Author Q&A: Tanya Kyi Lloyd

TANYA KYI LLOYD is the author of more than 25 books for children and young adults. Her most recent works are Me and Banksy (Penguin Random House) and Under Pressure (Kids Can Press). Tanya lives in Vancouver with her husband and two children.

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What was your favourite book when you were a child?
I loved A Wrinkle in Time by Madeleine L’Engle. And I still love it today!

Did you ever write a fan letter to an author?
I’m not sure I realized that was possible. I grew up in a small town and while my house was full of books, most of them were classics or hand-me-downs. It wasn’t until high school that I realized authors lived and worked in the real world.

How did you learn to write for children?
After university, I got a job doing graphic design at Whitecap Books, a publishing house in North Vancouver. At the time, they were looking for someone to write a book about famous Canadian Girls. I must have walked by the publisher’s office at just the right moment… The book was Canadian Girls Who Rocked the World, and writing it showed me how much fun children’s books could be to research and create.

What is your favourite activity that has nothing to do with writing?
Picnics! Preferably on a grassy spot near the beach.

Who is your favourite kids’ author now?
That’s a hard one. I admire so many writers. Rebecca Stead is one of my favourite, because she gets the emotional tone of her books so perfect. Rachelle Delaney constantly makes me laugh. I secretly wish I were half as cool as Heather Smith. The list continues…

TK1Do you have a new book coming out soon?
This is Your Brain on Stereotypes (Kids Can Press) comes out in Fall 2020. It’s all about how our brain sorts and categorizes, somethings without our conscious knowledge. I learned SO much while writing it, and I can’t wait for its release!

What are you writing these days?
I just finished the editing changes on a picture book called Our Green City, to be released by Kids Can Press in 2022. (So long to wait!) It’s my first real picture book, and I’ve never had so much fun working on a project. It makes me happy every time I open the manuscript.

Can you share one strange, weird, or wonderful thing about you?
I’m very good at finding things. In our house, “nothing’s lost until Mommy can’t find it.” But I’m thinking of denying people my finding abilities, so they stop losing things so darned often!

Do you write regularly, or just when you feel like it?
I try to write for a couple hours every morning. Life sometimes gets in the way, but I do my best.

How do you like editing and revising?
I actually enjoy the editing process. I think of editors as people who are trying to make me sound smarter than I really am.

What question do you wish I had asked?
Do you have a writing group?
I have the best writing group ever: Stacey Matson, Rachelle Delaney, Kallie George, Lori Sherritt-Fleming, Kay Weisman, Sara Gillingham, and Holman Wang. They are wise and funny and I’m sure I would get nothing written without them.

Thanks so much, Tanya 
 
Find out more about Tanya and her work.

Next up: Cathey Nickell 


Some days this is what writing looks like – a pome

 

Some days this is what writing looks like
by L J P

Some days it’s a bloody grind
like shoving a heavy load uphill
without knowing what the view will be like
from the top.

It can be a slow slog, a stagger, a plod
With the occasional moment of free flight
lightening the load
especially when there’s someone to lend
a steady hand, a kind word
or a good shove from behind.

The only way to do it is
step by step bird by bird
one word, phrase, line, scene,
page, chapter, section,
after        the        other
accepting that you might not know
what it will look like when it’s done
but with any luck
if you still give a fuck
it will turn out
okay.

And if all else fails
and the dog’s dinner before you
is something even the dog won’t eat

take a break
take a hike
call a friend, turn the page
wash a floor, iron a shirt

or write a pome.

It can’t hurt.

Revising-cartoon


Author Q & A: Mark David Smith


Mark
Smith teaches children by day, and writes for them by night. He lives in Port Coquitlam, BC with his lovely wife, adorable children, and obnoxious cats.
 He is the author of Caravaggio, Signed in Blood.

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What is the book you most clearly remember from when you were a child?
Gordon Korman’s Bruno and Boots books were hilarious—they always created the kind of mischief I wished I had the guts to try. As an alternative, CS Lewis’s sci-fi Perelandra always stood out for me as creepy, weird and fascinating.

Did you ever write a fan letter to an author? If so, who to, and did they write back?
I never wrote them as a kid, but I’ve written a few now as an adult. My highlight moment came when Ken Follett retweeted me.

How did you learn to write? What is one writing book or website you’d recommend to anyone else wanting to learn?
I like how you use the past tense, as if that learning is over! Ha! I really benefitted from a book on editing called The First Five Pages, by Noah Lukeman. I lent it out once and then was terrified I wouldn’t get it back. From now on, friends, get your own copy!

What is your favourite hobby or activity that has nothing to do with writing or reading?
I really like power tools, especially my pneumatic nailing gun. Unlike writing or teaching, construction yields immediate results. I’ve never been good at delayed gratification!

