- By supernovamommy
- 14 June, 2012
- Comments Off
I have a confession to make, I have ALWAYS been an eavesdropper. It comes from being the oldest cousin in a large family. I didn’t quite fit in at the kids’ table, so from a young age I would sit with the adults and listen to all the family gossip. A couple of months ago at t-ball, I overheard a mom discussing her latest book with a friend and somehow inserted myself into the conversation. It turns out that this local mom is children’s book author, Ann Bonwill, and her picture books are funny, witty, and entertaining. Read my interview with Ann below:
1) How did you start your career as a children’s book author?
I’ve enjoyed writing since I was a child. I got away from creative writing while I was in high school and college, but returned to it when inspired by my Montessori students. I wrote for several years before connecting with my first editor at Oxford University Press. I met her at a Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators (SCBWI) conference while living in England. SCBWI (www.scbwi.org) has been an invaluable resource, which I would highly recommend to anyone interested in writing or illustrating for kids.
2) Where do you get inspiration for story ideas?
My ideas bloom from a combination of observation and imagination. I collect ideas from everywhere, or as one little boy at a school visit put it, from the universe! Some of my books are inspired by nature, some by family and friends, and others by experiences in my own life. Naughty Toes grew out of my memories of ballet classes that I took as a girl. Bug and Bear and I Don’t Want to be a Pea are both about friendships, a common theme for me inspired by my own favorite books from childhood.
3) From start to finish, what is the typical timeline for publishing one of your books?
My writing process really varies. Sometimes I can get a draft written in a matter of hours, others take much longer. Once the first draft is done, I spend a lot of time editing on my own and with critique partners. Then I show it to my agent and do edits with her. Once a story is sold, the timeline is about two years until publication. I usually go through a round of edits with my editor and then it’s out of my hands for a year plus while the publisher works with the illustrator. Finally the book comes together and the marketing begins. It’s hard to be patient, but it’s so rewarding to see my words come to life in the final product.
4) What are your plans for the future? Any upcoming new releases?
I have three picture books coming out next year. One, I am not a Copycat!, is the sequel to I Don’t Want to be a Pea! and features hippo and bird friends Hugo and Bella. There is also one about a forgetful family, The Frazzle Family Finds a Way, and a rhyming bedtime book, When Mermaids Sleep. I am currently working on more picture book manuscripts and also trying my hand at longer stories for middle grade readers.
5) Tell us about your family.
I have a wonderful husband, Matt, who is very supportive of my writing, and an amazing 4 year old son, Sam, who is just beginning to understand that Mommy writes stories. We are lucky to have both sets of grandparents living in the area. And I can’t forget our funny dog, Arthur, a Cardigan Welsh Corgi.
6) Now time for my signature question! As a parent in the Northern Virginia area, please share with us your favorite kid-friendly place to go with your family?
We live near Burke Lake Park and you can find us there often! There’s a playground and picnic facilities, a train and carousel, and even mini-golf. A nice place to spend a day outdoors.