Abby Murphy is a self-proclaimed history nerd who lives in Providence, RI. She has donned 19th-century clothing to work at a living history museum, pored over manuscripts at a literary agency, she now teaches middle school students to read, write, and think. She writes YA historical fiction and recently finished a novel based on her great-great-grandmother, who traveled to Europe in the 1890s. You can learn more about the crazy talented Abby, what she's working on, as well as some yummy recipes, at KeepTheHearthFiresBurning.net
And now a bit about my writing process:
1. What am I working on?
With the fine people at Candlewick Press, I'm working on completing Jabari Jumps!-- a picture book about a little boy who, despite his big talk, may or may not actually jump off the diving board. Its a nail biter.
2. How does my work differ from others of this genre?
The most obvious difference is that Jabari Jumps! centers around a boy and his dad who are black. (There's a little sister in there too, but she doesn't actually do much 'cause she's just a baby.) But I think the presence of a dad who is kind and supportive, and obviously very involved, is a unique perspective as well.
3. Why do I write what I do?
There's a been a lot of focus lately on the lack of diversity represented in children's books. (#WeNeedDiverseBooks ) Its something that's been going on for well, basically forever, so I think its great that its getting talked about. But honestly, when I thought up Jabari over five years ago it was more a reflection of my life's experiences--like growing up and living in cities, my involvement with adoption and experiences with blended families-- than a direct reaction to the heartbreaking statistics . However, though I'm newer to writing, representing people of all colors and ethnicities is important to me and has always been reflected in my illustration work.
In the broader sense, I really love getting into the minds of young kids. Its always a challenge to capture that voice authentically, but when it's done well it's such a treat.--for young and old readers alike. So thats what I'm aiming for.
4. How does my writing process work?
Some phrase or scenario will catch my eye and then I try to build a story around that. I try to figure out what kind of character would say/do such a thing and then it builds from there. At this point, my "writing" looks like lists with tiny scribbled thumbnails and notes After several drafts, I move on to the drawing with bigger thumbnails and storyboards. Then I redo it a million times going back and forth between the drawing and the writing. My critique group keeps me from going crazy and makes sure I'm moving forward. Everyone can relate to getting trapped in the-- oddly comforting-- endless cycle of revisions, right? Thankfully, my crit group does not allow wallowing.
Ok folks, that's it for me! Abby thanks for having me!
Let's get to know Jorge, (from my critique group as well!) Russ, and AJ! Click on the head-shots to read more about their creative processes next week!
JORGE LACERA is a fun guy with a background in creating art work for television and feature animation. He has also created visual development for computer games. Now that he's a dad, he's turned his quirky eye to children's book illustration. While the work currently shown here is of the darker kind, Jorge is developing a children's portfolio that shows his warmer, fuzzier side as well. Jorge is particularly interested in doing picture books, chapter books, graphic novels, and YA covers.
RUSS COX was raised by a pack of crazed hillbillies in the back woods of Tennessee. Without much in the way of modern conveniences, like a television set or running water, he spent his time drawing and whittling away the hours. All of that drawing paid off. He has illustrated the Freddy the Frgocaster series written by Janice Dean (Regnery Kids), Major Manners Nite Nite Soldier by Beth and Mike Hofner (Outhouse Ink), A Merry Moosey Christmas by Lynn Plourde (Islandport Press Fall 2014) and his first book that he wrote and illustrated, Faraway Friends, will be released in April 2015 by Sky Pony.
AJ SMITH: I’m an author/illustrator specializing in silly stories and funny drawings for kids (and immature adults). I live in Newburyport, MA with my beautiful girls, Karen, Mirabelle and Chloé. My first trade picture book, Even Monsters comes out in Spring 2014.