I've always loved to write stories and draw cartoons. I was inspired in my childhood by the children's books that I grew up with (many of which stayed in my room through high school), as well as Mad magazine.
Which came first – the idea for illustrations or the text?
The illustrations of my baby character came first. I had drawn the baby in my notes during an infant CPR class that I took shortly after I had my son. The nurse was telling us about one horrible thing after another that could happen to our new babies.
Are you more an illustrator or a writer?
How did you go about finding a publisher?
When I worked at Microsoft, I met several other artists who wanted to publish children's books. I learned about a class at the School of Visual Concepts in Seattle on writing and illustrating children's books taught by two published author/illustrators, Keith Baker and Laura McGee Kvasnosky.
During my first year out of college, I was trying to figure out how I could become a cartoonist or illustrator. One of my favorite Mad Magazine illustrators was Jack Davis. My now husband encouraged me to call him and ask him how to get started as a cartoonist.
We have all experienced writing rejection. How have you learned to write past it?
My new middle-grade novel, The Rizzlerunk Club: Best Buds Under Frogs, was inspired by events from my own fourth-grade year when I moved to a new school. My editor told me that elements of the story weren't believable. My response was always, "But that's how it happened!"
What has surprised you the most in writing/publishing? What frustrated you the most?
I am surprised by how little a published writer knows about what is going on with sales and marketing of the product. Writers are kept in the dark about numbers. We really only know how a book is selling when the bi-annual royalties statement is mailed out. It makes planning difficult and doesn't provide much of a sense of control over the success of a book.
What do you know now about writing you wished you had known sooner?
Writing is a lonely endeavor! To create a book requires many, many hours of alone time. For a social person, that can be difficult. Luckily, I have my audio books to keep me company!
Tell me one of your favorite bits of writing advice.
James Barrie, the author of Peter Pan, said, "Cut it in half, leaving nothing out." Fantastic advice.
Are there any other points about writing you would like to add?
What is the next book that will be coming out? Can you give me a short synopsis?
My next two baby board books are called, Tooth and Big Kid Bed and will be available in September! I'm especially excited about Tooth because my dad was a dentist and my mom was a hygienist, so tooth-care was a topic of great importance in our household!