Author Interview: Erica S. Perl

I’m excited to share my recent interview with Erica S. Perl.

Erica is the author of several children’s books including bestselling books Chicken Butt! and Chicken Butt’s Back! Her most recent book, Ferocious Fluffity, introduces readers to a cute but crazy classroom pet.

Erica was kind enough to answer a few questions about her most recent publication and life as an author.

fluffity

How long have you been writing and when did you publish your first book?

I have been writing since I was able to form words (and even before, sort of, because I would draw pictures and dictate the stories to my parents). My first published book was CHICKEN BEDTIME IS REALLY EARLY, which came out in 2005.

Which book have you enjoyed writing the most?

That’s a good question! I really enjoyed writing FEROCIOUS FLUFFITY because it is a rhyming book and I love rhyme, rhythm and meter… but the truth is I’ve enjoyed writing all of my books.

What inspired you to write FEROCIOUS FLUFFITY?

The first inspiration was a classroom hamster we took home for a weekend. I reached in to pet it and it bit me so hard that when I pulled my hand back it was still attached! Later on, my daughter had a guinea pig that bit everyone and that’s when I started writing the story.

As a child, what did you want to be when you grew up?

I wanted to be a children’s book writer and illustrator. And an actress. And an ice skater. And a marine biologist. (One down, several to go!)

What was your favorite book as a child?

Charlotte’s Web. It still is, actually.

Who is your favorite character from any work of literature?

Imhrat Khan from The Wonderful Story of Henry Sugar by Roald Dahl.

Who has most inspired you in your writing career?

Lots of people! My aunt, who is also a writer, was an early inspiration. And then when a dear friend died too young, I realized that life is too short to put your dreams on hold. So that inspired me to make more room in my life for my writing.

What struggles have you faced on your way to becoming an author?

My biggest struggles, to this day, are with myself. It is hard to confront the blank page, it is hard to take feedback and revise, it is hard to put your characters in peril, and it is hard to take creative risks… all of which you need to do in order to create great books.

What advice would you give to young writers?

Read all the time. Write the kind of stuff you’d want to read, even if you’re convinced no one else would want to read it. Meet authors whenever you can. Don’t listen to that little voice that tries to stop you from writing by telling you what you have to say is not important or funny. That little voice is FEAR and he doesn’t get to tell you what to do. If his voice is really loud, get a box and put FEAR in it (literally – open the lid, shove FEAR in, slam the lid shut, and go write).

Do you have any hobbies?

I like to bake (pies, crisps, and bread) and I like to run (with friends and with my dogs). Recently, I’ve been rediscovering how much I love drawing, thanks to John Hendrix’s book DRAWING IS MAGIC.

What is the most interesting place you have visited?

Rikers Island (I used to be a criminal defense lawyer, so I have been to jail – only to visit, mind you – many times).

Name one interesting fact about yourself unrelated to writing 🙂

My initials are ESP, so I always hoped I would develop clairvoyance. I haven’t yet… but hopefully someday.

Where can readers learn more about you and your books?

My website: http://www.ericaperl.com/. You can also go to your local library or bookstore, stand on a chair and say in a loud voice, “Do you have any books by Erica S. Perl? I love her books!”

Anything else you’d like to mention about FEROCIOUS FLUFFITY or your writing career?

Yes. It is a lot of fun to write funny books, but it is also hard to do it well. I think funny books – and the people who write them – deserve to be taken seriously because they are successfully doing several things at once. Kind of like Ginger Rogers dancing backwards in high heels while smiling and not falling down. Or, in my case, dancing backward while running from a rambunctious rodent!

 

A big thank you to Erica for the great interview, and to her publisher Abrams Books for Young Readers.

Journey Trilogy

I am so excited to share the entire Journey Trilogy with you soon, and an interview with author Aaron Becker!

Plus I’ll also be hosting a giveaway for the first two books in the trilogy! Get excited!

The final book in the trilogy, RETURN, will hit shelves this August, but until then, enjoy this fantastic book trailer.

Blog Tour: A Morning With Grandpa

Good morning all!

I’m excited to welcome author Sylvia Liu to the blog today as part of the blog tour for her new book A Morning With Grandpa. 

Sylvia Liu pic © K Woodard Photography

Sylvia Liu is an environmental lawyer turned children’s author and illustrator. Her debut as a picture book author, A MORNING WITH GRANDPA, illustrated by Christina Forshay (Lee & Low Books) comes out May 2016.  She was lucky to do what she loved, protecting the oceans and the environment at the U.S. Department of Justice and the nonprofit group Oceana, and now she is even luckier to paint, draw, and write for children. She lives in Virginia Beach, Virginia, with her husband and their two daughters.

