Mymcbooks's Blog

Keepsake that Educates!

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.

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.

November 21, 2011 - Posted by | Meet the Author | , , , , , ,


  1. Great advice about choosing books. Unfortunately I have the tendency to keep books that have been given to me by others, even if I don’t like them.

    Comment by Heidi Grange | November 21, 2011 | Reply

  2. I think it is extremely important to read to your children, the younger they are the better.

    Comment by Patsy Hagen | November 22, 2011 | Reply

  3. I like that her interests are so varied (working on books about trucks and tadpoles).

    lovelydomesticdiva (at) gmail (dot) com

    Comment by domestic diva | November 22, 2011 | Reply

  4. I am inspired that your a mother and a writer and a teacher. Sometimes I think I will never get to write stories like the ones I adore for my children till they are grown up. Maybe that is not correct. I am very much enjoying NaNoWriMo this year at least. I loved Matilda, I wonder how many children that story inspired. I wonder how many of us who loved it dream of being reviewers and writers. Thank you for adding your voice to childhoods magic.

    Comment by Kimberly C. | November 22, 2011 | Reply

  5. I enjoyed reading about how you have been inspired, and sometimes struggled, to write.
    I think Blueberries for Sal is a fine example of great children’s literature – I always end up reading that and Make Way for Ducklings in the same session. Congratulations on your success with Loon Baby.

    tmyoung at rochester dot rr dot com

    Comment by Teresa Young | November 22, 2011 | Reply

  6. It was nice meeting you here Molly. I’ve never camped and it’s through books I’ve read to my own kids and now grandkids that I see the beauty of nature. Thanks for the interview.
    Carol L
    Lucky4750 (at) aol (dot) com

    Comment by Carol L. | November 23, 2011 | Reply

  7. Love your advice! I tend to buy a variety of books for my kids, some work and some don’t. Its a trial and error thing. I’m amazed that you have time for anything with a toddler. I”m lucky if I get my dishes done.

    Comment by larissa brunken | November 29, 2011 | Reply

  8. What a fun family to be a part of! Love that they all write but do different genres. We have Blueberries for Sal but it’s gotten buried somewhere. Thanks for the reminder to find it! Also appreciate the comment to read widely and quality literature. That makes such a difference for children, for sure.

    Comment by stacy h | December 2, 2011 | Reply

  9. I love what you wrote in the introduction: “…her passion for exploring young people’s changing relationship to the natural world.” That is exactly the type of author I like for my children’s books!

    She also gives some good advice that I will have to take when he weed through all of the kids’ toys later this week. There are quite a few books sitting on the shelf that are below par, in my opinion. I need to just get rid of them – there are tons of places around here that would welcome any type of books for kids!

    Comment by Alicia C. | December 4, 2011 | Reply

  10. It’s great that she is working on more books! The different ideas sound like ones my kiddos would enjoy🙂

    Comment by Kristie | December 5, 2011 | Reply

  11. Wow, you are an inspiration:) I wish I was writing books at such a young age:) I, too, loved “Julie of the Wolves”…I completely forgot about that book until I read your interview:) annejk112233(at)yahoo(dot)com

    Comment by allaboutcoupons4fun | December 13, 2011 | Reply

  12. Also, what a neat thing to come away with from your book: reassurance:) That’s also really cool that you based the story on something you observed in real nature (I sometimes wonder where authors get their ideas for stories:)

    Comment by allaboutcoupons4fun | December 13, 2011 | Reply

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