Shelley Kinder's debut picture book, Not So Scary Jerry, is releasing from Clear Fork Publishing on September 19th! Welcome Shelly - I'm so excited to read your upcoming PB! And I'm happy to chat with you here on the blog today!
STORIES – Discuss what inspires your ideas and stories, and share the process regarding your latest projects.
First, I just want to say thanks so much for inviting me to your blog, Melissa!
My biggest source of inspiration is probably my four kids. They are young, ages four to nine, so they are always saying crazy (and sweet) things. Several times a week, you’ll hear me say, “Now that would be a great title for a book!” My family is probably a little tired of that phrase…LOL.
We always have tons of picture books from the library on our shelves, so I’m constantly reading those to stay up to date with the market, and of course, those give me ideas too. I’m super drawn to quirky stories with unpredictable twists and turns and spunky characters. Not So Scary Jerry, my first published book, fits that description to a T. Not only is Jerry not scary, but he has a lot of quirks. My illustrator, Caryn Schafer, added an adorable pug to the story, and his expressions throughout the book are priceless.
The inspiration for several of my stories has been Susanna Leonard Hill’s holiday contests. I discovered her Halloween contest in 2015. The story had to be 100 words or less and use three specific words. I found that challenge to be so incredibly fun! I knew I had to enter. I ended up winning the contest with a dino story called A Meaty Trick-Or-Treat. I think I would write a lot more stories if someone would give me a weekly assignment with specific guidelines (and a deadline) like Susanna’s.
Other sources of inspiration for my stories have been: An irritating fly, the sunrise, and God (I aspire to write more faith based stories in the future). My inspiration really comes from all over the place. I imagine most writers feel that way.
CREATIVITY -- How do you showcase your creative side through writing and other pursuits?
I like to let my mind go a little crazy, off the beaten path, when I write. It’s hard for me to write about common themes unless I come up with an unusual slant or point of view that I think will entice readers. I also enjoy photography and dabble in abstract painting, as well as little projects around the house. My next victim is the kitchen table, which I plan to paint white and distress. I also have a stack of frames waiting to be painted that I’m going to arrange in a wall collage to display my kids’ art. I’m really excited about that project!
CONNECTION -- How do you connect to your young readers through your writing, and how do you stay connected to the KidLit community?
I use humor a lot to connect to readers. If I’m not sure if something is kid-friendly enough, I’ll run it by my kids to get their opinions. Kids are so honest. I love it.
I stay connected to the KidLit community mainly through Facebook groups and Twitter. I’m also a member of SCBWI, but I have yet to attend a conference. I have also found a wonderfully supportive community of writers and illustrators through Clear Fork Publishing, the publisher of my first two books. The KidLit community is amazing! I’m so happy to be a part of it.
Again, thank you Melissa for letting me hang out on your blog!
* * *
I really enjoyed spending time with you, Shelley! And I'm so excited for the September 19th release of your debut picture book! I can't wait to meet Jerry!
BIO: Shelley lives in Indiana with her Rhode Island born kids and husband. When Shelley is not writing or cleaning up after little people, she’s probably thinking about writing (or about how she should be cleaning). Not So Scary Jerry is her first picture book, releasing on September 19th. The Masterpiece, a faith based story, is her second, and will release in the spring of 2018. Both books are being published by Spork, an imprint of Clear Fork Publishing.
CONNECT WITH SHELLEY: