativity. Instead I write in the kitchen where I’m surrounded by windows and have easy access to the microwave so I can constantly reheat my cup of tea.
I don’t have a strict writing schedule. I usually do something writing-related each day, but I don’t start writing until the words are ready. Ideas tumble around in my head until they start to gel. That’s when the writing begins.
Do you have any writing rituals? (e.g. burning a candle if you’re having trouble getting started at the computer or writing longhand first if you’re feeling uninspired.)
The time between waking up and getting up in the morning is my “go to” time if I’m struggling to generate an idea or unlock a plot point. My mind is uncluttered, and all those ideas that get buried during the day seem to come to the surface. I also sometimes wake up in the middle of the night with an idea. I keep a small spiral notebook and pen in the nightstand drawer and have been known to scribble ideas down in the dark which makes deciphering them in the morning a bit of a challenge. Also the voice memo feature on my phone is handy for recording late night/early morning thoughts.
What do you love about writing picture books?
I love playing with words and writing picture books allows me to do that. In order to tell a story in as few words as possible, a writer has to find just the right words and then juggle them into just the right order. It’s like putting together a jigsaw puzzle with words as the puzzle pieces.
What is the hardest part about writing picture books?
I find two things difficult about writing picture books. First, generating workable ideas is often a long process for me. Things have to click together before I can sit down and start writing. I’d much rather revise. A blank page is intimidating. Next, once I start writing, then the hardest part is not being an illustrator, too. As I write, I visualize how the words and pictures weave together to tell the story, but I don’t have the talent to bring those two elements together. Writing picture books means willingly releasing your words to an illustrator. The anticipation of how an illustrator will pair the word puzzle pieces and the pictures together brings full circle everything I love and everything I find hard about writing picture books.
If money were no object, what would be your dream writing location?
Maybe somewhere I could hear the ocean like on a secluded Carribbean island or maybe snowed in in front of a fireplace in a chateau in the Swiss Alps. As long as I’m warm, I’m happy.
Do you belong to any writing organizations?
Yes, I’m a member of SCBWI and faithfully attend our state and regional conferences. My dream is to attend a SCBWI national conference. Through SCBWI’s community of writers and illustrators, I’ve connected with my wonderful critique partners, received valuable manuscript feedback from editor/agent critiques, and have grown as a writer from sharing my writing journey with supportive people who understand.