Happy 2018! Thank you for joining me for KidLit Coffee Talk. Today, I’m so excited to have my friend Shelley Kinder here with me. Shelley and I met through our publisher, Clear Fork Publishing. She was kind enough to share a virtual cup of coffee with me and chat about her debut picture book, Not So Scary Jerry. Not So Scary Jerry was released in September 2017 with Clear Fork Publishing and was illustrated by Caryn Schafer.
Despite the freezing temperature, I’ve got my Dunkin Donuts iced coffee. What kind of coffee (or tea) do you like to drink?
I don’t drink coffee or tea on a daily basis, but I’m learning more about the benefits of coffee, so I’ve been drinking it more. I wish I could be the person that drinks it with no sweetener, but I’m definitely not that person. I add milk and organic maple syrup, which tastes amazing. When I drink tea, it’s usually green tea with honey and sometimes lemon. Our house runs on the cold side, so these warm drinks are nice this time of year.
Tell me a little bit about yourself and your writing journey.
I’ve had a writer inside of me since childhood, but it took me a really (I mean really) long time to do something about it. When my oldest two were maybe three and four, my interest in picture books really came alive and I began to dabble in writing. That was around 2012. Then, in 2014, I took a local writing class, which ignited my fire more. Then, in 2015, I wrote a rhyming story for Susanna Hill’s Halloweensie contest and won. That really ignited something in me, and I was determined to make writing a huge part of my life.
2017 was an exciting year for you, with your first picture book published! Tell me about Not So Scary Jerry.
Jerry is a quirky monster who just can’t get it together in the scary department. He’d rather be painting rocks, giving pedicures, or thumb wrestling, although cooking and hugging are probably his favorite activities. Friendship and self-acceptance are the major themes in the book. My illustrator, Caryn Schafer, brought an adorable pug into the story. I love his expressions. We call him Burrito.
Ha ha, I love Burrito! Jerry has quickly become one of my favorite picture book characters. His quirks are so endearing. What was the most exciting part of the publication process? What was the hardest?
It was exciting holding the book for the first time, but I think I was even more excited when my Kirkus review came in, and it was positive. The hardest thing for me was probably waiting – for the book to be finished and for the Kirkus review to come back.
Yes, the waiting can be so hard. What else are you working on?
My mom is illustrating my second book, called The Masterpiece, about God painting the sunrise into the sky. She’s putting in a lot of hours right now. God bless her. We have periodic meetings to touch base and make sure everything is on track.
I’m sort of bouncing all over the place right now with my writing. I’m entering a story into the KidLit College contest, so I’ve been working a lot on revisions for that. I’m also working on a faith based story that I’m highly passionate about, but can’t seem to get it quite right. Yet. I think I need to pray more about that one.
I can’t wait to read The Masterpiece. How has life changed for you since becoming a published author?
Life has changed in some ways, but my life is mostly the same, with the added tasks of marketing and promoting my book. Now, I have to manage my time more wisely, leaving time for both writing and marketing (and fun interviews like this one).
I agree, good time management is so important for a writer to have. What’s one picture book you loved when you were little and a more recent one you love now?
Are You My Mother? was a childhood favorite. I also loved Dr. Seuss’s ABC book. I mean who doesn’t love a Zizzer-Zazzer-Zuzz? It’s hard to pick just one recent favorite, so I’m going to cheat and list a few: Creepy Carrots (the ending is genius), No, David! (I fall more in love with David each time), and Froodle (I love made-up words and sounds, so this book just fits my personality). There are so many more. What a hard question!
There are just so many amazing picture books on the market today, it’s hard to choose just one! Right now, I’m reading Perfect Ruin, a YA SFF by Lauren DeStefano. What are you currently reading?
Wonder just came in the mail, and I plan to start reading it soon. I would have gotten it from the library, but the holds list was way too long.
You will LOVE Wonder. Last question, what is one thing most people don’t know about you?
I’m not the typical writer in the sense that I was the kid who always had a book in her hand. I did read, but I definitely wasn’t a bookworm like some of my friends. Even today, I read mostly picture books and rarely pick up a novel. When I do read a novel, I like it to have a little romance in it. I loved I’ve Got Your Number, by Sophie Kinsella. If I ever venture into novel writing, I think I’d enjoy writing something with that sort of feel. Or possibly something deep and spiritual (with a little romance). I have no idea where this writing journey will take me, but it sure is fun!
Thank you, Jenna, for having me. I hope you have an amazing 2018!
Thank YOU so much for joining, Shelley!
To learn more about Shelley Kinder, visit her author page at https://www.clearforkpublishing.com/shelley-kinder.html
Connect with Shelley on social media:
Twitter – @KinderWrites
Instagram – @shelleykinderauthor
Facebook – fb.me/shelleyannkinder