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Blog: This Writing Life


  • Writer's pictureMelissa Stoller

3 Question Interview - BRENDA MAIER

EPIC 18 is a wonderful group of debut trade picture book authors and illustrators with picture books releasing in 2018. I'm delighted to be part of this supportive group! And I'm thrilled to be interviewing fellow EPIC 18 author Brenda Maier and adding THE LITTLE RED FORT to my picture book collection!

STORIES – Discuss what inspires your ideas and stories, and share the process about your latest projects.

Like many writers, I find inspiration everywhere. I’ve gotten ideas from listening to my boys argue, watching chicks hatch at the state fair, and (of course) reading other picture books.

For my debut picture book, THE LITTLE RED FORT, the idea was the nexus of two things that were happening with my children. For a while, my youngest child only wanted to read THE LITTLE RED HEN for nap time, so that story was just kind of hanging out in my mind. During this same period of time, I found my oldest four children outside requisitioning some lattice and boards that my husband had left out. They said they were “building a fort,” and I rather admired that they’d had enough initiative to take this project on themselves, even if they should’ve asked before borrowing the materials. The idea just popped into my head. “What if the hen were building a fort instead of making bread?”

CREATIVITY -- How do you showcase/develop your creative side through writing/illustrating and other pursuits?

My goal is to write an engaging story that kids will enjoy reading. You do have to exercise some creativity in writing for children if you don’t want your story to be like every other one out there. I have a lot of things in my life that feed into my creativity. Helping kids solve their problems at both school and home. Planning lessons for my students that will excite them. Going places and doing things. Anything you do could potentially inform your next story.

CONNECTION -- How do you connect to your young readers through your writing/illustrating, and how do you stay connected to the KidLit community?

Through my stories, I hope readers discover a truth, idea, or message in them—something that speaks to them in some way.

I stay connected to the Kidlit writing community in several ways. I attend SCBWI conferences so I can continually improve my craft. Being in critique groups helps me practice the skills of both giving and taking constructive feedback. I try to keep up on Kidlit blogs, articles, and recommended book lists. I have a full time job as a gifted education specialist and I have a husband and five kids, so I can’t do it all, but I strive to be as efficient as I can with the time I have.


Brenda Maier is a member of The Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators and a teacher in a large, suburban school district. When she isn’t writing, she enjoys traveling with her family, baking peanut-free cookies, and watching her five children build amazing creations from found materials. She lives near Tulsa, Oklahoma, where she is surrounded by piles of laundry and even bigger piles of books. The Little Red Fort is her debut picture book.



Twitter: @MaierBrenda

Facebook: Brenda Maier

Instagram: brendadmaier


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