I am so happy to begin my 3 Question Interview Series with Children's Author Tonya Calvert. The three questions relate to the theme of this blog, “This Writing Life – Stories . . . Creativity . . . Connection.” Tonya is the author of the newly released picture book, SAYLOR ON THE SEASHORE, published by Clear Fork Publishing (and she's also one of my Spork Sisters!).
QUESTION 1: STORIES – Discuss what inspires your ideas and stories, and share the process about your latest projects.
I am inspired by what I see all around me. I think if you keep your eyes open and you are observant, there are stories everywhere. Most of my ideas for children’s stories come from observations about my own children and from things I see in nature. I especially love writing children’s stories about animals. I get ideas from long walks in my neighborhood, and the parks, lakes and rivers nearby. The idea for Saylor on the Seashore came from observing the birds at the beach. Some recent projects, The Origami Elephant and Kitty Longlegs, were both inspired by very ordinary events. My 10 year old made an origami animal menagerie and as we admired it on the mantle, we wondered “what if” one of the animals came down and had an adventure. Kitty Longlegs was inspired by a long-legged cat I met on my usual neighborhood walk.
QUESTION 2: CREATIVITY -- How do you showcase your creative side through your writing and other pursuits?
With 3 boys in the house, journaling and drawing have always been a way for me to unwind and relax. I believe everyone has something they are creative at, whether it is art, music, even cooking. It is important to get in touch with your creative side. It is fulfilling and relaxing at the same time. I am constantly writing down ideas for stories based on things I see around me.
QUESTION 3: CONNECTION -- How do you connect to your young readers through your writing, and how do you stay connected to the kidlit community?
I hope children “see themselves” in the characters I write about. I try to give the animals in the stories childlike qualities as they deal with typical childhood issues, such as being brave, shyness, contentment, and following rules.
I stay connected through several writer’s groups and my Clear Fork family has been very supportive and helpful.
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Thanks, Tonya! I'm so excited about your new book and to see what comes next!
Tonya Calvert enjoys writing children's stories, short stories and creating watercolor art. She finds inspiration all around her, especially on nature walks and at her favorite destination, the Florida Gulf Coast. She has a BS from Columbus State University and a JD from Atlanta's John Marshall Law School. She paused her legal career to homeschool her children and has never looked back. She's been married to her high school sweetheart for 24 years. They live a blessed life in the Deep South with their 3 boys.
Connect with Tonya at:
Facebook: Tonya Calvert