Who is your favourite kids’ author now?
Well, I’m very partial to Mo Willems’s pigeon, and Kate DiCamillo’s Mercy Watson series is something I can’t get enough of. For older kids, all things Kenneth Oppel will do!

Do you have a new book coming out soon?
Soon is a relative term in the world of writing. I’ll say, “Yes.” By yes, I mean sort of: I have a picture book coming in the fall of 2021, and then in Spring of 2022 the first of a series of beginning chapter book mysteries, both with OwlKids Books.

What are you writing these days?
I’ve just finished editing a YA historical novel that I’m beginning to shop around, and I’m going back into a few stories I’ve had rejected that I would really like to retool. If a story is rejected but I can’t shake it from my mind, that’s a good indication there’s something there. I just haven’t quite found it yet.

Do you write regularly, or just when you feel like it?
Who ever feels like it? It’s a compulsion, really. Everybody needs a vice, and I don’t smoke. But I teach full time, and have three school-aged kids, so this compulsion is managed in fits and starts. My regular is somewhat irregular.

Caravaggio_coverspineback_4_Layout 1How do you like editing and revising?
Like exercise: it feels great when it’s done. But that sounds cynical. The truth is I find it satisfying to take a clunky sentence and streamline it so that it zips, or sings, or dances, or whatever metaphor means “it sounds good.”

Can you share one strange, weird or wonderful thing about you?
That’s tough. Everyone knows what’s strange about a person except that person. Aren’t I completely, 100% normal? (Don’t ask my children. They’re biased.) I know my wife used to hate the fact that I insisted we not dig into the popcorn before the movie started, but she has broken me of this. Now, what’s weird? I really like brushing the dead fur off of my cats—sometimes I get so much it looks like I’m holding a second pet. I could also pull clover from the grass for hours if I’m allowed. Are the two practices are related?

What is the answer to the one question you wished I had asked?
Chocolate. It probably doesn’t matter what the question is. In fact, I’m thinking I should revise all my previous answers now.

Thanks, Mark!

Find out more



Next up: Tanya Lloyd Kyi

If you or a writer you know one would like to be profiled on my blog, please contact me.


Author Q & A: Barbara Renner

US author Barbara Renner has written eight picture books that all contain facts about wildlife and include QR Codes so the animal calls can be heard.

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What is the book you most clearly remember from when you were a child?
I liked to read mysteries, so the books I remember reading as a young girl are the Nancy Drew books by Carolyn Keene. I still have my original collection.

Did you ever write a fan letter to an author? If so, who to, and did they write back?
No, I don’t recall writing a fan letter to an author. If so, it probably would have been to Carolyn Keene. I wanted to be Nancy Drew.

How did you learn to write? What is one writing book or website you’d recommend to anyone else wanting to learn?
The creative writing class in high school and a writing class at Arizona State University were very influential in forming my love for writing. Lately I’ve been watching a lot of webinars. I would recommend books by Ann Whitford Paul and articles by Harold Underdown to learn about the craft of writing picture books.

What is your favourite hobby or activity that has nothing to do with writing or reading?
Walking, hiking, gardening, playing golf, and anything outdoors are the activities I enjoy the most. I also love to travel – anywhere and everywhere.

Who is your favourite author right now?
Just one? To name a few, my favorite authors are Kate DiCamillo, Jane Yolen, Lisa Genova and Erma Bombeck

Do you have a new book coming out soon?
The second book in my Trumpeter Swan series, Summer! Time to Search for Food, will be available this summer. I’m also working on a book about my dog, Larry’s Words of Wisdom. It will be ready by the end of the year.

What are you writing these days?
I’m working on two informational fiction picture books. One book is about two female painted turtles who intuitively feel it’s time to leave their lake and find soft, sandy soil. They encounter several dangerous obstacles, one of which is crossing a busy road. The other book is about a roadrunner who wants to compete in a flying contest with his raptor friends. I also write a weekly blog on my website and am making the final revisions to the Larry’s Words of Wisdom book.

Do you write regularly, or just when you feel like it?
Since I’ve had so much free time lately, I’ve been writing almost every day.

How do you like editing and revising?
Unfortunately, I tend to edit as I write, which is why I haven’t tackled writing a novel . . . yet. After my critique partners give me feedback on my picture book manuscripts, I let them cure for a while, and then I’m ready to revise. Actually, it’s quite exciting to see how the story will change.

Can you share one strange, weird or wonderful thing about you?
I tend to be a little OCD. My spices are alphabetized, and my desk is either in terrible disarray or well organized with papers in folders and trays.

What’s the answer to the one question you wished I had asked?
What are your plans for the near future?
My friend and I are taking a river cruise up the Rhine River in April 2021, and I want to travel to either Scotland or the Scandinavian countries with my adult children next summer.

Thanks, Barbara

Find out more about Barbara Renner
     Check her website
     Find her books through www.indiebound.org.


Next up: Mark David Smith

If you, or a writer you know, would like to be interviewed, please contact me.