Interview with Author Bridget Heos
Biography: Bridget Heos is the author of 13 young adult nonfiction books. Her first picture book, What to Expect When You’re Expecting Larvae: A Guide for Insect Parents (and Curious Children), comes out in March of 2011. It is illustrated by Stéphane Jorisch. Bridget lives in Kansas City with her husband and three sons. http://www.authorbridgetheos.com/bio.php
Interview with Bridget Heos author of What to Expect When You’re Expecting Joeys: A Guide for Marsupial Parents (and Curious Kids)
I want to thank you for being my guest here on Mymcbooks Blog
Thank you for having me!
What is the last book you read?
I read Save the Cat! Goes to the Movies, by Blake Snyder. It’s a book about screenwriting. I love movies, so I liked reading about the different storylines that movies follow.
What were your earliest memories of writing?
When I was 5 or 6, I wrote a song about my brother: “Oh my gosh Josh/I never knew that you could play the piano/You bet your life that you’re gonna be in showbiz/And you’re gonna play the piano.” I loved musicals. When my mom would make me clean my room, I’d sit on my windowsill and sing, “Where is Love?” like Oliver. I have an awful singing voice, so writing was a better idea.
Were you encouraged to write or was it something that came natural?
Both! I had great writing teachers, even in grade school. In fact, several kids from my school are now writers. At the same time, I would write for fun. My friends and I would write and put on neighborhood plays. We put on The Whipping Boy featuring the music of Weird Al Yankovic.
Are you working on a new book?
Yes, I’m working on more Expecting Animal Babies books, including crocodile babies! I’m working on a fictional picture book. I also write work for hire, meaning the publisher gives me topics to write about. Subjects have ranged from vampires in literature to ice fishing to planets. I learn a lot this way.
How did you come up with each character?
The first Expecting Animal Babies book was about insect larvae. When my editor and I were discussing future topics, we both thought marsupial babies were unique and interesting. Not to mention cute! Some are as tiny as grains of rice. I love how Stephane Jorisch, the illustrator, shows the opossum babies huddled in a teaspoon.
Have you ever suffered from writer’s block?
No. I always have lots to write about. Writing is fun! Then, I read it. Terrible! So revising is the hard part for me. Sometimes I suffer from reviser’s block.
What is the most difficult part of writing?
I do love writing–even revising. The hard part is making a steady living. Even with your nose to the grindstone, there is some luck involved. I’m always grateful to be on a deadline. Multiple deadlines are even better.
What do you do when you’re not writing or promoting your books?
I spend time with my three sons. They play baseball, basketball, and football, so my husband and I go to their games. My youngest son likes wrestling, and we watch pro wrestling together. And of course, we read together.
How do you react to a bad review?
I tell my husband about it. He’s very laid back, so his reaction is laid back. It makes me more laid back. Or sometimes I don’t read them.
What do you hope that readers will take away from your book?
I hope the natural world sparks their interest. I think nonfiction is wonderful for the imagination. Lots of kids prefer nonfiction. So I hope they enjoy the book, too. And, of course, I hope they learn about marsupials!
Who are some of your favorite authors you would love to dine with?
Gosh, there are a lot of them. Right now, I’m reading a lot of middle grade. Some of my favorite authors so far are Kate Messner, Tom Angleberger, Laura Manivong, Jeff Kinney, Gennifer Choldenko, and Peter Abrahams.
What discipline do you impose on yourself regarding schedules, goals, etc.?
I write out a schedule for the year (or as far out as I have projects scheduled.) It tells me what needs to be done each week. If I have a lot to do, I wake up very early. Otherwise, I write during normal business hours unless I’m doing something with my kids. During the school year, I probably write three or four hours a day and spend the rest of the time on marketing or other business matters.
What advice would you give parents on selecting the right books for their children to read?
Well, I have three boys, and their tastes in books are all different. Kids, just like grownups, like what they like. Once you figure out what that is, my advice is to keep checking out books like that until they move onto the next thing. Some topics my boys have liked: dinosaurs, turtles, bunnies, baseball, the Civil War, sharks…
You can stretch it a little. My middle son loves baseball biographies, but he’ll read other biographies, too. My older son gets hooked on series. But sometimes he’ll read a stand alone title if it hooks him from page one. All of my kids love funny books. To find these, I follow kidlit blogs or kidlit people on Twitter.
Then there are the books that I want to share with them. One summer we read the Top 100 Picture Books from Betsy Bird’s Fuse #8 Blog. Sometimes I’ll read to them an award-winning novel or a book that sounds like a page turner. Their teachers introduce them to a lot of great books, too.
What advice you would give to new writers?
Well, if you’re brand new, my advice is to read lots of children’s books. And revise your manuscript 50-100 times. If you’ve been at it for a while, my advice would be not to get discouraged. Your life is a story. A story shouldn’t end with the hero discouraged.
Is there anything else you would like to share with our readers?
Thank you for your interest. You can find What to Expect When You’re Expecting Larvae (Spring 2011) and What to Expect When You’re Expecting Joeys (Fall 2011) at your local library!
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.
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