I live in a very creative community. Serious musicsions, poets, sculpters and writers. As I have opportunity, I want to highlight these creative people and point you in the direction of their work. One of the ways that I'd like to do that is by doing an interview with them as possible.
Andrea Struckmeyer is one such author. She has written a book called, "That Blankey." It is a delightful book that I have read to my children. Below is a written account of an interview between Andrea and I.
1. Tell us a little bit about the process of writing a childrens book. I have quite a few friends that have written books for adults and that market seems quite clear to me. I'm curious about the children's market.
That Blankey is based on the true story of my son Nick's blankey. For several years, I kept saying that I wanted to write a children's book about that blankey, but every year time and inspiration seemed to allude me.
2. Tell me about how you picked the characters. The story is written from a boy's perspective but you are obviously a woman. Was there a reason for this or did it just happen that way?
I drafted a few different versions over the past several years - a book of rhyming couplets, a longer personal narrative, but it never seemed quite right. Then one Summer night, I sat down and began to write the story from my older son's perspective. The way someone who is just short of five years old might perceive life, a little brother and an ever-present blankey.
3. Why did you choose first person?
I think telling the story from the older brother's perspective adds voice and personality to the story. It also makes the book more relevant. If the reader doesn't relate to the boy with the blankey, he/she can probably relate to the sibling of the blankey-lover. Everyone knows a kid who is attached to a blankey!
4. Your father-in-law illustrated the book, tell us a little about collaborating with family (an idea I love by the way).
Right about the time I was ready to publish the book, my father-in-law was retiring from a graphic design firm. It seemed only fitting that a first-time author join forces with a first-time illustrator. He had never done anything like this, so it took some coaxing to get him on board. It was his idea to do the book black and white with just the yellow of the blankey. So far, the color choices seem to be a big hit with kids. They love watching the yellow blankey fall apart throughout the story and when they get to the end and see that little yellow string...well, it's like magic!
5. Can you tell us about the inspiration for the book? Is this something that has been bouncing around inside your head for a while? Did you outline the book? Can you tell us about the creative process from start to finish?What's been your favorite part of the process so far?
My favorite part about the Blankey project so far is school visits. First I share my blankey story with the students and then I ask them to share their blankey stories with me. They do such an amazing job writing their blankey stories. The love of a blankey is such a universal topic.
6. Are there more books coming?
Right now, I have several book ideas bouncing around in my head. I am hoping to get some time over the Holidays to finish a draft of the first book in a series of chapter books about a spunky little girl named Spaghetti Anne!
If 20 of you, my favorite readers buy the book (which would make a great Christmas gift) this week by clicking on any of the links provided in this post, I will enter everyone into a drawing to receive a twenty-five dollar gift certificate to Amazon.