Jen’s bio:Jennifer enjoys writing quirky and humorous stories for children. She has a BS in Sociology. She was born and raised in Southern Connecticut, and now resides in South Jersey with her husband and three children. Jennifer’s picture book Poison Apple Pie now available through MeeGenius Children’s Books and her picture book A Cherry Tomato on Top will be available before the fall of 2013 through Willow Moon Publishing. She is a member of SCWBI. Her blog: Jennifer Young –Castles in the Sky: http://jennyleeyoung.blogspot.com/ Twitter: https://twitter.com/#!/ItsJennyYoung
Deirdra: What was the pathway like for you to get your first book published?
Jennifer: I made a few mistakes along the way. I was eager to send out my not-so-ready manuscripts before having them truly edited. My second mistake was not joining a critique group right away which made way for a bumpy pathway. In 2008, I joined the CBI clubhouse and was able to start my own critique group. During the fall of 2011, I signed my very first picture book contract for A Cherry Tomato on Top with Willow Moon Publishing. Then, six months later on March 23rd 2012 my first children’s book Poison Apple Pie was published.
Deirdra: Were you ever discouraged along the way? If so, how did you deal with it?
Jennifer: Yes! I’m always feeling discouraged about my writing. I still don’t know as much as I like to know about getting my stories published, therefore I do a lot of research. Most recently I joined a wonderful and supportive writing challenge hosted by Julie Hedlund. It’s called 12 x 12 in 2012 where you have to write one picture book draft a month for an entire year.
Deirdra: Where do your ideas come from? How do you know the idea is good enough to write a book about it?
Jennifer: Just about everywhere, but most of my ideas come from everyday tasks with my three kids. I know the idea is good enough when I’m trying to write my first draft and I have a hard time putting my pen down. Also, it helps when my husband likes my idea from the get go.
Deirdra: What is your process of brainstorming a story? Do you just sit down and write, waiting to see what happens next? Or do you outline first?
Jennifer: I typically jot down notes whenever I’m waiting for anything. Then, when I have free time I’ll lay them out to write my first draft. Then, I edit, edit, edit. After that I send it to be critiqued.
Deirdra: Do you need absolute quiet to write? Do you listen to music when you are writing?
Jennifer: I like it quite when I’m thinking about an idea but when I write it out it doesn’t matter what I’m listening to.
Deirdra: What is your favorite snack to have while you are writing?
Jennifer: Is coffee a snack? If so, I like mine with two creams and one sugar.
Deirdra: Besides writing what other talents or hobbies do you have?
Jennifer: I love to draw and I’m a want-to-be painter.
Deirdra: What is the most difficult thing about being an author?
Jennifer: Since I’m still a newbie published author, for me it was calling myself an author and then believing it.
Deirdra: What is the best thing about being an author?
Jennifer: I’m going to say my favorite part was having my book illustrated. I was so excited to see how the artwork made the story come alive. Also, I loved my first school visit. The students were so enthusiastic and welcoming with all their questions.
Deirdra: Where can readers go to find your books and order them?
Jennifer: Poison Apple Pie is available through MeeGenius.com. For the direct link and free preview visit: http://meegenius.com/book/6067/poison-apple-pie
Thank you so much. It’s a real honor to get your insights.
You’re welcome and thank you for inviting me on your lovely blog, Deirdra!
Poison Apple Pie excerpt-
Winka’s wand starts cracking and ruins all her spells. She decides to quit her job as a witch and try out other jobs in fairy tale land that might be more fitting.