Thursday, August 1, 2013

Meet the Author of How Long Will You Love Me?

Meet Friday's Fave Children's Literature author Patti Brassard Jefferson, author and illustrator of How Long Will You Love Me?  She gives excellent advice for aspiring authors.

WD:What inspired you to become a children's author?

PBJ: I think that I wrote my first story when I was 8 or so and it was a tale of a group of kids in the neighborhood and the secret club that they formed in in a tree house. Write what you know, right? As years went by, I think that writing became less fun because there were grades and rules and restrictions. When my daughter was born in 1986, I started to tell her stories and started writing again - mostly because it was fun again. Last year I finally finished all the poems and illustrations for my first children's book and published it this month.

WD: What book(s) have you written that you would like to tell us about?
PBJ: How Long Will You Love Me is a collection of answers to a pretty important question. I think we all have asked at one time or another and the answers in the book help us to see that some love is endless. Each page states a total impossibility and the promise to love until it actually happens: until birds give up flying for commercial air travel, bunnies sing the blues, dolphins lay on the beach getting tan, balloons are made of rocks, freckles play golf, etc. Each silly answer rhymes so that its easy to repeat and the watercolor illustrations on each page also include a hidden heart for the reader to find. It's a sweet book.


WD:Do you have any favorite childhood books?
PBJ: I don't actually remember specific books from my own childhood although I do have vivid memories of reading with the adults in my life including my great grandparents. I was a huge fan of the Trixie Belden and Nancy Drew books and to this day I enjoy a good mystery.

When my daughter was small, we always enjoyed the Carl books by Alexandra Day because we had rottweilers ourselves and because we could change up the stories to fit the illustrations. A school visit from Marc Brown made her an automatic Arthur fan but I think her favourite was "When You Give A Moose A Muffin" by Laura Numeroff.

WD:Do you have advice for aspiring writers?
PBJ: Yeah... get your book out there! Let people read it. Get honest critiques. When you are ready, work with a compatible illustrator and find a publisher that inspires you. My publisher, Lisa Umina from Halo Publishing International, is an award-winning children's book author herself so she gets the process and has been a great mentor.

If you can't publish traditionally, self-publish. If you can't afford to self-publish, run a KickStarter campaign to raise the funds (I did!). Just do whatever it takes, for as long as it takes to get your book out there.

Don't be afraid of not being successful. Be afraid of not trying.