Hippity, hoppity…


Come meet some new kidlit authors with the Children’s Author Blog Hop!

I was invited to participate by Darlene Beck-Jacobson, an author I know from NJ-SCBWI whose historical middle grade novel WHEELS OF CHANGE releases next year. It’s set in 1909 Washington D.C. and follows a young girl who attempts to save the family carriage business during the proliferation of the automobile. (Really cool premise I cannot wait to read!)

To participate in this hop, you don a pair of your fluffiest Hello Kitty socks and…wait a minute! This isn’t the Children’s Author SOCK HOP? Oh darn. And I was itching to do the mashed potato, too.

Darlene and me at a NJ-SCBWI book signing

To participate in the BLOG hop, you answer four questions, then pass the torch onto three other authors. One of the great privileges of writing this blog is to promote other talented kidlit professionals. I’m so pleased to introduce you to PiBoIdMo participants and authors you may not know yet—Elaine, Angie & Jacque—but you will!

And now the four questions…

Why is this night different from all other nights?

Whoops. Sorry. That’s the first of the Passover four questions. Maybe my Jewish friends had a chuckle. The rest of you are going HUH?!

1. What are you currently working on?

As you may know, I host Picture Book Idea Month (PiBoIdMo) every November. It’s the picture book writer’s alternative to NaNoWriMo. The challenge is to create one new picture book idea daily.

I caution PiBoIdMo participants NOT to post their ideas anywhere online. Concept is primarily what sells a picture book, and you don’t want someone to snatch your hook-y concept.

So I’m going to follow my own advice and be a little cryptic about what I’m working on. It’s a magical story about someone who’s not happy with magic.

My usual M.O. is to begin with a title, and that’s what I’m doing yet again. It’s got a snazzy, catchy title, something that will make people wanna snag it right off the shelf. The bad news is that I’ve already written this story once before—and revised it at least a dozen times. But it just didn’t work. In fact, I set aside this story for an entire year before I re-read my final draft again just last week.


In my zealous quest to perfect the manuscript, I darted further and further away from my original intentions. The story didn’t resemble anything I’d like to call my work. And so, it got filed in the circular file.

This week I began again with nothing but the title. I’ve got the opening down and I can already see it’s going far better than it did last year, but I’ve still got a long way to go.

I’m also putting final edits on LITTLE RED GLIDING HOOD, a punny skating adventure coming from Penguin Random House Children’s in October 2015. All your favorite fairytale characters will be along for the glide—Humpty Dumpty, Old MacDonald, even Jack Sprat and his wife.

2. How does it differ from other works in the genre?

The magical story will feature an adult. In fact, it opens with an adult. I know this is typically a no-no, but the adult is not an ordinary grown-up. You’ll see. Know the rules, but know when to break them, too.

3. Why do you write what you do?

I have always had a love affair with the short story. I prefer the brilliance in their brevity. And with picture books, I adore the juxtaposition of words and images. It’s like playing for a living.

4. What is the hardest part about writing?

Not letting the words get away from you. Sometimes the words have a way of writing themselves, pulling you in a direction you didn’t want to go. You have to learn to tame your words, and that’s no easy feat.


And now, ladies and gentleman and children of all ages, I’m pleased to present the three authors I’ve chosen to hop to: Elaine Kiely Kearns, Angie Karcher and Jacque Duffy!

E. Kiely Kearns is an elementary school teacher and a member of the SCBWI. She earned her Masters in Education from Fordham University. She dreams up wild and wonderful stories in New York State where she lives with her husband, two children, and menagerie of animals. She lives on coffee, chocolate and humor. Mostly humor. Get your “Book Smarts” fix at EKielyKearns.com.

Angie Karcher’s first book, WHERE THE RIVER GRINS: THE HISTORY OF EVANSVILLE, ILLINOIS came out in November 2012. It was part of the city’s Bicentennial celebration and is a resource book for local history in all third grade classrooms in Evansville. Her current project, THE LEGENDARY COWBOY JONES, about a 70-year-old jockey who’s still racing, comes out after the first of the year. She is a former Kindergarten teacher and professional storyteller. Read more of her story at AngieKarcher.wordpress.com.

Born in Brisbane, Australia, Jacque Duffy has always been creative and entrepreneurial. She has written, illustrated and self-published seven children’s books in a series. These books were sought and purchased by the Queensland State Government and placed into schools and libraries. In 2014 her first picture book THE BEAR SAID PLEASE will be released by Wombat books. Follow her down under at JacquesArtandBooks.com.

Happy hopping!