Monday, July 11, 2011

Partner on the Path--Jaye Robin Brown

For all of my new followers, I am so happy to meet you and look forward to sharing the writing journey with you.

Mondays are for introducing fellow writers who are hiking on the arduous path to publication.

JRo, as I know her, has been one of my online writing buddies since we met on Twitter, a great place to connect with writers and share encouragement.

Another special partner, plugging away on the path with me, it's my pleasure to introduce this delightful children's writer:

What resources have you found most helpful on your writing path? 
Verla Kay’s Blue Boards first and foremost – it’s like a magic genie in a bottle – ask a question and answers appear.  Critique partners (*waves*). Blog surfing – lots of great links, posts, and insights out there. Books on craft – my most recent read, which I drug my feet on starting because it looked dry, was Self-Editing for Fiction Writers by Renni Browne & Dave King. Tremendously helpful for revisions! And as I’ve moved to getting serious about the industry, Twitter. It’s great to read blurbs by editors and agents. It’s also a great way to connect into this community of writers. In fact I think that’s how I met you!
What’s the most encouraging thing you’ve experienced along the way? 
Awesome critique partners who tell me I’m not just blowing smoke, that maybe I do have something after all.
Favorite children’s books? Authors?
Oh Lord – that’s a tough question. How do you narrow it down?
I’ll go with things I’ve read lately – and keep in mind I’m a library girl and our library isn’t super current.
For Middle Grade, I loved the Penderwicks, Kira-Kira, and The Evolution of Calpurnia Tate. Also Indigo’s Star, a follow-up to Saffy’s Angel. I just finished Alabama Moon by Watt Key and having grown up in Mobile, Alabama – I adored that book. I loved Moon’s voice. It made me want to go mud-slinging and shoot bottles with a machine gun (neither of which I ever wanted to do before seeing it through Moon’s eyes).
For Young Adult of what I’ve read this year, I loved Graceling, The Hunger Games Trilogy, Ship Breaker, and Flash Burnout. It’s funny, I didn’t think dystopian would be my thing, but I think what draws me to it is the overarching theme of finding humanity in tough situations. I appreciate that life lesson. And I love tough girls like Katsa in Graceling. I’m writing a tough girl now. 
What keeps you going when you feel like giving up?
Dogged persistence and unfettered optimism. I’ve been called a Pollyanna more than once in my life.  And those little nagging people in my head who just won’t shut up until I get them down on hard drive.
If you could choose to live any place on the planet, where would it be? 
Where I am now, plunked down mid-way between the Blue Ridge Parkway and the Appalachian Trail is pretty darn good, but I wouldn’t mind being about ten minutes closer to the grocery store. But you know, as long as I have books, coffee, good friends, and good dogs, you can put me just about anywhere.
Describe your fantasy writing space?
Free of dog hair. (See above – note the conundrum)
What obstacles have you overcome in order to keep writing?
Uh, kids, a full-time job teaching art, a partner who calls me (lovingly) “Book Face.” In two words – finding balance.
What one word describes your writing process?
What do you appreciate the most about being part of the children’s writers community?
Why people like you, of course! This is the most amazingly supportive and giving community a writer could wish for.
Best writing advice you’ve been given? 
Don’t get your feelings hurt over critiques – see it as an opportunity to improve. And know your own story. Critique partners bring their own stuff to the table – learn to pluck the good from the “this has nothing to do with the story I’m telling.”
What do you like to keep in mind while drafting a story?
I outline major plot points. I know my ending.  I know my MC’s arc. I do a tremendous amount of imaginary mind work, as well as drawing images, graphs, and charts of character inter-connectedness before I start writing. I know my characters pretty well at that point, just little things reveal themselves as I go. I have to ask myself “What Would MC Do?” constantly and “How does this Advance the Plot?”  But overall my process is pretty intuitive once I have my path laid out concretely.

Get to know Jaye Robin Brown better here:

Twitter: @HeyMsJRo 


  1. Awesome interview! And I am a recovering horse addict, so I love the photo! Actually...I will never recover and I keep hoping that someday I'll have my horses again.

    In the meantime, I'm so thankful for the Blue Boards and all these fabulous places that let me hook up with cool people like you...and Angelina!

  2. I loved Kira-Kira as well. :) I haven't heard about Blue Boards, so I going to check out that site. Great post!

  3. Ghost Girl - let me know when you're ready - I'll hook you up :0). And hi Alleged Author! Nice to see you here.

  4. I love critique partners too.

    Like you, I appreciate a strong female character like Katniss.

  5. How did I miss this? Great interview, guys! You gave me another couple of books to add to my TBR list. And love the photo with you and the horse! That will look great on a book jacket someday. :-)


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