Hello Lovely blog readers! Welcome back to Kid Lit Village blog. I’m excited to share DOE’S DANDELIONS with you, illustrated by Jennie Poh, published by Beaming Books. I’m interviewing the author, Laura Renauld, who is a repeat guest on the blog. She was here for another book in the same series, which I absolutely loved, SQUIRREL’S SWEATER. Laura’s latest book, DOE’S DANDELIONS released on March 7, 2023! In a few days, I’ll be posting my review of DOE’S DANDELIONS so look for that on Friday. Scroll down for the interview with Laura!
Cynthia Mackey, author and Kid Lit Village interviewer
Who am I? My name is Cynthia (Cindy) Mackey; I’m a nature preschool teacher by day and a picture book writer by night. Early mornings are great for writing too! I started this blog in 2020, hoping to help picture book authors who couldn’t get out in person during the pandemic and have just kept going, in an effort to give back to the writing community that has given so much to me since I started a regular writing practice in 2017. It has been my pleasure to interview and share new book releases for children and I’m honoured that so many authors and illustrators have been guests here on the blog – Kid Lit Village.
Laura Renauld, children’s book author
Welcome to the blog, Laura! Thanks for taking a little time to answer some questions.
What appeals to you about writing books for children?
As a picture book writer, I love seeing my text, black and white on the page, transform into a full color, illustrated book through the talents of another creative. The illustrator brings another layer (or layers) of story to the project. Kids and their teachers are amazed when I tell them that authors and illustrators usually don’t communicate. As a writer, I’m happy to “give up control” and only take on 50% of the storytelling. The surprises waiting in the illustrations and the depth they bring to my text are worth it!
List 5 favourite picture books. Explain what you like about them.
CAVEBOY CRUSH by Beth Ferry and Joseph Kuefler – Join the fun for this hilarious and unexpected take on boy meets girl. Grand gestures, occasional pitch-perfect rhyme (when employed), and laugh-out-loud CRUSH illustrations create a read-aloud I return to again and again.
IN MY MOSQUE by M. O. Yuksel and Hatem Aly – This book is WELCOME in picture book form. Gorgeous illustrations, lyrical language filled with sensory details, and snapshots of worship offer a window into the community of a mosque.
THE POMEGRANATE WITCH by Denise Doyen and Eliza Wheeler – This child-centered story in verse reads like the best kind of classic. Exquisite rhyme, engaging action, and a twist you don’t see coming makes this picture book one of my very favorites.
TRUMAN by Jean Reidy and Lucy Ruth Cummins – This picture book is a masterclass in perspective and a charming friendship story. By the end, you will love Truman as much as his Sarah does!
COME ON, RAIN! by Karen Hesse and Jon J. Muth – Lyrical language and hazy watercolors capture a sweltering summer moment right before the relief of rain. Each word is precise and perfect.
3. Can you recommend any resources for developing your talents as a writer?
First, SCBWI regional conferences. That’s where I learned about the business of children’s books when I was first starting out. They are also great places to network with other creatives. It’s how I found my very first critique group.
Second, Kidlit411.com. It is the best resource online. If you have a question about kidlit, you will find an answer (or 3!) here.
Third, online writing challenges. I love starting the new year with Tara Lazar’s Storystorm challenge. It fills my notebook with ideas! Susanna Leonard Hill hosts fun holiday-related writing events and November is National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo), just to name a few.
Fourth, workshops and webinars. Some of my favorite offerings have been presented by Highlights Foundation, The Writing Barn, Whale Rock Workshops, and SCBWI.
Last, READ and WRITE! There’s nothing that can replace the joy and education of immersing yourself in the genre you want to write. Then give it a go!
Laura, thanks for sharing your expertise with us.
Here’s a peek at one of the interior spreads from DOE’S DANDELIONS!
Did writing a series of books pose any challenges for you? Was there anything you particularly enjoyed about doing a series?
After writing my first book, PORCUPINE’S PIE, which is a fall story featuring four woodland animal friends, it made sense to try writing a book set in a different season. Since I have four characters, I thought it would be fun to keep the same friends, but give each of them their own story. The challenge with this was developing the personality and voice of each character, while being consistent to the series. I also had to stay within the confines of my own story structure: alliterative title, seasonal festival with alliterative name, and a plot where the main character has to journey through the woods and interact with each of the friends. Overall, I was surprised by how much I enjoyed having those parameters in place. It helped to narrow down potential plots and moved the story along in a familiar way.
Thank you for having me!
Laura, thanks for being here. We loved learning more from you!
Connect with Laura Renauld
Goodreads: Laura Renauld
And now a little more about me, the face behind the blog!
I am a children’s author too… with two self-published books and my debut picture book in traditional publishing, IF A BUMBLEBEE LANDS ON YOUR TOE, coming in 2024 with Yeehoo Press!
If you’re curious about books by Cynthia Mackey (me), please subscribe to my newsletter.
I hope you’ll stop by next week for the another interview! You’re welcome any time.
You must be logged in to post a comment.