Hello Readers! Welcome to the Kid Lit Village blog featuring interviews with authors and illustrators of newly released picture books. This week we feature This is NOT a Book! written by Kellie Byrnes. It’s a picture book published by EK Books and illustrated wonderfully by Aśka. It comes out in June 2021.
In this fun-filled, action-packed picture book, our main character is quite convinced they’re not in a book. After all, if this was a book, there’d be pages to turn … Oops! We’ve just turned the page.
But that’s not conclusive proof this is a book. If it was a book, there’d be interesting settings and problems to solve. Hold on! Why is our lead character being chased by a lion? Why are pirates stealing treasure? And are those mermaids playing in a rock band?
This is NOT a Book! is the perfect introduction for kids to how a book is structured and how to tell a good story. It’s metafiction made fun!
Kellie, welcome to Kid Lit Village. Thank you so much for taking the time to answer some questions. Congratulations on the publication of THIS IS NOT A BOOK!
What was the inspiration for your book?
The idea for This is NOT a Book! came to me while I was walking my dogs a few years back. I really can’t remember what initially prompted the thought, but suddenly I had the book title in my head and the sassy character talking to me. I’m normally all about the plot first and character later, so this was the first time I had such an experience.
I came home and wrote down and developed my idea and noted some of the character’s dialogue – it all seemed so real in my head! I wish more books flowed through like this. However, I also spent a lot of time editing and rewriting the story over the next year or two.
Isn’t it great when you get hit with an idea? I’ve heard that going for walks can actually stimulate the creative parts of the brain. I think the fact that you wrote some of it down right away probably helped cement things.
Why do you write books for children?
I write for children mainly because I love books for kids! I enjoy the innocence, wonder, and curiosity that comes with books for younger readers. I also love the idea of writing stories that might have a positive impact on children, whether through making them laugh or think or examine themselves and the world around them or simply helping to foster their love of books and reading.
Kellie, you clearly love what you do and that’s awesome!
What is a piece of advice for children’s writers?
There are so many elements involved in becoming a children’s author, it’s hard to pinpoint one piece of advice! My top four are:
- Read hundreds of current books (i.e., those published in the last five years)
- Attend conferences and other events where you can learn about the state of the market and build relationships with those in the industry
- Come to your writing with a marketing and sales mindset at some point. It’s not enough to just write a great book; it has to be commercially viable, too
- Join a writers’ group or otherwise find yourself some friends who understand the ups and downs we struggle with as writers. Our family and other friends try to be supportive, but no one really knows how tumultuous the writing life can be unless they’ve lived it themselves
This is such great advice. There’s a lot of work that goes into writing a children’s book that people don’t see.
- What do you hope readers gain from reading your book?
I hope, primarily, that readers have a giggle and enjoy the experience of having this book read to them or reading it for themselves. If, in addition, they also learn something about the construction of stories and books, that’s a bonus!
I love humorous picture books! I’m sure the readers will love it too.
What part of being a writer do you love most?
My favorite part is coming up with ideas. I love the early creative stages of thinking “what if” and being as open and non-judgemental about snippets of ideas as possible. I love the feeling of possibility; you never know where an idea might lead you or what it might become.
I write down multiple ideas per week and have more than I can ever really write. Mind you, plenty of those ideas probably aren’t good enough to develop just yet, but you never know how little thoughts might combine with other ones over the years and eventually turn into something special! If I could have a job that involved purely coming up with ideas all day, every day, I’d love it!
Kellie, it has been a pleasure to meet you here online. Thanks for opening up and sharing your insights and good luck with the launch of your book!
Kellie’s social media links:
Readers: Thanks for stopping by Kid Lit Village blog; I hope you’ll be back next week to discover another new book release from the amazing Kid Lit Community! Enjoy another Kid Lit Village interview here!
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