Hi Lisa, welcome to my blog!
Hi Janet! Thanks for asking me!
Can you tell us a little about yourself and how you came to write children's books?
I have been writing since I was a kid. I’ve always loved books and have taken creative writing classes any chance I could. It’s always been my dream to be an author, and I first started writing fiction for adults. But when I had my kids, I was introduced to the picture book format and discovered what I was truly mean to write – stories for children.
I love that! There's just no going back once you discover the joy of writing picture books. 😊 Can you please tell us about your book?
Peter does not like being bored, so he comes up with a way to have some festive fun—he'll celebrate a different holiday each day! But when he wakes up one morning to discover there isn't any holiday, he realizes he'll have to take matters into his own hands and make up his own!
Why did I never think of this when I was a kid??! But seriously, your book had me cracking up! I had no idea there were so many National Celebrations. What inspired you to write this story?
A few years ago, I worked as a social media manager and wrote content for client’s social media platforms. These offbeat holidays were just starting to gain popularity, and I would center content around them. I wrote “National Weird Holidays” as a Storystorm idea in 2016 and finally got down to writing it in 2017.
Ahh, Storystorm. Tara Lazar is brilliant. To my readers, if you don't know about it, I've added a link, so feel free to learn more. If you write picture books, definitely check it out!
Okay, okay, back to the interview. The ratings were just so clever. I always love to learn a little about process. Were the ratings always part of the story? Or at what point did you add them?
Thank you! I looked back at my drafts (there were about 15) . . .
Oh man. I feel you on that. So. Many. Drafts.
Yep! I added the ratings at draft 4, which was about a month into my revision process. I can’t remember what gave me the idea to add the ratings, but I’m glad I did – I think it’s a fun touch.
Brilliant touch, really. So my very favorite national celebration in the book is the National Ice Cream Sandwich Day. Yum! What is your favorite national celebration day in the book?
My favorite is the mash-up of National Bubble Bath Day and National Squirrel Appreciation Day. I tried to combine some (real!) holidays that would make for a silly scenario. But when I saw Barbara Bakos’ great illustration for this holiday, I was in awe! She really took it to another level with all her clever details.
Haha! Anything involving squirrels is AWESOME! And I loved all the detail in all the art! So much to take in with each page. Do you have a favorite image from your book by the illustrator, Barbara Bakos?
My favorite is National Underwear Day, where Peter is celebrating with underwear all over his body including, of course, his head. What child hasn’t thought they were the funniest kid in the world running around with underwear on their head? I laughed out loud when I first saw that illustration.
I mean, underwear on your head is always funny. 😂
Okay, on to the speed round!
Ice Cream Sandwich Day vs. Eat-what-you-want Day?
Eat What You Want Day!
Homecooked meal (that you don't have to cook!) vs. Take-out?
Chocolate vs. Cheese?
Thank you! So fun!! Okay, one last question. I have a fascination for personalized license plates. What do you think Peter might choose for his personalized license plate? You have 8 characters. Go!
Haha! Yep. That sounds perfect. Thanks so much again for being on my blog!
Thank you for having me Janet!
My pleasure! And for my readers, see below to find out where to get your own copy of National, Regular, Average, Ordinary Day and where you can connect with Lisa on social media.
~~~Lisa Katzenberger lives near Chicago with her husband and two children. She is the author of NATIONAL REGULAR AVERAGE ORDINARY DAY (Penguin Workshop 2020) and IT WILL BE OK (Sourcebooks 2021). She is a long-time member of SCBWI and the 12x12 picture book writing challenge.