Interview with Author Ginger Churchill
Ginger Churchill began writing fiction in 2004 when she had finally read so many picture books to her (then) three children that she decided to write a few of her own. Carmen’s Sticky Scab was published in 2007 and a new book, Wild Rose’s Weaving, is on the way this October. Ginger says, “My vast experience with scabs began after I learned to ride my sparkly blue Schwinn without training wheels. Although I have picked way more than my share, I never ate a single one–unlike Andy in the book. The grossest thing I ate as a child was an oyster from grandma’s plate. I swear it clawed its way up and out of my throat as I tried to swallow it and I’ve never made that mistake again. I also learned not to show a scab to grandma. She would scrub it mercilessly and coat it in iodine.” http://www.gingerchurchill.com
Interview with Ginger Churchill author of Carmen’s Sticky Scab.
I want to thank you for being my guest here on Mymcbooks Blog
What is the last book you read? My Dog, My Cat—a picture book written and illustrated by Ashlee Fletcher. Absolutely adorable for the younger set. It’s due out from Tanglewood this fall. And I just now noticed the back cover. SO cute. Simple, creative and fun.
What were your earliest memories of writing? I believe my first creative work was a second grade assignment called How the Great Salt Lake Got Salty about a pirate and his magic salt grinder—he didn’t know the magic words to make it stop. Hey!? Did someone steal this idea for Jack Sparrow in that Pirates of theCaribbean partIII movie? I heard it was filmed at theGreat Salt Lake and all.
Were you encouraged to write or was it something that came natural? Both, I think. I seemed to be good at it, so that was encouraging. I wasn’t one of those that liked to work too terribly hard. I didn’t write fiction other than school assignments until I was over 30.
Are you working on a new book? Always J Another picture book called Wild Rose’s Weaving is coming out this October and I’m playing with a midgrade novel about a boy getting in all sorts of trouble as he discovers his psychic abilities.
What inspired you to write Carmen’s Sticky Scab? I actually wrote it for a picture book class I was taking. It started out as a story about a girl who couldn’t hold still. I wrote out a list of reasons why she might be wiggly and the class just went berserk when I said she had a scab. They talked and laughed about it for ten minutes; someone even mentioned they had a cousin who ate scabs. I then wrote the book focusing only on the scab solely to make them laugh, which they did. Loudly. My instructor, Caleb Warnock, said I had to start submitting it immediately!
How did you come up with each character? Well, in the class it was very arbitrary. We chose a boy or a girl, then a name, then an age, without even having a story yet. I choose characters now depending on the need of the story and whoever’s trying to burst out of my subconscious.
What was your favorite children’s book? I was a big Narnia fan, then loved Laura Ingalls and eventually grew into Lord of the Rings. Although as far as picture books I adored Ole Risom’s I Am a Bunny. The illustrations by Richard Scarry are stunning. I stared at them for what seemed like hours.
Have you ever suffered from writer’s block? I’m one of those that doesn’t believe in writer’s block. If I’m stuck I feel it’s because I took a wrong turn in the story so I go back and plot and twist until I’m excited and confident enough to write on.
What is the most difficult part of writing? Part of me is wondering what part isn’t difficult. I think it’s one of those things where if it were easy, everyone would do it. So the hard part for me is loving an idea enough to flesh it out, finding the time, honing the craft, writing and rewriting a publishable manuscript, selling the manuscript and then, boy! Don’t get me started on the business after that. Nothing about it for me is easy. But fun—that’s another story.
What do you do when you’re not writing or promoting your books? I have five children so it’s all about cleaning, cooking, playing, refereeing, chauffeuring, shopping, applauding, loving…you know, life.
How do you react to a bad review? I usually give up writing forever but it manages to work itself back into my life after a second or two.
What do you hope that readers will take away from your book? A laugh, nothing more. Sometimes it’s good just to giggle. Although I’ve found it opens the door to curiosity on occasion, too. And curiosity rocks.
Who are some of your favorite authors you would love to dine with? Wow. Are any of them RAW foodies? I love RAW food (although I eat everything). Um, C. S. Lewis—how cool would that be? Brandon Mull, he gives fun presentations. Becca Fitzpatrick, since she got famous I never get to see her anymore. And Richard Castle, he has great taste in food.
What discipline do you impose on yourself regarding schedules, goals, etc.? Since I published Carmen I had two more children which really put a crimp in all of that. So now I write 333 words every day on my WIP (and sometimes tangential WIPs). I hope the word count increases when school starts but for now it’s working for me. I have to do it all before anyone gets up or I feel like a lousy unfocused writer and a lousy unfocused mom.
What advice would you give parents on selecting the right books for their children to read? For me, if my kids are reading and it doesn’t offend my sense of childhood then I’m good with it. I’ve found Calvin and Hobbes is a huge vocabulary builder. Captain Underpants were the only books one of my boys would read…now he’s plowing through Lord of the Rings at age eleven. I thought we’d never get him hooked on anything but potty humor. One girl read Junie B. Jones books over and over for two years and now she’s read more books in her fourteen years than I have in all 40 of mine—she’s a HUGE reader. Seriously, find the books your kids like…comics, graphic novels, whatever and just get out of their way. They’ll know when they’re ready to advance. That’s what’s worked for me. Sometimes it’s non-fiction. Sometimes it’s science fiction for what you thought was a girly-girl princess type. Sometimes it’s magazines. Just keep trying, keep reading, keep it fun.
What advice you would give to new writers? New picture book writers? Hang in there because the market will pick up someday. New everything writers? Hang in there because every single one of my friends who hasn’t given up writing has been published. Every. One. But they work hard and never give up.
Is there anything else you would like to share with our readers? Oh wow. Just thanks and I hope you enjoy Carmen’s Sticky Scab. She’s a hit with kids so remember to channel your inner child when you read it.
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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
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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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