Wednesday Q & J: November 29, 2023

Q: You were the second person to join SCBWI. You are still involved (even though you retired from the board). Why is this organization so important and why do you think it’s important for new writers to join? Q: It is not enough to just write a book, you need to understand how professional writers write, …

Wednesday Q & J: November 22, 2023

Q: To rhyme or not to rhyme? That is the question. How do you know if your book should rhyme? What advice do you give to writers who show you their rhymed manuscript? J: That is both an easy and difficult answer. The easy answer is “You know it in your bones.” The hard answer is: …

Wednesday Q & J: November 15, 2023

Q: Last week you mentioned WMIG, a group for illustrators in the Western Massachusetts area (Western Mass Illustrator’s Guild). But, you aren’t an illustrator. Tell us about it and why you are still so involved. J:  OK, so there are some selfish reasons– I get to see new children’s book art before the editor’s do. …

Wednesday Q & J: November 8, 2023

Q: You cannot stop raving about how beautiful the art by Paolo Domeniconi for your new book TEA WITH AN OLD GIANT is. What’s it like when you first see art for a picture book? This one, but also, just in general? J: I am a great lover of art and artists. I began the Western …

Wednesday Q & J: November 1, 2023

Q: What is your favorite thing to write? J:  Poetry and picture books are definitely my favorites. Not because they are short, (I have written long poems/linked poems and novels in verse) but because I have been a poet from childhood. I sometimes talk to my husband in rhyme, send things to school children that are …

Wednesday Q & J: October 25, 2023

Q: 2023 is a year where you had 14 books come out. How is that possible??   J: A lot of it has to do with how slow publishing can be and how fast I sometimes am. But also, editors are working on many manuscripts at the same time, or the right illustrator is booked up ahead …

Wednesday Q & J: October 18, 2023

Q:  You love to dig into your drawers of unsold manuscripts to revise and find new opportunities for them. What’s that process like?   J: Sometimes an old manuscript is a surprise. I will pull one out and read it to find I have grown enough in confidence and talent to make it shine where …

Wednesday Q & J: October 11, 2023

Q: You talk about the editorial process not being adversarial. What do you mean by that?   J: I mean both author and editor(s) listen and converse about the needed changes, but we are not fighting. No editor wants to make a manuscript worse. So it is incumbent upon both to be professional–not shout or-name call …

Wednesday Q & J: October 4, 2023

Q: You are rebooting a series of books illustrated by Tomie DePaola. Tell us about the evolution of the Giants in Giants Farm and Giants Go Camping and beyond.   J:  I began with one book, never considering it as series. It just grew and grew.  Tomie (alas, gone now and I write this on the day …

Wednesday Q & J: September 27, 2023

Q: You’ve just returned from Scotland where you live in the summers. How does your writing change when you are there?   J: It depends less on where I am, than what time I have. If we are traveling or eating out a lot or visiting old friends (some VERY old) then, less writing. And this …