Monday, April 4, 2011

Introducing Debut Picture Book Author: Kelly Hashway

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
or Follow her on Twitter at @KellyHashway


emy shin said...

Thank you for the interview, Kelly. It's very interesting to know about the writing and editing process for a picture book.

Shauna said...

Woo Hoo, Kelly!!
Not too much longer now, huh? I can't wait to read your book to the girls!

Love ya!

salarsenッ said...

Kelly, I can't wait to buy your book! And, yes, join you in the ranks of published picture book authors. Thank for all your help. You really are a gem.

Thanks, Adrienne, for the interview. I learned that maybe I'm not as far off as I thought. LOL

journeytoepiphany said...

This interview was very helpful as I am working on a picture book. I'm looking forward to checking out this blog regularly...

cleemckenzie said...

Here's a wonderfully loud *woot* for you, Kelly. This is wonderful. Your interview was great, Adrienne. Congrats to you both.

blueeyedadri said...

Thanks Emy, So many different perspectives out there in publishing.

Shauna - Me too, I have ordered them already from Amazon!

Sheri - I can't wait for to be up here to with your PB. So glad to have helped in the process.

Journey to Epihpany - Thanks for dropping by, look forward to chatting.


Valerie said...

I enjoyed reading your interview, Kelly. My official start in writing was with children's stories, and I know what you mean about the importance of word choice. The writer has to consider age-appropriate words, and use the best ones to fit into short texts. After writing to fit the needs of magazines for children, I find the word counts for adult articles luxurious. ;>

kellyhashway said...

Thanks, Adrienne, for having me. I'm honored to be on your blog.

@emy shin, I'm glad you found the process interesting.

@Shauna, this is going to seem like the longest month ever. I have a countdown on my website now, but I think that almost makes the wait seem longer!

@salarsen, I can't wait to see your PBs in print. I've really enjoyed critiquing them.

@journytoepiphany, best of luck to you with your picture book!

@cleemckenzie, it's always great to hear from you. You inspire me.

@valerie, yes! Word choice can really make you stress when it comes to children's books. But the time spent is well worth it.

Read my books; lose ten pounds! said...


Dawn Brazil said...

So excited to read the book to my little one. Congrats Kelly. Now you just have to wait. That for me would be the hardest part.

Great post!

Laura said...

Yay Kelly! What a terrific and informative interview. I completely agree about not being preachy. Your book sounds wonderful, and I loved the trailer. Best wishes. :-D

kellyhashway said...

@Read my books Thank you!

@Dawn Brazil I hope your little one enjoys it. I'm trying to become a more patient person. This process is helping.

@Laura, I'm glad you found the interview informative. Adrienne asked some great questions.

Pam Harris said...

Great interview! I don't know much about picture books, so this was very informative. :)

Samantha Sotto-Yambao said...

Great interview, Kelly! I've alway been curious about the writing and publishing process for picture books :)

Catherine Stine said...

Congrats, again, Kelly!

kellyhashway said...

@Pam, I'm glad the interview was informative.

@Sam, I hope this explained the picture book process a bit for you. I'm sure it's different for different people, but at least this gives you an idea.

@Catherine, thanks!

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