Interview with Author Molly Beth Griffin
Molly Beth Griffin is a recent graduate ofHamlineUniversity’sMFAprogram in Writing for Children and Young Adults, and a writing teacher at theLoftLiteraryCenterin the Twin Cities. AMinnesotanative, she now lives inSouth Minneapoliswith her partner and their baby boy, Jasper. She loves cooking, reading, and hiking in all kinds of weather.
Her first picture book, Loon Baby, is due out with Houghton Mifflin in the spring of 2011, and she has just sold her first Young Adult novel to Milkweed Editions (title and publication date TBA). Though her writing reaches across all age groups and genres, it all demonstrates her passion for exploring young people’s changing relationship to the natural world.
Molly believes that by providing our children and young adults with great literature we can nurture the readers, writers, and thinkers of the future. “Although writing for kids is a lot of fun,” she says, “it should not be taken lightly. They demand entertainment, and we must provide it, but they also deserve real art—literature that is deep, fresh, beautiful, and challenging.”
To find out more about Molly’s books, her writing classes, and her manuscript critique service, please visit her website. http://mollybethgriffin.com/
Interview with Molly Beth Griffin author of Loon Baby.
I want to thank you for being my guest here on Mymcbooks Blog
What is the last book you read? I read Blueberries for Sal about 15 times this morning with my toddler!
What were your earliest memories of writing? In kindergarten I hated writing time. We had to tell our story to an adult to write down, and I was so shy that I would dread this activity for days. Once I could write on my own I liked it a lot, and I was making books by 2nd grade.
Were you encouraged to write or was it something that came natural? I always wrote with ease, but I was also encouraged toward it. I come from a family of writers– my dad writes self-help books and articles, my mom writes mysteries and musicals, my sister is a journalist, my brother is a screenwriter and film director.
Are you working on a new book? I am ALWAYS playing with picture book manuscripts–right now I am working on a truck book, and one about tadpoles! I don’t have any other picture books under contract at the moment. However, I have a young adult novel coming out next spring called Silhouette of a Sparrow, and I’m currently working on finishing a middle grade novel.
What inspired you to write Loon Baby and how did you come up with each character? I wrote Loon Baby on a camping trip in the Boundary Waters Canoe Area, after watching two baby loons learning to dive near our campsite.
What was your favorite children’s book? Julie of the Wolves, Ramona thePest, Winnie-the-Pooh, Babe, Matilda (can’t pick one!)
What is the most difficult part of writing? Sitting down at the computer and not logging onto the internet. Also, admitting my story still needs revision.
What do you do when you’re not writing or promoting your books? I’m a stay-at-home mom of a 2 year old boy, so I’m usually at the park or playing cars on my living room floor. I also teach writing and critique manuscripts.
How do you react to a bad review and have you ever suffered from writer’s block? I write the nicest things people have said about my writing on sticky notes so that I can re-read them often, which helps me when I get criticism that’s hard to hear. When I get stuck with a project, I sometimes have to set it aside and work on something else for a while. That’s one reason why I like writing picture books and poetry and novels… there’s always something very different that I can turn to when I need to let a story simmer.
What do you hope that readers will take away from your book? I hope that they are enchanted by the beauty of the north woods and its inhabitants. The setting and the language have always been the most important aspects of the book to me, but I also hope that child readers come away with a sense of reassurance and adult readers come away amazed by the ways that kids learn
What author inspires you the most and why? Byrd Baylor- Her picture books are so lyrical, lovely to read aloud. She explores landscape through language like no one else.
What discipline do you impose on yourself regarding schedules, goals, etc.? As a full time mom, I have to fit my writing in wherever it fits. I write “in the corners” of my day–during nap, when Grandma can take my son for a couple of hours, even in my head while I do dishes. I take deadlines as they come, and try to make time whenever I can.
What advice would you give parents on selecting the right books for their children to read? Read widely. Browse your local library, talk to teachers and librarians, pay attention to awards/lists/blogs. Watch your kids–see what they enjoy and help them find similar books. Don’t be afraid to guide them, and try to surround your family with what you feel is high quality literature. And if your kids are young enough not to notice, go ahead and get rid of the books that you don’t think are good. Just because someone gives you a book doesn’t mean you have to keep it forever (and read it over and over and over)!
What advice you would give to new writers? Take classes, get your manuscripts critiqued, join a writing group. It’s very hard to break into this field but it can be done if you dedicate yourself to learning your craft. Writing for kids is a lot of fun but it is also a real art form and a serious business. Approach it with professionalism.
Is there anything else you would like to share with our readers? Thank you for supporting children’s literature!
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
Books Given in 2013: 330
Books Given in 2014: 257
Books Given in 2015: – 127
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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