Mymcbooks Interview Elizabeth Shreeve
Elizabeth Shreeve lives in northern California with her husband, sons, and various other mammals and amphibians. A graduate of Harvard College and the Harvard Graduate School of Design, she is a member of SCBWI and the Northern California Children’s Booksellers Association.
Elizabeth is the author of the new picture book, Oliver at the Window (Front Street/Boyds Mills, October 2009), which follows a young child’s adjustment to his parent’s separation as he starts school for the first time. Other publications include The Adventures of Hector Fuller, a chapter book series from Aladdin/Simon & Schuster. She is available for book signings and school visits, where she talks with kids about books, bugs, writing, and reading. To read more visit her website http://www.elizabethshreeve.com/about_elizabeth.html
Interview with Elizabeth Shreeve author of Oliver at the Window.
I want to thank you for being my guest here on Mymcbooks Blog.
What is the last book you read?
Last adult fiction – Midnight Riot, by Ben Aaronovitch. It’s a London detective novel with magic and British humor mixed in, also a touch of ancient mythology involving spirits of the rivers. It’s a riot! Last book for kids – Kepler’s Dream by Juliet Bell, which is lovely. And I’m now reading a non-fiction book by Jon Young, What the Robin Knows: How Birds Reveal the Secrets of the Natural World.
What was your favorite children’s book?
Usually whatever I’ve read recently. The Oz books by L. Frank Baum were my favorite as a kid – I read all of them over and over. Dorothy is such a brave and good-hearted hero.
What were your earliest memories of writing?
I was dyslexic as a kid and I remember writing my nickname backwards in crayon…on the wall. OOB.
Were you encouraged to write or was it something that came natural?
It came naturally, but my whole family can write. We are a mix of scientists and writers.
Do you generally get a story idea first or does the main character develop first?
Usually a character with something on her/his mind.
What inspired you to write Oliver at the Window?
I helped to raise my stepson, David, whose parents split when he was two. Now he’s grown to be a fine young man, but I remember him being so wistful sometimes, waiting at the nursery school window, uncertain who would pick him up. Will it be mom? Or dad?
Are you working on a new book?
What is the most difficult part of writing?
Finding and maintaining the child’s mind and perspective – digging deep to find what is original and true to the child’s experience. The wordcrafting is easier, but the emotional “truth” is elusive.
Do you write full time or do you still have a day job?
I work for an environmental design firm where I’ve been for 28 years, and I fit my writing schedule into the nooks and crannies. However, I’m always pondering my story.
How do you react to a bad review and have you ever suffered from writer’s block?
I’ve not yet received a bad review but am still waiting for one of those fabulous stars! Rather than writer’s block, I can drift away from writing if I don’t touch base with it. A long walk usually helps. If I’ve been away from writing for a while, I have to spend a frustrating, unproductive few hours warming up the engine.
What do you hope that readers will take away from your book?
I hope that children and families in transition will find a note of encouragement and reassurance.
Who are some of your favorite authors you would love to dine with?
Oh, it would be a huge table! Betty MacDonald, author of Mrs. Piggle-Wiggle…Virginia Lee Burton and William Steig and Bill Peet and Norman Juster and Ruth Stiles Gannett and Neil Gaiman and Philip Pullman and J.R.R. Tolkien and Hugh Lofting and Carl Sandburg…not to mention all my fabulous friends who are authors.
What author inspires you the most and why?
Madeleine L’Engle, author of A Wrinkle in Time, took a difficult topic and created a believable and memorable story. Oh, and it starred a girl protagonist. I love that.
What discipline do you impose on yourself regarding schedules, goals, etc.?
I rise early to find time to write – also I take things task by task. A whole book is much too enormous to face at 5 am!
What advice would you give parents on selecting the right books for their children to read?
Seek the advice of people who love books – librarians and the knowledgeable staff of a local bookstore. Also consult reference books such as How to Get your Child to Love Reading, by Esme Raji Codell, or Healing Stories, by Jacqueline Golding.
What advice you would give to new writers?
Write a lot – don’t get stuck on a story. Let your imagination flow. Join SCBWI. And read, read, read!
Is there anything else you would like to share with our readers?
It’s so very important to encourage kids to read – it opens up worlds of thought, imagination and opportunity for them. Please share stories and books with children!
Thank you for this interview.
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My name is Ella Johnson. I started Mymcbooks to promote reading. As a former teacher, I know that making basic education fundamentals interesting to children can be challenging. Education can be fun, exciting and captivating for children with the right learning tools. So my goal is to “make learning interesting and fun” for the children while they learn, by introducing them to fun books with colorful and captivating illustrations.
In 2009, I start the giveaway program giving away free school supplies at random to 2 winners each year. I also started a monthly free giveaways for books and gifts.
August 2010, I extended the free school supplies from 2 to 5 winners at random on my blog and also give away 20 bags full of school supplies to familes in need at Chick-fil-A in Brandon, Florida during their family nights. And in 2012, I beat my that number and gave away a lot of school supplies to needy families. Hopefully, I can continue to do this each year.
In 2011, I started writing reviews on children’s books then giving these books away free on Mymcbooks Blog. I increase the number of books we giveaway free to help support parent. My goal is to give away as many as I can each year. This is also a great way to introduce parents to new books.
Mymcbooks blog is always looking for other ways to give kids free books. So I started Mymcbooks Birthday Library http://mymcbooksbirthdaylibrary.wordpress.com/
My goal is to giveaway at least 300 books to children each year.
Books Given in 2011: 315
Books Given in 2012: 380
Book Given in 2013: 330
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Read Interview about Ella Johnson, http://melangeofcultures.wordpress.com/2011/07/31/interview-with-ella-johnson-founder-of-memorable-children-books-gifts/ Interviewer: Nicole Weaver
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