Many of you are particularly interested in writing picture books. California author Lori Mortensen writes adorable, lively picture books as well as marketable nonfiction. She’s the perfect subject for an interview on this blog! I spoke with Lori recently and here’s what she had to say:
SRR: Lori, you are a prolific author of both picture books and nonfiction titles for young readers. Which do you enjoy writing most? What challenges do you face with each kind of writing?
LM: Picking a favorite is difficult. When I choose to work on a project, it’s because I’m excited about telling the story whether it’s a nonfiction subject, or a fun, rambunctious picture book story. When I’m writing nonfiction, such as my books about the French scientist who proved the earth turned, or exploring the lives of honey bees, I’m excited to find those fascinating bits of information and share them with young readers. When I’m writing fiction, it’s fun to jump into the thick of a story and see what will happen. I particularly enjoyed writing my upcoming picture book Cowpoke Clyde & Dirty Dawg about a cowpoke, who completed his chores, but found one thing he’d plum forgot—his dirty dawg. When I started writing it, I had no idea how it would end.
SRR: Do you have a favorite book among your many titles?If so, tell us why it is your favorite.
LM: One of my favorites is Cindy Moo, released last spring by HarperCollins. I got the idea when I was wandering around my local thrift store and happened to see a little statuette of a spotted cow sitting on a crescent moon. I instantly wondered how she got there and knew it could be the beginning of a fun picture book. Jeff Mack did a great job of bringing my story to life in his illustrations. My ultimate favorite is my upcoming picture book with Clarion–Cowpoke Clyde & Dirty Dawg. It’s wild, and rambunctious—and who hasn’t matched wits with a dog at some point? Michael Allen Austin’s over the top illustrations are a perfect match!
SRR: Any advice for those looking to get into writing for kids?
LM: Yes—keep writing, revising, and submitting! It takes determination and persistence to achieve one’s writing goals. When I looked back at the submission lists for my last four releases, I discovered I’d submitted each of them about seventeen times before they found an editor who loved them. Just because someone else passes, doesn’t mean someone else won’t love it.
SRR: Anything else you’d like to share with our readers?
LM: I’m excited about my latest rhyming picture book sale to Bloomsbury. Check back at my blog and website for more information when it’s available.
SRR: Thanks, Lori!