I couldn't resist doing an interview with my friend and author, Jennifer Cole Judd. Her newest release, Circus Train, hit the shelves last week. Jen is a brilliant poet and an incredible person all around as you will see from the brief interview below:
Your latest book, Circus Train, is a rhymer, which you do very well. How hard was it to sell and where did the idea come from? How long did it take from its creation to is ultimate publication?
Thanks, Johnell! The idea for Circus Train was born when (surprise, surprise) I took my young kids to the circus one day. It was watching my then five-year-old daughter's eyes light up with wonder that brought a wave of nostalgia and excitement for me. It was like a sensory explosion, and watching her take it all in was pretty special. I really wanted to capture that magic and wonder, so I sat down that evening to write a poem about it. The poem expanded and became picture book length. This was back in 2006. I had been taking Anastasia Suen's Intensive Picture Book Workshop online at the time, so the manuscript went through some great critiquing. I was really new to children's writing back then, and was focused primarily on poetry writing, so when I subbed the story out and got a couple of rejections, I put it away for a while. Well, quite a while, actually! I pulled the manuscript out in 2012, after having spent some years working on rhythm, rhyme, and learning the craft (and after my first publication, Eyeball in My Garden had been out!). It was then that I added the train to the story. I revised it, shared it with my critique partners, and subbed it to Two Lions. I was surprised (and thrilled) when they acquired it a few months later. I know that doesn't happen a lot in the industry, so I feel extremely blessed (and lucky!) that this story was acquired that quickly...but, I think the span of six years helped! (I wish I could say all of my other stories and poems came together that magically!)
You've been doing author events already. What's been the best one you've done and what feedback are you getting? Which events seem to work best for you and what advice would you give an author preparing for a book tour?