Beth Ferry is the author of numerous books for young readers, including Stick and Stone, Land Shark, Ten Rules of the Birthday Wish and The Scarecrow. She is inspired by two main things: word play and the sea. Luckily, Beth is an avid reader who lives close to the beach so inspiration is never far away. In addition to picture books, Beth has begun writing graphic novels. Her first graphic novel for young readers, Fox and Rabbit, will publish in Spring 2020. When not writing, Beth can be found blowing bubbles for her bulldog, Chaucer. Learn more at www.bethferry.com.
It is hard not to be over the moon! Each book is so different, but just as exciting. I think most authors feel this way. The most exciting part of being a picture book author is working with the amazing artists who bring the books to life. The art in A Small Blue Whale is luminous. Lisa Mundorff’s colors are lovely and she drew penguins using beach shovels in the snow. How fun is that? And a bit of nonfiction included in this book: Whales can actually make rainbows from their blowholes.
I have seen sketches for a few other upcoming books and am waiting for a few more. Getting sketches feels like Christmas morning!
I find I get most of my ideas from playing with words. I love all kinds of word play. One of my books is called Sealed with a Kiss and it’s about being kissed by a seal. I love the play on words there! And I love the art. Another book idea came from the word scarecrow. I wanted to play with the idea that if there is a scarecrow, there must be a scared crow, so I wrote a story about that unlikely friendship.
Swashby and the Sea is another unlikely friendship story. In this book the sea erases certain letters from messages left in the sand, changing those messages into something completely opposite. It was fun (and challenging) to find combinations of words that worked.
But real life also gives me ideas, just like in Land Shark. The idea for Squirrel’s Family Tree came from just looking out my window. I did lots of squirrel/acorn research, learned tons, and put all that into a story. Ideas are truly everywhere!
The best parts all have to do with the kids. Reading to them, hearing their reactions, answering their questions and hopefully inspiring them. Kids are so smart and perceptive. Every week I read to classes of Kindergarteners and 1st graders and it is the highlight of my week. I love hearing them laugh. My kids are older now and I don’t get to hear kids laugh on a daily basis. I miss that.
The most challenging part of being an author is waiting for the book to be published. From the time I write the story, it is between two and four years until the book is published. Talk about anticipation! And patience!
Well, we all love the beach. Is that considered an activity? I hope so! Our family also loves to play games. As I’ve said, my kids are older now, so our current favorites are Catan and Power Yahtzee! I love Scrabble, but usually don’t get any takers. We are also all crazy readers so we do a lot of that. None of us go anywhere, and I mean anywhere, without a book.
My favorite picture books include Room on the Broom, Library Lion, Little Pea, Owl Babies, A Visitor for Bear and everything by Sandra Boynton.
From past experience, I have discovered that I am a lazy gardener. I often forget to weed, water and harvest. Pumpkins are hardy and take a long time to grow. Plus, I am a big fan of Halloween, so pumpkins just make sense.