Monday, June 29, 2020

Author Interview: Lisa Katzenberger

 Hello my friends! I'm so excited to have another wonderful picture book author here on my blog. I knew I would like Lisa Katzenberger as soon as I heard the title of her book: NATIONAL REGULAR AVERAGE ORDINARY DAY. We happily connected on Twitter, and I'm so thrilled she agreed to an interview. So let's get to it! As always, I'm the one in bold green letters.
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 boredso 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? 


Winnie-the-pooh character? 


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.

You can find her website HERE, and follow her on TwitterGoodreads, Facebook, and Instagram

Copies of NATIONAL REGULAR AVERAGE ORDINARY DAY can be purchased from Lisa's favorite Indy bookstore, Anderson's Bookshop, as well as Bookshop.orgAmazonB&N, and wherever books are sold.

Monday, June 15, 2020

Author Interview: Sharon Giltrow

Today we have another author interview! I'm so excited to have Sharon Giltrow on my blog just in time for Father's Day! She is the author of Bedtime, Daddy! which released on May 12th. Let's jump right in, and as always, I'm in bold green.

Hi Sharon, welcome to my blog! Can you tell us a little about yourself and how you came to write children's books?

Sure, I would love to 😊. I am the youngest of eight children and grew up on a farm in South Australia. My childhood was spent reading, making mud pies, exploring the salt lake and swimming at the beach. Now I am a part-time teacher of children who have a developmental language disorder and best of all a full-time writer. I started writing children’s books when my first child was born in 2006 but it wasn’t until 2015 that I started taking the idea that I could become an author seriously. I joined Julie Hedlund’s 12x12 picture book challenge, enrolled in children’s book courses and started my journey towards becoming a published author.

Wow! SEVEN older brothers and sisters. As it happens, I grew up near a salt lake as well! Floating on the water is a pretty interesting experience. And I'm so glad you decided to write. Please tell us about your book!

Bedtime, Daddy! Is a humorous role reversal story, where the little bear in the story puts their daddy bear to bed. To do this the little bear must wrestle daddy bear into his pajamas, read just one more story, battle endless excuses, and use go-away monster spray to finally get daddy to bed. The story has a great balance between heart and humor. It would make a perfect bedtime and Father’s Day book, and there's even a Teacher's Guide.

I loved the role-reversal in Bedtime Daddy! What inspired you to write it?

My husband and my children. Over the last fourteen years my husband and I have taken turns reading to our children and putting them to bed.  During the nightly bedtime routine, I had a lightbulb thought… ‘wouldn’t it be funny if our children put us the parents to bed.’ The idea for Bedtime, Daddy! was born.

I love those lightbulb moments! And the steps of getting Daddy to bed are hilarious. One of my favorite parts is the monster spray. Do you have a favorite part of the story?

My favourite part of the story is when Daddy Bear and Little Bear are snuggled up in bed reading a story and Daddy Bear interrupts the story with these questions…

Why don’t ducks have arms?’ Or ‘Do sharks sneeze?

They were awesome questions! I love the randomness of it all. So true to life!  And let's talk art. The art is so whimsical, and fits the book perfectly. It really helps the reader feel that the advice is coming from a kid. Did you have any input on the art or illustrator? What was your reaction at seeing the art?

EK Books asked Katrin Dreiling to illustrate Bedtime, Daddy! Before I signed the contract, they sent me Katrin’s early sketches of the characters. There was a daddy bear, a human dad, a little bear and a little child.  Anouska the editor made a suggestion that perhaps using bear characters would have a more universal appeal. I trusted Anouska’s advice and am very happy with the bear characters. I love Katrin’s illustrative style and colour palette and she has illustrated my words and vision perfectly. When I first saw the storyboard for Bedtime, Daddy! I was ecstatically happy.

How interesting! Very cool that you had a choice on that. Can we talk writing for a minute? How many picture books would you say you wrote before finally getting a deal on this one?

My first picture book I wrote was in 2006, I then went on to write nine more before I signed the deal for Bedtime, Daddy! Since signing the deal I have written four more picture book manuscripts and one chapter book manuscript.

That is a lot of books. This business takes a lot of perseverance! What helped you the most on the path to publication?

Not giving up and believing in myself! As well as the support of my critique partners and the Kidlit community. Surround yourself with like-minded writers.

That is great advice. Having that support makes all the difference!

One last question. I have a fascination for personalized license plates. What do you think Little Bear might choose for his personalized license plate? You have 8 characters. Go!


Hahaha! I love it! So perfect. Okay, I know I already said last question, but where can we purchase Bedtime, Daddy!

Bedtime, Daddy! is now available to order around the world:

Thanks so much! And for my readers, see below for where to find and follow Sharon on social media platforms.

Sharon Giltrow grew up in South Australia, the youngest of eight children, surrounded by pet sheep and fields of barley. She now lives in Perth, WA with her husband, two children and a tiny dog. When not writing, Sharon works with children with Developmental Language Disorder. Sharon was awarded the Paper Bird Fellowship in 2019. Her debut PB Bedtime, Daddy, released May 2020 through EK books.

You can find Sharon on her Website, Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter.