Find Wendy around the web:
My First Picture Book Q & A on Karlin Gray's Blog
Interview on Tuesday Writers Blog
Top Ten Picture Books That Encourage Us To Get Outside and Explore post on Nerdy Book Club
Bridget and the Books Meet the Author
Michigander Monday Q &A on Jumping the Candlestick, Deborah Diesen's Blog
Ten Bits of Wisdom Gleaned From My Favourite (Recent) Picture Books on Nerdy Book Club
Debut Author Interview on Lynn Marie's My Word Playground
Author Spotlight on KidLit411
What to do While Waiting on The Mitten, SCBWI Michigan's blog
Profile at Ripple Grove Press
Writing and Illustrating with Kathy Temean
Wendy BooydeGraaff grew up on a fruit farm in Ontario, Canada, where she spent many hours imagining unlikely stories while picking cherries. She now lives in Michigan, USA with her family. SALAD PIE is her first published book.
Questions & Answers
Q. When did you start writing? (from Ava in Grand Rapids, Michigan)
A. I was about three years old, and my favourite book in the world was Dr. Seuss’s Marvin K. Mooney, Will You Please Go Now. Something about that story—the rhyme, the stubbornness of Marvin, the imagination of the narrator—resonated with my three-year-old self, and I read it over and over and over. I so wanted to travel by Zumble-Zay. (Memorization is one of the first steps to reading.)
At some point I decided I was going to write the best book ever, and so I got out some paper and pencil crayons (which is Canadian-speak for what USA residents call coloured pencils) and wrote the best book ever, called Marvin K. Mooney, Will You Please Go Now. Yup, I copied the entire book, except on the cover, I put my name instead of Dr. Seuss’s. I can still see the place in the dining room where I made the book, and I can see one of the illustrations and my crooked name on the front cover. I was so proud of that book!
Then my sister came home from Kindergarten and she told me I didn’t write that book, I copied it. She gave me my first lesson in plagiarism, but I refused to believe her. I knew I had written each and every one of those words—I could see them right there in my own handwriting. I clutched my homemade Marvin K. Mooney book and insisted I had written it. I don’t think we ever settled that argument, although I don’t remember seeing my edition of Marvin K. Mooney again after that. I’m sure my sister had nothing to do with it going missing, though.
Q. Why did you write this book? (from Kaitlyn in Grand Rapids, Michigan)
A. I wrote Salad Pie because I thought the idea of a pie made of salad was funny. My oldest daughter said the words “Salad Pie” one time at a playground and I couldn’t get the term out of my head. When she took a nap, I started writing down a picture book manuscript, titled Salad Pie. The story changed over time, but the title stayed the same.
Q. When did you decide you wanted to be a writer? (from Janet in Hamilton, Ontario)
A. 1996. Seriously, I woke up on January 1, 1996 and knew I wanted to write. Though I loved books, it had never occurred to me to write books until that day, when I had already begun my teaching career. I subscribed to Writer’s Digest and started writing a novel in my free time. At that point, I thought that’s all it would take, and my new career would be off. I had so much to learn! There were a lot of stops and starts and sidelines, but I always came back to writing fiction.
Q. What was the path like to get your book published? Long and difficult or short and sweet? (from Peggy in Valencia, California)
A. Long and sweet! The difference between writing a story and having it ready for publication is huge. When I first wrote Salad Pie, I sketched it out by hand. I'm a words person, so no one ever saw my sketches, but after I had that story set the way I liked it, I typed it up manuscript-style and had my first readers read it (my family). They helped me fix up any little glitches and encouraged me enough to show it to my critique partners. After several rounds of rewriting, I was ready to show it to strangers. This was one of the first stories I wrote for children, and it took years to get published. But, I kept writing along the way, and I met great people through my writing (some of whom also had their first picture book published in 2016). If you are interested in writing or illustrating a picture book, check out KidLit411, Tara Lazar's blog and SCBWI. Then find or start a writer's group.
be the interviewer
Ask a question and check back for the answer.