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There’s an adorable new furbaby coming to town! It’s JET THE CAT (IS NOT A CAT), a debut picture book by Phaea Crede! Let’s take a look at that non-feline feline, illustrated by Terry Runyan…

Phaea, as you know, the Storystorm Challenge is coming soon, so I’m sure blog readers are going to want to know how the idea for JET began!

The original inspiration came from my 3rd grade teacher. Without meaning to (I hope) she made me feel like I couldn’t be a good writer because of my learning disability. That rotten feeling imprinted on me that “real writers don’t have dyslexia.”

Happily, I outgrew that idea. But I wanted to write something that called back to that sadness and frustration I’d felt as a child, but with humor! The image of a cat hearing she wasn’t a REAL cat because she liked water seemed perfect. I wanted Jet to realize by the end that she gets to define what being a cat is for herself.

I love that theme in a book—that being yourself is the only way to be.

Did you want to be a children’s writer when you were young?

No way! Writing seemed way too hard. I wanted to be a farmer—although I’m sure I got the idea that farms were fun from reading picture books…? I only started writing seriously in my late 20s, and that was mostly comedy sketches when I was performing at the Upright Citizen’s Brigade Theatre. But when you think about it, picture books aren’t that different from comedy sketches.

Speaking of sketches, tell us about the first time you saw Jet brought to life by Terry Runyan.

That was a bonkers moment. The first time I saw Jet was the same day I found out Terry would be illustrating the story. Along with that great news, my editor sent Terry’s character sketch of Jet just sitting and looking out at the reader. Jet had this open, sweet expression, pink cheeks, and these little lets that totally killed me. I screamed when I saw her and probably scared my family.

Jet’s world is so colorful and fun. It’s a bright, happy book. Is that who you are as a writer? What can we expect next from you?

Oh, thank you. And I HOPE that’s who I am as a writer. I often say that goofy enthusiasm is 80% of my brand, and I believe that translates to my stories as well! Embracing the silliness of life is my ultimate goal. This may sound cliché, but I just want to write stories that make kids laugh AND inspire them to be themselves. That’s what I needed as a kid! As for the future I’m working on a few (very silly) projects right now and I’ll have some big news to share publicly soon. But my main focus right now is introducing Jet to the world!

Thanks for showing Jet off! What a cutie!

JET THE CAT (IS NOT A CAT) will be released with Barefoot Books on May 1, 2021!

Best wishes with the book and your future projects!


Phaea Crede writes silly picture books for silly kids. She’s had lots of writing jobs in her life, like scriptwriting for the TV shows Nature Cat and Word Girl. Once, she even got to play video games and write about them for a living! But nothing in the world compares to writing picture books. Visit her online at phaeacrede.com.

 

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My Picture Books

COMING SOON:


BLOOP
illus by Mike Boldt
HarperCollins
July 2021

ABSURD WORDS
illustrator TBA
Sourcebooks eXplore
November 2021

"PRIVATE I" SERIES #3
illus by Ross MacDonald
Little, Brown
2022

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