- author of the Kylie Jean Series
- author of the Kylie Jean Series
Tell us a little bit about you.
I live in Texas with husband, Joe, and a crazy little black and white cat named Phoebe. I have two grown up children. My son is a nurse and my daughter is a teacher.
During the day I am an elementary school librarian. When I am not busy being a librarian or writing books I like to travel. I have been to forty-three of the fifty states and seven other countries. I love tea parties and even had tea at the Ritz in London!
What made you decide to write these books? What was your inspiration for the Kylie Jean series?
Sometimes a book finds you. My niece Kylie Jean is part of the inspiration for these books. I think she is adorable, of course, and because she has such a cute personality I started to think that I could write some books about her. Kylie Jean is a real true little queen, but most of the things that happen to her in books are made up by me.
What’s your writing process like?
I am constantly writing. Some authors like to make notes and do outlines. I do too, but I also do a lot of pre-writing and revising in my head. This means everywhere I go and everything I do I am thinking with my “author brain”. I get a lot of ideas from things I see or trips I take. Names of people and places are very interesting to me. I got the name Lucy [Kylie Jean’s cousin] from a creek called Little Lucy Creek and Lickskillet for Lickskillet Farm from a street sign. You never know when you might stumble on to a good idea, so I am always on the lookout.
The Kylie Jean books have such a strong voice. How did you create the character? And how do you feel about the way the illustrator, Tuesday Mourning, has captured her?
As I said before there really is a Kylie Jean, so it is easy for me to imagine her as a character, how she sounds, looks and acts. I love, love, love the way Tuesday illustrated Kylie Jean. She just took my words and made them into a perfect picture.
You’re a school librarian. Talk a little about your experience getting kids to love reading.
It is important to make reading a celebration. I host reading contests and fun reading events.
The best way to get kids excited about reading is find out what excites them. It’s just like a little puzzle or a mystery. Once you find out what they like all you have to do is help them find it!
What’s the best part of your job as a writer? As a librarian?
The best part of my job as writer is creating fun characters that readers feel like they know.
The best part of being librarian is helping students find a just right book that they love and can’t wait to read.
What’s next for Kylie Jean?
Kylie Jean will be having some fun adventures singing, dancing, spelling, and cheering her way to her goal of being a beauty queen. I think Kylie Jean would have a lot fun being a cupcake queen.
Maybe she could have a baking adventure next!
What are your favorite kinds of books to illustrate?
I enjoy illustrating children’s picture books that have interesting, silly, curious, quirky, caring, adventurous, unique, strong and lovable characters.
Do you have different illustration styles for different types of books? If so, can you briefly describe them?
I do have a few style changes depending on the project at hand. For younger picture
books and early readers (such as Kylie Jean) my illustration style often tends to be more simple, silly and expressive. For older characters or more sophisticated stories or (ie. young adult novels, etc.) I often flesh out the illustrations a bit with slightly more depth and detail. And many times, it ends up being a mixture of two of these styles.
What was your favorite part of illustrating Kylie Jean?
I love how fun, playful and expressive Kylie Jean is. Her personality was incredibly fun to illustrate. With each new illustration, and with new each book, I came to love Kylie (and her family and friends) more and more.
What is your favorite part of being an illustrator?
I love being introduced to new characters and bringing them to life. Each time I meet a new little friend to illustrate my creativity is full, I’m inspired and very happy.
How do you begin to create a character?
It’s definitely important to capture the personality of the character along with their physical attributes. I try to read as much as I can about the character until I feel like I really know who they are. After that, finding them with the pencil becomes much more easy and entirely enjoyable.
With two small children, how do you find time to illustrate?
Good question! I still don’t really know :). I try to be a mom by day and an illustrator by night...but we have our “Let’s sit on the couch and watch a movie today kids!” times for sure. My children also love to watch me draw and my oldest finds it fun to see how things go from the sketch stage all the way to the published book stage.
What kinds of projects do you like to work on in your free time?
I love anything visual so if I’m not working on a book I love to create things for my children and for my home. I love to sew, craft, design, you name it.
Is there anything else you would like to add?
Just that I’m incredibly lucky and grateful to be doing what I love so much! I have plans to write and illustrate a few picture books of my own and that is something I’m really looking forward to. So stay tuned!
note: all questions, answers and images (except the pink swirl separator) are courtesy of the Kylie Jean Press Kit from Capstone Publishers through NetGalley.com