Welcome to BookEnds, Dan Marvin!

Tell us a bit about your writing process. Where do you write, and how often?

I can write almost anywhere, especially if I’m alone. Most writing takes place at my dining room table. One place I’ve found I’m really productive is on airplanes, because there are no distractions.

 

Do you have any writing rituals?

Kind of. I usually have music playing – something familiar so I’m not distracted by it. And I usually have a drink. Coffee in the morning. Water in the afternoon. Beer or wine at night.

 

What do you love about writing picture books?

I love knowing that if what I’m writing is special enough and the stars align, lots of kids may get to enjoy this story I’ve made up, out of thin air. I also love when I know I’ve written something that will get a smile or has read-aloud qualities like alliteration or unexpected word play.

 

Why did you choose the genre you’ve chosen?

When my two kids were toddlers and I would read them picture books, I was reminded just how much I loved them. I started writing stories then, but it was years later before my amazing wife encouraged me to get more serious about my writing career.

 

What is the hardest part about writing picture books?

One bad habit I struggle with is “showing not telling.” I’m good at knowing what information is important for young readers, but I often spell out details in a way that isn’t as interesting or meaningful as it could be. I’m getting better at showing though.

 

Do you get inspiration from any TV shows or movies? If so, which ones?

Probably. I grew up in the 80’s and I’m sure that has an impact on my writing. And I watch TV and movies with my kids, who are 10 and 11. Our recent favorite to watch together is Stranger Things.

 

If money were no object, what would be your dream writing location?

A beach, for sure. Maybe Hawaii.

 

Do you belong to any writing organizations?

I am a proud member of SCBWI and 12×12. The 12×12 Challenge in particular was a game changer. It has kept me writing, it’s how I found my critique group, and it’s also how I found my awesome agent Natascha Morris.

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