Sunday, August 23, 2009

Interview with Children's Picture Book Author Summer K. Hall

Author Summer K. Hall believes that to love stories not only means to read them but to write them as well. “I would love for all children to be given the opportunity to enjoy exploring their world in new and creative ways.”

Q. Thank you for agreeing to be interviewed Summer, why don't we start with you telling us a little bit about yourself.

A. Hello! I would like to say I have many jobs. First, I am a new mother of Alyssa-age 3 weeks. I am a 2nd grade teacher and have taught for 14 years. I am an author of 3 books-my favorite being Bella Upside Down!

Q. When did you start writing for children? What did you do before?

A. I started writing for kids back when I was a kid. I dabbled in story writing through college and started my first book 2 years ago. I have taught grades K through 3 and read multiple books daily to my students. Kids have always been my job!

Q. Has being a teacher helped you to develop story ideas?

A. Being a teacher has made me learn to love children’s literature, collect a billion books and inspire reading and writing in my own students.

Q. Tell us a little bit about the recent book you've written. Where did you come up with the idea?

A. My most recent books are Bella Upside Down and Mirabelle’s Castle. Both books were inspired by students in my 2nd grade classes. Having taught over 200 students, I have come across some of the most memorable personalities that have become the main characters in all of my stories.

Q. What are you working on right now? Do you have any other projects lined up?

A. I am working on a 4th picture book as well as a middle grade novel. I hope to get all of my 3 completed books illustrated and published so my daughter, my students and kids everywhere can enjoy them.

Q. What would you say to people who think picture books are easy to write?

A. There are so many picture books out there, but not all of them become favorites for kids. I have seen my students return to the really great ones and read them over and over again. It may seem easy to write one, but it is never easy to write a really GREAT one!

Q. Tell us about your writing habits?

A. When I get a character in my head, I sit down and create a character centered story based on his or her personality. I usually write the rough draft in one day but I spend months to years refining my story, collecting critiques, and attending SCBWI conferences for even more ideas.

Q. Do you do any school presentations?

A. I want Bella Upside Down to lead me to my first school presentation. We hold an Author’s Festival annually and my goal is to be a showcased author.

Q. What advice would you give to aspiring young authors?

A. Read, read, read, and write, write, write….revise draft after draft. Share with others, read your stories to other kids, and continue to find authors that inspire you.

Q. What was your favorite book as a young child?

A. My favorite picture book was and still is Eric Carle’s The Very Hungry Caterpillar-Genius story and illustrations.

Thank you Summer, and good luck with all your upcoming projects, including your most recent book “Bella Upside Down” a finalist in the ABC Book Competition. You can vote for Summer (and myself) starting September 20 – October 4 @ Click on 5th Annual Competition to find the list of finalists. The author/illustrator team with the most votes will receive a royalty-based publishing contract for their winning entry.

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