Happy birthday to the Wonder of Words blog! Today marks our one year anniversary and we couldn’t have done it without our readers and our awesome guests. So, thank you all!
Speaking of awesome guests, today’s blog post is about a story I first read on a twitter pitch event. As soon as I read Amanda Jackson’s query and first lines, I knew this would be a real-live book one day.
Welcome to the Wonder of Words, Amanda! I’m so glad we connected during Study Hall and in the debut group, New in Nineteen. I’m excited about your beautiful and important book coming out. When and where did you get the inspiration for your square-who-wants-to-roll-like-a-circle story?
It was late 2016, during the one year my husband and I lived in Northern California. We moved there for his job, and the circumstances were such that I didn’t work. That gave me the time and brain-space to discover my love of writing for kids. So, that’s actually when I started writing picture book stories altogether. That’s one reason I will always be thankful for that crazy year.
I have a deep hope for a more inclusive and understanding society. That hope was what inspired this story. Sam is for anyone who feels they don’t fit, in whatever way.
Such a beautiful hope and your book captures that sentiment perfectly. I love it. And it’s amazing what we can accomplish when we have the brain-space! What is your favorite part of the creative process?
I have two favorites:
– Inspiration. Who doesn’t love being inspired?? There’s nothing like discovering a new idea for a new story. It feels like falling in love.
– Revision. After the initial excitement of inspiration, drafting the story can feel like slogging through mud. But once I get it on the page, and it has every element it needs, I love all the little challenges that come with smoothing it out and making it shine.
Falling in inspiration is the best. Do you have other creative outlets or hobbies? Do they ever cross into your writing?
I do! I enjoy cooking, crocheting, and crafting. I haven’t seen them cross into my writing yet, but they do play an important role. Sometimes my writing muscles need a break, and they offer other creative options.
Love the alliteration, Amanda 😉 Do you have any tips about finding creativity?
My best tip would be to try to pay attention. Because I really think creative inspiration is all around us, and it’s more a matter of recognizing it. I do my best to be aware of the moments I feel that creative spark—moments that makes me laugh, curious, explore, cry, ask questions, get angry. Those are usually the moments that hold that starts to stories.
The act of paying attention is so important. Creativity usually seems to inspire more creativity. Do you have another book project you’re working on that you could give us a hint about?
Sure! When I began writing, I naturally gravitated toward more serious stories. Lately I’ve been playing with punchier, sillier stories that make me laugh as I write them. Such a fun change of pace!
I love silly stories, can’t wait to read ‘em! Thanks so much for being here, Amanda. I have My Shape is Sam preordered and am looking forward to Sam rolling in!
Blurb: “In this debut picture book, Sam is a square who lives in a world where everyone has a job to do, depending on their shape. But Sam doesn’t want to stack like the other squares…
He wants to roll like a circle!”
Published by Page Street Kids, wonderful illustrations by Lydia Nichols
Here’s the link to her author website where you can preorder My Shape is Sam, out September 17th: www.AmandaJacksonBooks.com
What is a hope you harbor that could inspire others? Comment by Sept 13th with yours, or mention your latest picture book work-in-progress, and as a special birthday gift to our readers, one lucky random comment will be chosen to get a critique not just from me, but from the whole Wonder of Words team!