My Writing Process...

I've been invited to participate in a tour that's making the rounds in the kidslit world by the amazing author/illustrator Mary Jane Begin. (Thanks!) Mary Jane gave some great answers to the questions, which you can CLICK HERE to go read. My answers to the questions are below!

What am I working on?
     I just finished up the book tour for A BIRD ON WATER STREET and am off on my next adventure as I prepare to go teach "Children's Picture Book Design" at Hollins University in their MFA in Children's Book Writing and Illustrating and Certificate in Children's Book Illustration in Roanoke, Virginia through the summer. It's strange to live away from home for six weeks each summer now, but its so crazy busy and fun up there, the time flies!
     I just put aside a fantasy novel that's nearly, but not quite there. I think it needs some drawer time. So, I'm working on a new mid-grade, which I suppose could be described as a bit of a road trip with some shocking environmental and relationship stuff happening along the way. It's been stewing for a while and I'm anxious to really get going.
     I'm doing some freelance work on picture books for Children's Healthcare of Atlanta. This is a series of feel-good books given out to new parents for free by their doctors. They cover topics like proper nutrition, exercise, etc. I'm very proud to be a part of this project!
     Our SCBWI Southern Breeze Children's Book Illustrator's Gallery Show is about to wrap up. It's such a perfect fit having that at the Decatur Library each year. The patrons love it and we get to share our passion with them. (CLICK HERE to see photos of opening night.)
     And my agent is shopping several PB manuscripts around - so keep your fingers crossed!

How does my work differ from others of its genre?
     I suppose that depends on if your talking PBs or MG novels. For the novels, I suppose I'm adopting an environmental edge that I hope will make my books popular in schools and libraries. (I also think I've found my sweet spot with mid-grades.)
     For picture books, I like to think that each of my creations is the next best thing since swiss cheese and sliced bread - let's hope the editors agree!

Why do I write what I do?
     Mostly because I can't not do it. They come to me in dreams, in meetings, at the grocery store... pretty much everywhere I go, I stumble over stories begging to be told. Some just yell louder than others!

How does my individual writing process work?
     I don't know that I have an actual process. Every story seems to come out a different way. Some of the PBs are jotted down first thing in the morning - complete (that doesn't necessarily mean ready to go). Others take years to finesse. My first novel took ten years from inception to publication. My second took four, my third, about two years (so far). I don't like how little time I have for writing these days. It's been an unbelievably busy year and my writing hasn't been able to get proper attention as a result. That said, I can only write about four hours per day even when I do have the time. It's just too intense an activity to carry on for much longer than that. Although right now, I'd love to have those four hours! So I've been writing my next novel while sitting on the couch in the evenings. (I love my new laptop!) I need to do some interviews for it, so need to make some phone calls...

Well, I hate to say it, but the tour has reached an end with me... Out of a dozen requests, many of my writer friends have already done this one, don't blog, or are just too busy. I am too, so I think that was a valiant effort to keep it going, but I am also willing to admit defeat under obvious circumstances. If you'd like to follow some of the other folks from the tour, go to the twitter hashtag: #mywritingprocess at . Cheers!

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