Hello, Tammi, thank you for joining me for an interview to talk about your latest works, and what’s ahead for you!
Tell us a little bit about I Love Cake!
This book stars three best friends: Rabbit, Porcupine, and Moose. On Rabbit’s birthday, she invites her buddies over for a party. All goes well…until the cake (and Moose!) mysteriously disappear.
The idea for this book was inspired by a plate.
When I saw that bear in his big red underpants surrounded by some very incriminating evidence, I knew I had to write a story about a character who finds himself in this delicious dilemma.
Check out the Trailer for I LOVE CAKE! Here!
Tell us a little bit about Mary Had a Little Glam.
Mary is my first rhymer! I was inspired to write this book when reading Linda Ashman’s The Nuts and Bolts Guide to Writing Picture Books. One of the writing exercises was to come up with something based on a familiar rhyme or song like “Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star” or “Mary Had a Little Lamb.” Out of nowhere, the words, “MARY HAD A LITTLE GLAM” popped into my head. It was a total gift.
This book includes appearances by some very familiar characters including Little Bo Peep, Little Miss Muffet, and Georgie Porgie.
As for Vanessa Brantley-Newton’s artwork? It’s fabulous, darling.
Along with these two titles, you have two companion books to two previous titles you’ve done. First comes Ginny Louise and the School Field Day. What’s that about?
I never planned on writing a companion book to Ginny Louise and the School Showdown. It was a welcomed surprise when my editor emailed and said she was interested in more Ginny Louise. It took me a while to come up with Ginny Louise’s next school adventure, but, once I did, it was fun to dig in and spend time with Ginny Louise and her signature joy. This book involves some standard school field day events and some not-so-standard moves by Destructo Dude, Cap’n Catastrophe, and, of course, Make My Day May.
Also, Your Alien Returns, is coming up, a sequel to Your Alien. Tell us about that.
When I sold Your Alien, it was part of a two-book deal. Sterling wanted Your Alien Returns and asked me to write a book about the boy visiting the alien’s home planet.
What a challenge!
After some brainstorming, I came up with an interplanetary play date. While on this play date, the boy and alien have a wonderful day together…until one moment changes everything.
In Your Alien, the boy ends up being a bit of a hero. This time around, I wanted to give the alien a chance to save the day. He does just that and the boy deems him “the best friend in the history of the universe.”
I can’t wait for everyone to see the alien world that Goro Fujita came up with. I would totally vacation there.
What’s been the biggest challenge for you as a writer?
When it comes to writing, my biggest challenge is coming up with a good idea. Some people can come up with 2,453 ideas before breakfast. Not me. Once I have that strong, fresh, irresistible-to-editors idea, though, the fun begins.
What is one thing that readers don’t know about you, that only you could tell us?
I married the boy who drove me crazy in middle school.
If you weren’t writing books, what do you think you’d be doing?
If I weren’t writing books, I’d probably return to teaching. I loved working with pre-k through eighth grade kids. One of the big job perks was that I came home with good stories every day—especially when I taught pre-k. I remember telling the parents of my pre-k students, “Oh, I know everything about you.” 🙂
What can readers expect from you in the future?
Following 2016, I have another nine books on the way. Titles include Truck, Truck, Goose (HarperCollins/Katherine Tegen Books), The Farm that Mac Built (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt), and Caring for Your Lion (Sterling).
Anything else you’d like to share with readers of this blog?
If you are a big fan of picture books, please visit my group blog picturebookbuilders.com. We share (and dissect!) our favorites, conduct interviews, offer behind-the-scenes skinny, and more.
Thank you, Tammi, for joining me here!
Thanks for having me, Dylan. And thanks for all you do in support of children’s literature!
GIVEAWAY!!! — Retweet any of my tweets about this blog post, and be entered to win a copy of I LOVE CAKE! (my Twitter handle is @dylanteut). Contest Ends at Midnight on May 4!