Hello Readers, and welcome to Kid Lit Village! I’m so happy you’re here. Each Monday I feature an author or illustrator interview and a new release children’s book. This week, we welcome MISS MEOW by Jane Smith, publication date: September 28, 2021 by West Margin Press.
About the book:
An imaginative story about childhood play and one welcoming family to a furry creature who wanders in!
Costumed with kitty ears and a tail, a young girl prowls proudly around her domain until she discovers her favorite toy mouse destroyed. Who else could it be but her little brother? But as the girl and her family investigates, they realize that there may be more than one cat in the house! Miss Meow is a dynamic tale celebrating the surprises that our feline friends can bring to a family.
I’m thrilled to welcome Jane Smith to the Kid Lit Village blog! Thank you so much for being here and spending a little time with our readers, Jane.
Q: Tell us about the inspiration for your book
A: First, I want to say “thank you” for having me on Kid Lit Village today! I’m so excited to be sharing Miss Meow with you and your readers! The heart of the story is very much inspired by the nearly universal experience of kids everywhere dressing up as cats and requiring their loved ones to treat them as such! I know I certainly did as a child, even going so far as to eat actual dry cat food from my pet’s food dish! Oy!
And from there, Miss Meow’s heart was further shaped by a variety of additional unique influences. Miss Meow is very much a modern Goldilocks and the Three Bears story. And it is also a bit of an homage to my beloved childhood pet cats, Tiger and Socks, who were always full of surprises. I also have a soft spot for salty characters, and I enjoyed giving Miss Meow a big personality that at times rubs a little rough before softening up.
Altogether these influences fused into the joyful story of imaginative play and feline friends that is Miss Meow!
That’s so relatable for me, Jane. Even though we didn’t have pets, many of my children’s friends did and that’s exactly the kind of play that happened whenever they came over for play dates. They would constantly meow and crawl around. In fact, my son’s best friend in preschool spent about 3 weeks saying nothing but ‘meow’ to everyone.
Q: Share a piece of advice for children’s writers.
A: My best advice to fellow children’s book writers (and illustrators!), whether aspiring or established, it to just BEGIN on that project that lives in your heart—anyway, anyhow, at any pace, at any time. There’s always a million reasons to hold back or hold off—ignore them all. Whether your progress is measured in inches or miles, nonetheless, it will be meaningful, and it will carry you forward.
“That project that lives in your heart” is so rewarding to pursue, isn’t it? That’s such helpful advice. Especially when it can be difficult to know where to put your energies and measuring progress can be intangible.
Q: Tell us how you build yourself up in the face of rejection.
A: For me, I focus on my own agency—that is what I have the power to do for myself. It goes without saying that we can’t make anyone connect with our work or buy our stories, but creatively, I can focus on developing new work, embrace revisions and learn more about my craft. From a business perspective, I can continue to submit book proposals and artwork again (and again!), I can dive into self-promotion and I can create opportunities to get face time with potential clients and build relationships within the publishing industry.
I also started interviewing fellow artists nearly 10 years ago on my blog, Bird Meets Worm, as a way to lift up fellow creatives and celebrate their successes. Initially, when I first started the blog, I interviewed all my friends who were also working as hard as I was toward our publishing goals as a way to boost morale. These days, I sometimes talk to creators who have newly published books that get highlighted, but just as often I talk to creators whose work I just love, am inspired by and who I want to give a boost to, even if they have no recent publishing news. I’ve found that thru lifting others up, I lift my own spirits, too.
I’m so curious about your blog now, Jane. I know I’ll be following along and hopefully many Kid Lit Village readers will as well. For myself, I’d say I’ve learned a lot from interviewing writers and illustrators and I love helping shine a light on all the lovely books out there!
Q: What do you hope readers will gain from your book?
A: More than anything, I hope Miss Meow’s readers have FUN! I hope they laugh in surprise, giggle and are inspired to dress-up as their favorite animals and characters and PLAY! I hope they include their parents and siblings and loved ones in their play, too. I hope that every time they read Miss Meow they see another little clue or fun new detail, and that they enjoy being detectives and solving the mystery of what happened to Miss Meow’s toy mouse. I hope this a story that finds its way into their hearts and makes them HAPPY!
I love, love, love how books can inspire children’s play and it sounds like yours will do exactly that! Congratulations!
You can connect with Jane on her website or Twitter…
Did you know, I’ve written a couple of books too?
If you’re curious about books by Cynthia Mackey and Paula Nasmith, please subscribe to my newsletter.
I hope you’ll stop by next week for the another interview! You’re welcome any time.