Kidsbook Friends Welcomes Janee Trasler!
After meeting Janee Trasler at a SCBWI workshop this summer, and learning more about the craft of writing from her, I fell in love with her work. I admire her for her ability to write and then illustrate her own work, and even more for her talent to sing it! You’ve got to check out her song, A New Chick for Chickies: http://youtu.be/XWJiq63hO4o
Trasler’s Chickie Series is creative, humorous, cute and most of all, helpful to families with those typically “more challenging” parts of the day: DINNERTIME, BEDTIME, and even POTTY TIME! My test audience (my three kids) loved all the Chickie books, and yours will too!
Enjoy meeting Janee Trasler through these 12 interview questions:
What experiences, people, and/or books were influential in your life, leading you to write your own children’s books?
In my house, growing up, books were sacred. You could cut your doll’s hair, get paint on your clothes, and wallpaper your room with green-stamps, but you never, never, NEVER mistreated a book.
I think the idea that they were so special really stuck with me. How could I not want to be a part of that?
When did you begin writing children’s book manuscripts?
I think I took my first writing workshop in 2004 or 2005. I thought I knew what I was doing until I took that workshop. Whew! What an eye-opener.
What was the first book you got published and with which publishing agency?
GHOST EATS IT ALL! – 2006, Little Brown
How many books have you written that are published?
I have seven books published, with two more coming out this year. I’ve also illustrated quite a few books by other authors.
My newest books:
- Bedtime for Chickies
- Pottytime for Chickies
- Dinnertime for Chickies
- A New Chick for Chickies
- Mimi and Bear in the Snow
Which of your books is your favorite and why?
That’s kind of like asking which of your kids is your favorite. They’re all my favorites for different reasons.
What was the inspiration for your main character of your favorite book?
Again with the favorites.
I’ll just pick a couple randomly.
Caveman from CAVEMAN, A B.C. STORY was inspired by a Geico commercial and a Horn Book article about alphabet books.
The chickies came about from a specific request from an editor for “bouncy rhyme, cartoon illustration, board book series.” They’re really meant to be any/every child. There’s no race, gender, or even family type that can’t identify with the chickies.
Mimi was a doodle who wouldn’t go away. She just kept showing up in my sketchbook (and on napkins, receipts, and a few grocery lists).
Where do you get your ideas for your books?
I am the queen of brainstorming and idea fishing exercises. Just ask my poor, long-suffering critique group. I come up with crazy games to springboard ideas all the time.
How long did it take you to write, edit, and publish your first book?
It was freakishly fast. My illustration rep at the time told me about an opportunity to submit manuscripts for emergent readers. I wrote and dummied a couple within a few weeks. My art style didn’t suit the original publishing house, but my rep kept the dummies as art samples.
When she showed them at a visit to LittleBrown, they made an offer to publish them as picture books. I gave up sleep, and illustrated the first one in a few weeks in February 2006, it published in October 2006.
What a shock to find out later that things don’t always move that quickly. My perception of the publishing process was incredibly skewed by that experience!
What advice can you share with children reading your books?
A large part of my story is in the illustrations. Enjoy the pictures.
What advice can you give to those of us who are working to write and publish children’s books?
Read a ton of books in your chosen genre. Things change all the time, and the only way to keep up is to read current offerings.
When I first started writing picture books, most editors weren’t looking for rhyme and they weren’t keen on anthropomorphic characters. This doesn’t hold true for today’s market, and the only way to know this is to read current picture books and keep abreast of what’s being published now.
What are three hobbies/interests you have besides writing?
- Singing: (http://clyp.it/irqipmdy)
- Puppets: (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Jcem7x9REME)
- Playing the autoharp: (https://soundcloud.com/harperchildrens/dinnertime-with-chickies/s-0OSXI)
Please leave us with a quote from one of your books!
Cheep! Cheep! Cheep!
I invite you to follow Kidsbook Friends on Facebook and subscribe to my blog at http://www.kidsbookfriends.com to receive kids’ book titles geared for ages infants to eleven. Each post features a kids’ book summary and review with 7 correlating questions, activities and/or crafts. Teachers will get good ideas to add to their lesson plans and families will get specific ways to interact with their children through reading. I welcome your feedback!
Thanks, Angela Henderson