Most of us are parents, and through probably one degree of separation we have nieces, nephews, god children and friends with children. I'm sure most of us are fed up of reading the same picture book after picture book. I came across Kelly's wonderful debut at JacketFlap.
Changing it up this week from YA authors, even though that's what Kelly writes, Kelly took some time to talk picture book publishing with me and seeing her words go to print after many, many, many edits....
Most of our readers and contributors have children, writing a Picture Book seems like so much fun. Can you share with us how you write a Picture Book?
I spend most of my day reading picture books to my daughter, and that really helps. I study different books to get a feel for the sound quality, the word choice, and the balance between what needs to be written and what can rely on the illustrations. After that, I start much like I would when I’m writing a novel. I have an idea and I brainstorm how to develop that idea into a story kids would want to read.
Morality seems to play a large part in Picture Books, how do you work out what lesson to put in each book?
I don’t like to be preachy. No kid wants to have a lesson shoved in their face, so I try to be subtle. I have some picture books that are more humorous than anything else, and others that have definite lessons but also entertain so the lesson isn’t overwhelming. I never begin writing the book with the lesson in mind. I create a character or situation and the lesson will develop from that, never taking over the story though.
A Picture Books Journey...
How long would it take from First Draft to complete manuscript?
For me, it completely depends on the story. I spend a while just brainstorming ideas, jotting down everything that comes to me—bits of dialogue, plot, character names. Once the story is fleshed out in my mind, I sit down to draft it. I’m a perfectionist so my drafts can take a while. After I revise a few dozen times, I let the manuscript sit for a few weeks and work on something else. Then I’ll go back to it with fresh eyes before sending it off to my critique partners. After that it’s back to revisions again. When my eyes are about to fall out of my head, I know it’s ready to start submitting.
How long would the illustrations take to complete?
I didn’t illustrate my book, but I was paired with the very talented Valerie Bouthyette. My picture book was accepted for publication in October and Valerie had her sketches drawn pretty quickly—probably a month later. It was amazing to see my story come to life through someone else’s eyes. The sketches then became full-color illustrations by the end of December. It happened rather quickly.
Assuming the book has already sold, the road to publication of a picture book differs from that of the regular publishing process. Can you take us through the steps to publication after your work is complete.
I went through several rounds of edits. You’d be amazed how many edits you can go through with a picture book! Since the books are short, word choice is very important. Once my illustrations were competed, I went back to edits to make sure the text and pictures matched. I had to make some minor changes to accommodate some of the illustrations. It’s very much a 50/50 between the text and illustration. After these changes were made, I went to another round of edits before my final edits. I told you it was a lot of editing. Then the proof was created and the book was sent off for reviews.
Thanks so much Kelly for joining us, I'm off to order some copies for my children's school Library.
You can order your copy of MAY THE BEST DOG WIN
For other works of Kelly Hashway visit www.kellyhashway.com
or Follow her on Twitter at @KellyHashway