I'm delighted to feature my friend, author Jennifer Wolf Kam, on the blog today. Her beautiful and touching debut picture book, UNTIL THE BLUEBERRIES GROW, illustrated by Sally Walker, released from PJ Library this month. Jen shares about her inspiration and memories, and chats about stories . . . creativity . . . and connection. Welcome, Jen!
STORIES – Discuss the inspiration for your ideas and stories, and share the process about your latest projects.
On my blog I have a section called, “Mining Memories” and it’s about just that—digging into life experiences as inspiration for writing. Real events can inspire fictional ones—and not just the events but the emotions associated with them.
My new picture book, UNTIL THE BLUEBERRIES GROW, is a reimagining of my memories helping (or likely not helping!) my grandparents in their garden. It’s also about the loss I felt when my grandfather moved away and the joy of eventually being able to visit him again.
I’m also a huge eavesdropper. Sometimes little snippets of conversation that I overhear become story seeds. And it’s totally worth the neck strain.
CREATIVITY -- How do you showcase your creative side through writing/illustrating and other pursuits?
In addition to writing picture books and novels, I occasionally blog, and recently, I’ve been working on some articles and opinion pieces. I also enjoy word scrambles and crosswords and do them daily. I love learning new languages—I speak French, am developing a working knowledge of Hebrew, and know a bit of Spanish and German. I’m excited to learn more!
In non-writing news, about two years ago, I took up genealogy, and along with a cousin, pieced together almost two hundred years of family history, which involved some fascinating detective work. I’ve also played the flute since the 4th grade, which relaxes and restores me.
Alas, please don’t ask me to do math.
CONNECTION -- How do you connect to your young readers through your writing/illustrating, and how do you stay connected to the KidLit community?
I love to meet my readers, either in person through school visits and writing workshops, virtually on Zoom, or online through my website.
As for the KidLit world, I was fortunate to connect early on in my career with the writing community at Vermont College of Fine Arts, where I earned my MFA, and at The Writing Barn in Austin, where I’ve taken both in-person and online classes. Through these wonderful connections, I met most of my closest writer friends and my critique partners. I’m also fortunate to be a part of the 12x12 picture book group and the Jewish Kidlit Mavens, where there’s tons of support and amazing people.
Jennifer Wolf Kam has been writing since she could hold a crayon. Today she holds an MFA from Vermont College of Fine Arts. Her young adult supernatural novel, DEVIN RHODES IS DEAD, was published by Charlesbridge and nominated to VOYA MAGAZINE’S Top Shelf for Middle School Fiction. Jennifer’s debut picture book, UNTIL THE BLUEBERRIES GROW, was published by PJ Library in May 2022, and joined the PJ Library family of books.
Facebook: Jennifer Wolf Kam, Author | Facebook