Years ago, one of the first stories I wrote was about a magical kitty fairy. In those days, my writing stunk and I didn't realize that the story needed to be nailed down before a dummy could be made. I gave up on the story, but someday I might rework it. The art is fun and still lives in my flat file.
I have known illustrator/author Mary Ann Fraser for many years. Talented, funny and smart, she is always a blast to hang around with. I am also awed by her huge body of work, over fifty children's books. It is my great pleasure to interview my buddy, Mary Ann Fraser.
When and why did you start writing/illustrating for children?
I first began writing and illustrating my own books in second grade at the encouragement of my teacher, Mrs. Floberg. It was her way of keeping me from talking to my classmates when I had finished my work early.
A book launch for Alexis O'Neill's new picture book, The Worst Best Friend, was held today at Simi Valley Library. A huge crowd showed up and participated in making crafts, eating cupcakes, and decorating balloons. A cute troop of girl scouts organized a raffle and games for the kids. Alexis gave a bang up presentation of the book along with participation from the boys and girls in the audience. She also showed us how to do Conrad and Mike's secret handshake. A percentage of the profits from the book sales were donated to "Friends of the Library." Congratulations Alexis for a great launch.
When I visit Paris I always stop to sketch. It is one of the most beautiful city in the world. The buildings are classical and ancient. This is a city of art. Museums, galleries, art movements and the most beautiful women in the world. At times these super model Parisians would take my breath away as they strolled by in their high fashion and very very high heels. I stuck with my Nikes, sweatshirts and watercolors.
The SCBWI Golden Kite award winner for fiction in 2008 is Kathrine Applegate's
"Home of the Brave." I was lucky enough to be at the award luncheon and to hear Kathrine speak. The idea of these Sudanese immigrants being transplanted to a Minnesota town fascinated me. What I didn't expect was to read one of the best books of the year. Told by Kek, a young boy from Sudan, who saw the murders of most of his family, Kek is separated from his probably dead mother and his relief to be in Minnesota with his aunt and cousin. It was so easy to love upbeat Kek and his utter confusion of his new life in America.
A huge congratulations going out to our very own Marla Frazee. Marla won the 2008 Horn book picture book honor for "A Couple of Boys Have the Best Week Ever," which she wrote and illustrated. A hilarious story based on her and her editor's sons. I saw Marla, with her editor, Allyn Johnston, give an entertaining duel speech about the book at the SCBWI National conference 2007. We are all so proud of Marla.
At the SCBWI National conference I had the great fortune to meet author Terri Fields. She gave me an advance copy of her new novel, My Father's Son, which I loved. I am so happy that Terri Fields agreed to be interviewed.
When and why did you start writing for children?
My six-year-old son was not at all impressed that I had been published for adults or that my writing had won prizes. He begged, "Mommy, please stop writing all that boring stuff and write something good."
A friend approached me about sharing a diamond necklace a few years ago. I tried it on but passed on the invitation. Boy am I sorry now. The thirteen women of Jewelia took this piece of jewelry and turned it into a charitable organization that is active in the community and supports many worthy causes. They also landed a book deal with Balantine/Random house. Each member wrote a chapter about the life changing experience of this necklace. This is a book trailer I produced.
Nominations for the third annual Children’s and Young Adult Bloggers’ Literary
Awards (the Cybils) will be open Wednesday, October 1st through Wednesday, October 15th. The goal of the Cybils team (some 100 bloggers) is to highlight books that are high in both literary quality and kid appeal.
This year, awards will be given in nine categories (Easy Readers, Fantasy & Science Fiction, Fiction Picture Books, Graphic Novels, Middle Grade Novels, Non-Fiction Middle Grade/Young Adult Books, Non-Fiction Picture Books, Poetry, Young Adult Novels). Anyone can nominate books in these categories (one nomination per person per category).