I met Kip earlier this year through Denise Jaden's March Madness and I've found that she's the best cheerleader any children's writer could ever hope for. Being on the path with Kip is like having an enthusiastic personal trainer along, always there to tell you "you can do it!". She's also the winner of last week's mystery book giveaway. Congrats, Kip!
What resources have you found most helpful on your writing path?
SCBWI (especially the International and New England chapters)
Verla Kay's Message Board
Twitter and blogs of fellow writers and publishing professionals
What’s the most encouraging thing you’ve experienced along the way?
Um, not getting my first manuscript published? Because that would have been a disaster. As far as actual positive experiences go, I've had quite a few magazine articles published, as well as a story in a compilation (SPAIN FROM A BACKPACK), so those have been nice fist-pump moments.
Favorite children’s books? Authors?
BALLET SHOES by Noel Streatfeild
ANNE OF GREEN GABLES by L.M. Montgomery
A RING OF ENDLESS LIGHT by Madeline L'Engle
THE DIARY OF ANNE FRANK by Anne Frank
THE BOOK THIEF by Markus Zusak
LOVE, AUBREY by Suzanne LaFleur
HOW I LIVE NOW by Meg Rosoff
SECRET KEEPER by Mitali Perkins
What keeps you going when you feel like giving up?
A few things:
1) Knowing that my ideas are good. I've been working hard on improving my execution, which is where the harder work lies, but if all it takes is more work, then I'm game. *rolls up sleeves* However, if I didn't believe in my ideas, I'm sure I'd find it much easier to quit.
2) Pats on the back from critique partners. I belong to an amazing critique group, and work closely with other writing partners I've met at retreats who have been able to keep me pumped about my projects (while at the same time delivering crushing blows that X, Y, and Z still need work).
3) My family. I write or revise almost every single day, but I also get away from the computer and make mischief with my peeps. Down-time is both important and highly underestimated.
If you could choose to live any place on the planet, where would it be?
This question terrifies me. I would choose not to live in any one place. Ideally, I'd split my time between Our Fair City (Cambridge, MA) and a castle in Spain, with visits to other parts of the world sprinkled in throughout the year.
Describe your fantasy writing space?
One without children. Ha! But seriously, as a stay-at-home mom of young twins, I work in all kinds of distraction, and have adapted my habits to make the most of this. That having been said, I obviously get the most done when I have quiet time and space to myself. I'd love a huge, clutter-free desk looking out over a peaceful landscape. Maybe in my castle in Spain, hmmm.
What obstacles have you overcome in order to keep writing?
Time, or lack thereof. Which is not to say I've overcome it—it's a constant battle. But the biggest change I made was almost a year ago, when I was able to quit my high-stress software job to stay home with my two young children. Am I still crazy-busy? Yes. But I have the snatched moments to write, read, and think (and sometimes even sleep!) that I never had when I was working.
What one word describes your writing process?
Persistent. I write just about every day, and do everything I can to improve. I will never give up—never!!! *cackles wildly*
What do you appreciate the most about being part of the children’s writers community?
The people are so supportive. Successful authors helping newbies out, fellow writers at a similar point on the path, helpful agents and editors who want to see everyone get there. Awesome!
Best writing advice you’ve been given?
“Try to have a gem on every page.” (Markus Zusak, SCBWI conference in Munich, Germany)
What do you like to keep in mind while drafting a story?
It's only a draft.
How will you celebrate the publication of your first book?
Champagne! Chocolates! Lots of jumping and squealing. And probably a trip to somewhere exotic, just because I dig that kind of thing.