My review of her delightful and heart warming story appeared last week on the blog, and today Ms. Liu was kind enough to join us and talk about her inspiration for this book, and her life as a writer.


How long have you been writing and when did you publish your first book?

I have been writing for fun and in journals since grade school, professionally as a lawyer for over a decade, and have been seriously writing picture books for about six or seven years (I have been illustrating longer than that). A MORNING WITH GRANDPA, illustrated by Christina Forshay (Lee & Low Books), is my first book.

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Where do you find your writing inspiration?

Everywhere: my daughters, the ocean, quirky science facts, and recently, my new Siberian kitten, Apollo.

What inspired you to write A MORNING WITH GRANDPA? 

I was with my parents, my family, and my sister’s family at a lake house in Vermont the summer of 2013. Watching my dad do qi gong, a mind-body practice involving breathing techniques and postures to move “qi,” or energy, inspired me to write a story about a grandfather who teaches his granddaughter both qi gong and tai chi.

As a child, what did you want to be when you grew up?

I wanted to be a colonist on Mars.  Now, I don’t know what I want to be when I grow up.

What was your favorite book as a child? 

There are too many to choose from! I loved Lloyd Alexander’s Book of Three chronicles.

Who has most inspired you in your writing career?

My family has inspired me:

My husband, David, started writing picture books on our honeymoon, and over the years, he has tried his hand at picture books and chapter books. I always saw myself as an illustrator and illustrated many of his stories. As I got more serious with my illustration, I found myself wanting to illustrate my own stories, and I started to write them down.

My daughters, Sammi and Sarah, are always a source of inspiration. They are so fun and funny.

What do you feel is the most rewarding aspect of writing? 

Sharing my vision of the world with others. Hearing back from children who have listened to or read my stories, or seen my illustratons.

What advice would you give to young writers? 

Never stop learning the craft. I’m still a relatively new author in the scheme of things, and I know there is a lot more I could learn. My top five recommendations for continuing your writing education:

1) Read as much as you can, in and out of your genre

2) Write as much as you can

3) Find a critique group to get feedback

4) Take courses (check out the Writing Courses page at Kidlit411, the kid lit website I run).

5) Read craft articles and books (Kidlit411’s For Writers page has a great list of links)

Do you have any hobbies? 

Before having kids, I had a lot of hobbies, like traveling, scuba diving, gardening, reading, and painting, in addition to working full time. After they were born (14 and 12 years ago), my hobbies unrelated to writing, reading, and creating fell largely by the wayside. I run to keep in shape, as well as take weekly yoga and tai chi lessons.

What is the most interesting place you have visited? 

I’ve had the good fortune to travel many places. One of my very favorites was a week long trip when I was thirteen, traveling through the Gran Sabana (Grand Savannah) in the southern part of Venezuela, in a convoy of jeeps with three other families. This was in the early 1980s, when there weren’t paved roads in that part of the country. We drove on dirt tire tracks across an otherworldly landscape of plains dotted by tepuys (flat-top mountains, like the ones depicted in the movie, UP); carried our own water and gasoline for a week (no gas stations); camped by and bathed in streams; and ended up at the border of Brazil and Venezuela.

Name one interesting fact about yourself unrelated to writing 🙂

I grew up in Caracas, Venezuela, and attended international and American schools there, from ages 5 to 17.

Where can readers learn more about you and your books? 

I can be found a lot of places on the interwebs:

My portfolio and website:  www.enjoyingplanetearth.com

Blog: www.sylvialiuland.com

Facebook: www.facebook.com/ArtbySylviaLiu

Twitter: www.twitter.com/artsylliu

Pinterest: https://www.pinterest.com/sylliu/

I help run the kid lit resource website, Kidlit411 (www.kidlit411.com), with Elaine Kiely Kearns. In the two years we’ve been running, we’ve built a great community (check us out on our Facebook page, www.facebook.com/KIDLIT411) and the site was named one of the 101 Best Websites for Writers by Writer’s Digest in 2015.

Anything else you’d like to mention about A MORNING WITH GRANDPA or your writing career? 

