When did you first become interested in going into writing and publishing? What sparked your interest?
I always loved to write stories ever since I was really young, but I didn’t write to pursue publication until a few years ago.
As the parent of children on the autism spectrum and who also struggle with anxiety, I am a big fan of Sally J. Pla‘s books and their representations of neurodiversity. Her most recent middle grade novel Stanley Will Probably Be Fine illustrated by Steve Wolfhard (HarperCollins, 2018), and her debut The Someday Birds, illustrated by Julie McLaughlin (HarperCollins,
By Kelly Jensen
It was mid-2014 when I got a rush of frantic messages on Twitter from a number of authors telling me to be in touch with Elise Howard at Algonquin Young Readers (AYR). She really wanted to talk with me.
One talk quickly led to a group call with Krestyna Lypen, editor at AYR, and in January 2015, I sold my first in a trio of nonfiction anthologies to Krestyna and Elise.
What first inspired you to illustrate for young readers?
I always loved reading children’s books and the love only grew as I aged.
My chronicles explore the heart and spirit of writers, the emotional and psychological issues and strengths that stir our creativity and are stirred by our work and the obstacles that impact our processes.
What strengths does each writer have that create and maintain emotional resilience?
How does an author’s or illustrator’s own internal process and state of mind intertwine with the narrative arc of her work?
Picture book author Sue Ganz-Schmitt had two new picture book releases last fall, and both contained storylines that embrace differences and fostered inclusion.
My most recent release, Soraya and the Mermaid, illustrated by Jen Naalchigar and Atieh Sohrabi (Reycraft, 2020), is the first in a series. The second book, Soraya and the Dragon, releases this spring.
Working on a series means constant collaboration and communication with an editor. I am so thankful that my editor, Sarah Jane Brian,
I’m excited to introduce our readers to Roseanne A. Brown, author of A Song of Wraiths and Ruin (Balzar + Bray, 2020), and Diana Ma, author of Heiress Apparently (Abrams, 2020). While these two YA debut novels may seem different in genre and tone, their authors both realized the goal of creating characters that validated themselves.