"I Want to Be Baptized"—from the same author and illustrator who brought you "The Holy Ghost Is like a Blanket"—depicts what baptism really means for children’s lives by comparing it to objects they remember and relate to.
Turn to these heartwarming illustrations and meaningful analogies next time a child asks you about baptism.
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1. If you could work with any other author, who would it be and why? There are plenty of authors I admire. Bob Staake, David L. Harrison, Julianne Donaldson, Kelly Milner Halls, and Merrilee Boyack to name a few. I think collaborating with Josi S. Kilpack on a children's mystery book would be fun -- cooking up something yummy in the process would be a special treat. And definitely Sheri Fink -- her whimsical world is something I'd love to be part of one day. My daughter loves her books which encourage and empower children to do good and be good. Also, when it comes to children's books, the illustrator has a big role. Corey Egbert was my pick for "The Holy Ghost is Like a Blanket" and it was only natural for him to illustrate "I Want to Be Baptized" And yet with a new children's storybook in my head, I've been conjuring a new style which has allowed me to venture into the art world again -- David Habben is currently a new favorite artist.
2. What would be a typical working day for you? When and where do you write? The family is up by 6am and we're out the door to school and work by 7:30am (if I haven't forgotten to feed them or read the scriptures – it’s a good start). At 5pm we're back home together for dinner, family prayer, and bedtime routines (which may or may not include eating dessert first). By 8pm the kids are tucked into bed, and that's when the real day begins -- the reading & writing routine. First, I write in my journal (it’s my data dump). Then, I edit the previous days’ work (the clean, clear & concise method) and press forward with new work. I alternate days between writing children's books and other genres. But at pumpkin time, I go to sleep (as in, I need my beauty rest & that starts at 10pm). I write in journals, on magazines, and in Google Drive. My favorite is still composition notebooks though.
3. What is the hardest part of the writing for you? Knowing when to submit the work to a publisher is the hardest part for me. Polishing work can take an eternity, but it’s important to remember that no amount of refining or editing will help if it doesn't meet the publisher's needs at that time. At some point, I realize that I've addressed all the major issues and the publisher needs to decide what happens next. Then, it just takes a lot of courage to find the right publisher -- weeding through the rejection until you sprout up and find the publisher that will help your book blossom. For these children’s books, it was Cedar Fort Inc. [Thanks to an intro by my friend, Merrilee Boyack].
4. When and why did you first start writing? I daydream. I write snail mail. I write short stories. I write poetry. I write more. I read. And I write again. My 8th birthday, with a children's illustrated dictionary and an "About Me" journal, launched me into the writing world. Words and stories have filled my mind ever since and I continue to see the world for what I imagine it should be not necessarily what it is. My friend, Julianne Donaldson, author of "Edenbrooke" and "Blackmoore" suggested I submit one of my true stories to the Friend magazine. I did and it was published in Sept 2010 - "Garbage Can Graffiti". It was an exciting event that propelled me to continue writing and submitting to publishers my fiction and non-fiction works.
5. How did you come up with the idea for your book? "I Want to Be Baptized" is the prequel to "The Holy Ghost is Like a Blanket" and both are the result of a parent's need to teach their young children about Gospel principles and ordinances. It took a lot of prayer and patience to decide what are the main goals were - what do children need to know and feel while reading the book - and I'm grateful these LDS Non-fiction children's books came together so well.
6. Are you a big reader? If so, what are you reading now? Yes, reading books is a huge part of perfecting the storytelling craft and I read multiple styles (YA, Picture Books, Love Inspired, Comics…) at the same time. I just finished "The Fault in Our Stars" by John Green. My nightstand currently has the series of Latter-day tales by Rebecca H. Jamison, "Green Eggs and Ham" by Dr. Suess, "Math Curse" by Jon Scieszka, "Bluebird" (wordless) by Bob Staake, and "The Rancher and the Schoolteacher" by Judith Bowen. [You can see my 'shelfie' pic @helpfulannalisa with many of my favorite children's books.]
7. Do you have any advice for other aspiring writers? (A) Write and write and write, (B) Join the national book / writers’ club for your genre(s) and be a member of the corresponding local chapters [i.e. SCBWI ], and (C) Please your readers [meet their expectations] -- give them a great story.