I wouldn’t be here without the amazing community of kid lit authors I’ve come to know, from the Penguin Posse, my amazing critique group (Teresa Robeson, Victoria Richardson, Elaine Kiely Kearns, Renee LaTulippe, Alayne Kay Christian, and Yvonne Mes); my in person writer friends (Tara Moeller, Jenn Vore Falls, Dee Southerland, and Mary Yurachek), to communities like Julie Hedlund’s 12×12 and Tara Lazar’s PiBoIdMo.

And of course, I owe so much to Christina Forshay, for bringing the story to life, and my editor, Jessica Echeverria, for shaping the story so nicely.  A huge THANKS to you all.

Be sure to visit the rest of the blog tour for A MORNING WITH GRANDPA.


Thanks for joining us today and thank you for letting Three Show Saturday be a part of the blog tour. It has been exciting to be a part of the count down to the upcoming release of A Morning With Grandpa. 

A portion of this interview also appears in my newspaper column, Under the Big Top Tales and Twisters, this week.

Hope you all are having a wonderful week!

Happy Reading!

 

Interview With Author Belinda Jensen

Welcome to the first author interview here at Three Show Saturday!

A portion of this interview appeared in this week’s newspaper column. The full interview is printed below.
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Belinda Jensen, author and creator of the Bel the Weather Girl series, is also chief meteorologist for the NBC station in Minneapolis and St. Paul, Minnesota. Ms. Jensen has been a broadcast meteorologist for twenty-six years, but is just beginning her career as an author. She was kind enough to answer a few questions about her writing, and life as a meteorologist.

How long have you been writing and when did you publish your first book?

 

These are my first books, I started writing them August of 2014 and wrapped up the following spring.

Where do you find your writing inspiration?

 

My inspiration for writing came from numerous 2nd graders that I spoke to over the years.  I have been a meteorologist for 25 years and I have spoken to countless 7 and 8 year olds and their curiosity and anxiety toward the weather fueled these books.

What inspired you to write A PARTY FOR CLOUDS?

 

All of the books the entire set of six stemmed from stories that I told the students that seemed to resonate and ignite them into understanding the science behind the weather.  A Party for Clouds was created for all of those boys and girls and parents that have sleepless nights because of loud, scary thunderstorms.  This book explains how simply counting will explain the science behind thunder and lightning but also ends up to be a great distraction that could get you through the night.

What is your favorite kind of weather?

 

My favorite kind of weather is sunny, mild day with low humidity.  Nothing better!

What was your most memorable moment while broadcasting?

 

My most memorable moment during my broadcast career so far is probably not a moment, it is a season!  Two winters ago the winter of 2013-2014.  It was the coldest winter in 35 years and that is saying quite a bit in Minnesota.  It was remarkably cold and snowy and I will never forget it!  P.S. I do the weather outside every night at my station….every night!

As a child, what did you want to be when you grew up?

 

When I was a kid I wanted to be a veterinarian, florist of social studies teacher.  Meteorology did not break through as a possibility until around 10th grade.

What was your favorite book as a child?

 

I have to be honest I was a terrible reader and still don’t read a lot!  I was more of analytical mind for numbers…..but I do remember distinctly “Where the Red Fern Grows” and “Charlotte’s Web”

Who has most inspired you in your career?

 

Many people have inspired me over the years but I had a great teacher back in high school that really set me off with some great expectations.   Mr. Dan Gavin, and a great meteorologist here at KARE 11 who I interned for in college Paul Douglas were my mentors.

What do you feel is the most rewarding aspect of being a meteorologist?

 

Weather is big deal around this neck of the woods.  I have been at this station for 23 years so how this community owns you and feels like you are part of their family is really rewarding.

What advice would you give to young writers?

 

To young writers I would tell them to follow their passions and if those are science that is FABULOUS, because the job opportunities in science are great.  Learning and writing about anything that they are curious about will fuel these ideas and options.

What is your favorite thing to do when you’re not writing?

 

I love skiing, diving, tennis, paddleboarding, and now I am trying wake surfing with my kids.  We try to enjoy the warm months and soak them in as much as we can as a family.

What is the most interesting place you have visited?

 

Probably Utah, it is an amazing state with so much to explore.  I lived there for 4 years and my parents spend the winter there and I love visiting them.  I have so much more to explore and I look forward to doing that with my kids.

Name one interesting fact about yourself unrelated to writing

I love being a nerd.  I love facts, I love maps, and charts.  I could look at them forever.

Where can readers learn more about you and your books?

My website…www.beltheweathergirl.com

I am excited to set out on this new adventure of writing books and I hope that kids like them and they help them understand and be less anxious about the weather.    Once you understand it, it is not nearly as scary.

party for clouds