Doing the blog hop, KidLit style

In the midst of a conference weekend, I got an email from author Aileen Stewart, inviting me to participate in the Children’s Author Blog Hop.  Completely unclear on the concept (having never hopped on blogs before), I at once said yes — not realizing I had to convince three other blogging authors to participate after me.

Ah, well.  You live and you learn.

I’ve gotten two of my author pals to join me, but nobody has gotten back to me yet on Spot #3.  I’ll add the third author when I hear a “yes.”  In the meantime, here’s my contribution to this blog hop started by author Phyllis Griggs at Indie Chatter Blogspot.

The questions…

What are you working on right now?

I’m working on two books simultaneously — a fractured fairytale for younger middle-grade readers, and the third book in my upper middle-grade SCHOOL FOR S.P.I.E.S. series.  Luckily I’m in first-draft mode on the former and in brainstorming/plotting mode on the latter; otherwise my head would likely explode all over my ergonomic furniture.  At the moment, I’m finding it trickier to work on the S.P.I.E.S. book, but I have faith that I’ll sort it out eventually.

How does it differ from other works in its genre?

The fractured fairytale is different from others of its type because it’s also a mystery story — a bit of a hybrid there.  As for my S.P.I.E.S. books, I like to think they differ from similar stories because of their emphasis on humor, in addition to the suspense and adventure elements.  Of course, I could be wrong, but that’s my story and I’m sticking to it.

Why do you write what you do?

Although I write different types of tales — picture books, easy readers, and middle grade books — they all share one thing in common: humor.  I love to bring the funny whenever and wherever I can.  Sometimes it’s by being goofy, sometimes by just telling the truth.  Why, you ask?  Yes, I have an aptitude for it, but that’s not the only reason.  I also believe in the healing power of humor and in the way laughter unites us, but that’s not the only reason either.  I guess, bottom line, I’m writing the kinds of books I would’ve liked to read when I was a kid.  Simple as that.

What is the hardest part about writing?

For me, it’s plotting a novel.  That’s so much harder than revision, harder even than grinding out the first draft.  Translating an idea from a simple “what if?” into a complex and engaging plot gives me grief and makes me gnash my teeth every time, even after 30 books.  And although I’ve learned a few things over the course of my writing career, it doesn’t feel any easier when I sit down to weave a plot out of a messy pile of bits and bobs.

Yes, I’ve tried the Stephen King method of plotting, detailed in his wonderful book, ON WRITING.  (He just puts two people in a room and starts them talking.)  It just didn’t work for me.  So I press on with my own method and try to remember to be thankful I’m writing instead of digging ditches.  As frustrating as it sometimes gets for us writers, we have one of the world’s best jobs, no question.


And now for the part where I get to promote my friends.

First up is Judy Cox, the author of scads of wonderful picture books and middle grade stories, as well as a talented ukulele player.  Her newest book, due this fall, is (naturally enough) UKULELE HAYLEY.  Check out Judy’s answers to the questions here:


Judy Cox
Next, the talented Kelly Milner Halls, a whiz on the nonfiction scene and a great lover of all things weird and wonderful.  (Ask her about Sasquatch sometime.)  Her latest book is COURAGEOUS CANINE.  You can read her blog hop entry here:

Kelly Milner Halls's COURAGEOUS CANINE!

Kelly Milner Halls

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