NaPiBoWriWee Guest Post!

It was another thrill this week when I was included as a guest answerer for questions by NaPiBoWriWee (National Picture Book Writing Week) creator Paula Yoo, she of the best moniker for a picture book author (c’mon, you know what I’m talking about, people. P.Yoo? How I envy that woman her name – if just to put on my books).
Paula posed the questions, and I just answered ’em. Thought you might like to read this while I’m off at the Hudson Children’s Book Festival, but if you’re there, don’t read this. Just stop by my table and say hi!
– If you weren’t a writer/artist, what would you be?
I would be a gospel singer. I can’t sing so it would be a very hard job.
– Tell us something about yourself that most people don’t know.
I was named after a six-toed woman.
– What was the most unusual job you ever had?
I’ve had a lot of unusual jobs so I’ve got to go with the grossest. This would be when I was a janitor in a disco the morning after. Do you have any idea how disgusting a job that is? Worst part was picking cigarette butts out of the urinals with …. wait for it … a fork. And it wasn’t a specially designated fork either.
– LOL! I’ll never look at a fork the same way again! :) If you could give one piece of writing advice for our NaPiBoWriWee participants, what would it be?
Be proud that you are taking this challenge! You are writing a book. Whether or not it gets published, whether or not it’s even any good. What you accomplishing is hard. Repeat after me: YAY, YOU! No, seriously. Say it right now. Out loud.
And no rolling of the eyes allowed.
And remember to be kind to yourself. Don’t judge your work until the end of the month. Get it done, and then turn your critical eye to the writing. And don’t translate “critical” into, “This sucks!” And if you do think that, don’t toss it. Put it away and look at it fresh in a month or two or six.
– That’s really inspirational. Thanks Katie! So… I’ve asked this question before because it’s a big deal right now in the news. Given the changing book industry with the advent of e-books and the rollercoaster economy, do you still think picture books have a place for tomorrow’s children? Will people still be reading traditional picture books in the future?
I was going to say “of course people will still be reading real picture books, because no one wants to cuddle up with a machine!” but things are changing so fast, who knows? One thing I am absolutely positive about is that storytelling is as old as mankind so regardless of how the stories are told, we will always need good ones.
So get back to work.
– Yes ma’am! :) Speaking of work, when you write and illustrate your own picture book, do you write the story first or do you come up with a certain image first? I’m curious to hear this process.
I’d never had an image before a word prior to my book Mabel the Tooth Fairy and How She Got Her Job but then I got a vision of Mabel and I heard how her voice sounded and worked from there. However, usually as I write, images are hitting me with every word, so it’s simultaneous.

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