How do my stories begin? The author Jane Yolen has compared a writer's mind to a scrap basket, and I've found that is true for me. My books are made up of bits and pieces of my life and that my family and friends and the children I meet along the way.
I wish there was an Angel Inspiration who arrived bright and early each day with fresh new ideas. She does visit, but only after I've enticed her with museum visits, bookstore browsing, reading lots and lots of children's books, and paying attention to any "what if" ideas that float by. Sitting in the sun with my dogs, Duffy and Honey also encourages a visit. And sitting in the sun with my dogs AND a bowl of M&Ms is even more helpful.
I work best in the morning. My favorite and most productive writing days begin with coffee and a quiet house. I usually read what I've written the day before and then try to slip back into that world. I work two hours or so, take a break for breakfast, dog walking and errands and then work again in the afternoon. For me the first draft is the hardest, working on the revision is pure pleasure. It's my favorite process because this is where you can polish and polish until the manuscript shines.
The answer is both yes and no. No, the stories didn't happen exactly as I wrote them. But yes, each story -- the emotional heart of each story -- is true.
I've written and published 22 books for all different age groups - board books, picture books, short chapter books and middle grade novels. When I'm researching, writing, revising each new book -- a period of time that can take months and sometimes years-- that newest one is always my favorite.
Boo, Bunny! is a holiday picture book which celebrates friendship as well as Halloween. When one shy bunny on one dark night, meets another shy bunny, they join forces on this scariest of scary nights and go trick-or-treating together. What they discover is that having a paw to hold makes all the difference. No longer two shy bunnies, they become two brave bunnies on one Halloween night. Jeff Mack, the illustrator, created the perfect dear bunnies who are first very timid and then become bold and brave with giggles and hops.
Babies in the Park: Spring; Summer, Autumn, Winter - a four board book series of babies jumping swinging, chasing, giggling through the seasons with bright, active illustrations by Adela Pons.