Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Author Interview with Michelle Meadows

The first book written by Michelle Meadows that I read to my daughter was PIGGIES IN THE KITCHEN (Simon & Schuster, illustrated by Ard Hoyt). My daughter and I enjoyed the rhyming story of these young pigs baking up a storm in the kitchen for their mother, and my daughter especially liked finishing up the rhyme for me at the end of each page. My daughter and I also liked PILOT PUPS (Simon & Schuster, illustrated by Dan Andreasen), another book written by Michelle Meadows, which is a story about toy puppies exploring their house by piloting a toy plane. Recently, I contacted Michelle for an interview.

Born and raised in Washington D.C., Michelle resides in Maryland today. She attended Syracuse University where she earned a B.A. in magazine journalism.

How did you decide you wanted to be a children's book author?
I remember being very young and thinking about writing books. But I really got into it seriously after I had my son. I loved reading to him all the time and sold my first book when he was around 2.
I enjoy the rhyming in your books. How did you develop your rhyming and poetry skills? Is there a specific meter you use when you write?
I love rhyming! I really enjoy reading poetry and find it very relaxing. I was in a poetry club when I was younger. I can't say that there is a specific meter that I use; I tend to go with the rhythm that pops into my head.

What are the benefits of using animals as your main characters?
I tend to use animals as main characters because they are cute. And I think it's funny to imagine animals doing things that people do. I find that kids think so too. So the benefits include encouraging kids to stretch their imaginations and imagine things like animals in pajamas or toy pups riding motorcycles.

What advice do you have for aspiring picture book authors?
I strongly believe that authors should write what they love to read. For example, if an author doesn't really enjoy reading poetry, it may not be the best fit to write poetry.

Who were your favorite authors growing up? What are/were your favorite rhyming books? 
My favorite authors were Judy Blume and Shel Silverstein. I have a zillion favorite rhyming books! I especially love the work of Judy Sierra and Eileen Spinelli. Eileen Spinelli's HERE COMES THE YEAR has the most lovely language and I enjoy reading it
again and again. And I love Judy Sierra's WILD ABOUT BOOKS.   

Any upcoming projects you’d like to mention?
I am very excited about my next picture book—ITSY BITSY BABY MOUSE. ITSY BITSY BABY MOUSE (Simon & Schuster) is a rhyming story about the drama a little mouse experiences when he gets lost in a big house. I have an awful sense of direction so there is a lot of me in this mouse. And just like the mouse, I have gotten lost and had moments of panic. This book will be released on March 6 and I hope kids like it. 

Thanks for doing the interview. 

You're very welcome!