Wow! Raven Howell is on the blog today! I met Raven through Clear Fork Publishing and I'm delighted to call her a friend. I really enjoyed this behind-the-scenes peak at her creativity.
STORIES – Discuss what inspires your ideas and stories, and share the process about your latest projects.
Melissa, thanks for inviting me to your blog – I’ve been following and enjoying your posts. I love that you’re a writer as well, with a new chapter book release! My own poetry picture book, Shimmer, Songs of Night, has an upcoming release date of October 17th and we’ve all been busy celebrating the pre-launching stage.
I write lots of poetry on a regular basis. In fact, it’s something that I rarely think about consciously, it’s just something I do. Actually I may even say, it’s not something I do so much as what happens. Poetry chooses me!
My inspiration for a poem can be found just about anywhere, in anything. For instance, merely an hour and a half ago, I was deep in the mountain hiking and a poem about can openers came to visit me! Something about….”plunges and punctures with jagged jaw the curve of a can…”
Certain times I’ll peruse my stack of written poetry, new and old, and I’ll see a theme has formed. That’s what happened with Shimmer, Songs of Night. I realized I had written quite a few poems about the night or somehow relating to it, and knew it was time to compile the best of the best and work on putting together a full manuscript.
CREATIVITY - How do you showcase your creative side through writing/illustrating and other pursuits?
I’ve always found it fun and challenging to showcase my poetry or artwork to others by understanding their needs, whether that’s a specific audience (for instance, autism with my first book, Dozy Poems, Cozy Days) or with the style of a magazine or a type of picture book a certain publisher is looking for. For me, that’s creative in itself – maybe a little like homework, but it’s fun homework!
I have another poetry picture book releasing this fall titled A Star Full of Sky, and the publisher was looking for a poetry compilation exclusively written in its entirety using formal metrical rhyming. That really allowed me to test my chops! And because of this, the book holds a special place in my heart.
CONNECTION - How do you connect to your young readers through your writing/illustrating, and how do you stay connected to the KidLit community?
I hope I connect with young readers by writing and playing with words in a childlike sense of discovery that is always full of wonder (and usually some whimsy). I believe that many of our likes, the things dear to us as children, remain with us. Often they’re pushed to the background of our adult lives, but if you learn to access them, the fun begins!
The kid literature community is strong, active and very supportive. There are plenty of conferences, meetings, book events and workshops available to attend, and the social media pages are a great place to connect with others, bounce ideas around, showcase your work, give encouragement, and share honest critiques. Because of the very nature of having the written word and exhibition of art, I think authors and illustrators thrive here.
Thanks so much for having me, Melissa! It was delightful answering your questions.
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Thank you, Raven! I look forward to your upcoming books and to hopefully meeting you in person one day soon!
Raven Howell is an award-winning poet whose books for children include Dozy Poems, Cozy Days, Spinning Circles: Action Poems, Gibber/Animal Acrostics, A Star Full of Sky, and Shimmer, Songs of Night. She’s a member of the SCBWI and ILA, and her poems and artwork appear in numerous children’s magazines. Raven enjoys her poetry workshops with kids, sunny beaches, warm chocolate chip cookies, and catching sight of shooting stars!
CONNECT WITH RAVEN:
Her website: www.ravenhowell.com
Author book page: https://www.facebook.com/dozypoems/