Happy to be here!
Do tell. How did you find your way into becoming a kidlit author and why do you love it?
I love the magical power of a well-told story…the power to bring understanding, compassion, growth, and empowerment to little people and big people. As a very visually-inspired person, I fell in love with the picture books story form as a child and still remembered it’s magical powers in college as I studied the intricates of such works as Shakespeare’s tragedies, the Bhagavad Gita, and T.S. Eliot’s, The Waste Land.
While working in the university library cataloging department, thumbing through new pictures books as they came in, I realized that the themes and emotions of humanity portrayed by those complex works I was studying, could be just as effectively portrayed in picture book form, with the added bonus of beautiful illustrations. I love that these literary story gems are accessible to every age of human. So, when I couldn’t find a grad school literature program that emphasized kidlit (since they didn’t’ exist back then), I have instead spent over twenty years reading and studying stories as I have taught middle school, high school, preschool and every other type of school, as well as at home with my seven children. After sharing many magical story moments with children of all ages (along with plenty of adults), I began to dream of writing my own magical stories.
Words certainly do have power! So, what project of the heart are you working on?
I started out writing the stories I wanted to read to my own children, but could not find. Since my children have grown up in the military with frequent moves and the burden of their dad’s repeated combat deployments to the Middle East, I searched for books that they could connect with their experiences and emotions in even the slightest ways. There were very few. That is what inspired me to start writing my own stories about military families. After years of honing my writing craft and writing many types of stories (some out on submission now), I am currently returning to working on yet another military family story.
Write what you know, right? What do you love about working with Kelly Dyksterhouse of Raven Quill Literary?
Kelly is literally the perfect-fit agent for me. She is professional, kind, forthright, patient, responsive, transparent, and takes a long-term vested interest in her clients. It is so much fun to brainstorm with her as a partner! She has the editing capacity to let me know when a story needs work, the creativity to help me get it to the next level, and often puts as much thought into my submission revisions as I do. She is a great partner. She is thoughtful about strategy, proactive in developing relationships with editors, and most importantly, shares my passion for kidlit. I feel very blessed to work with her.
Thanks so much, Amy, for getting my blog party off to a wonderful start!