Today, my guest is children's author, Judy Cox. Judy is here to tell us about her latest release, Haunted House, Haunted Mouse.
1. Why don't you start with telling us a little about yourself? What genre do you write in and why?
I write picture books, early chapter books for ages 6-9; and mid-grade novels (ages 8-12). My chapter books are realistic and humorous, and my books for older children are animal fantasy (and also humorous.) My picture books cover a lot of different ground—but they are mostly humorous as well!
2. Tell me about your current book which you are promoting.
Haunted House, Haunted Mouse is a picture book for ages 4-8, illustrated by Jeffrey Ebbeler and published by Holiday House. It’s the third in the Mouse series that we’ve done together. Mouse likes to explore, and his sweet tooth gets him into trouble. In Haunted House, Haunted Mouse, a Halloween-themed book, Mouse finds and explores a house that may, or may not, be haunted. The other books in the series are One is a Feast for Mouse and Cinco de Mouse-O!
How long have you been writing? What got you interested in writing, and what inspired you to write your first book?
I’ve always loved to make up stories and daydream. I started my first book when I was eleven, but I never finished writing it.
Do you outline before you write? If not, what’s your initial process?
I don’t always outline before I write, but I usually end up making an outline or plot diagram about halfway through writing the first draft. Then I have to go back and rewrite. A messy process, but it seems to work for me.
What comes first: the plot or the characters?
The characters nearly always come first, and some sort of situation that they find themselves in. I find plot to be the more difficult part of a book. I have to get to know the characters first. I often write many chapters that I later discard.
How long does it take to write a book for you?
It varies from book to book. I’ve done books in as little as a few days or as long as ten years. I wrote the first Mouse book, One is a Feast for Mouse, to demonstrate an exercise I was teaching to a writing class. I wrote it in a matter of hours and it needed little revision. Most books take much longer!
Describe your writing space.
I write in a spare bedroom in my house that I call my office. I have a computer and a big chair for my cat to nap on. I usually listen to classical music on the radio while I work, but my husband has his music studio beneath my office, so right now I’m listening to him play surf guitar.
I love to read, of course! I also sing and play bass guitar in a couple of different bands, and I dance with a belly dance troupe. I recently performed my first solo dance!
What books or authors have influenced your writing?
I have too many favorites to list, but some of them are: A Wrinkle in Time by Madeline L’Engle, The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe by C. S. Lewis, The Swing in the Summerhouse by Jane Langton, The Wind in the Willows by Kenneth Grahame, Mary Poppins by PL Travers, The Borrowers by Mary Norton, and all of Elizabeth Enright’s books.
9. What so you see for the future of publishing and e-books?
I just bought a Kindle and I’ve been reading public domain classics on it, like The Moonstone and Ivanhoe. It’s lovely to be able to enlarge the font. I think e-books will change the market in ways we haven’t considered yet. But all the same, I love the feel of a hard backed book, and I collect old children’s books for that reason.
What are your current books out right now and what are the books coming up for
I’ve had twenty-two books published. The new ones coming up are: The Secret Chicken Society (Holiday House, 2012); Happy Birthday, Mrs. Millie! (Marshall Cavendish, 2012) and SnowMouse (Holiday House, 2021)
This September, I’ve been asked to help at the Oregon State Pavilion at the National Book Festival in Washington DC. They will feature my picture book, Don’t Be Silly, Mrs. Millie! It’s a great thrill to be asked to represent Oregon.
1. What advice would you give a new writer just starting out?
Read extensively. Write every day. Revise and revise and revise. Be persistent. Learn from rejection, but don’t give up.
Where can people learn more about you and your work?
My website is www.judycox.net
AUTHOR: Judy Cox
BOOK TITLE: Haunted House, Haunted Mouse
PUBLISHER: Holiday House
BUY LINK: My books are available at all bookstores. http://www.indiebound.org/indie-store-finder
Mouse crawls into a trick or treat bag on Halloween night and is whisked off on a new adventure. 32 pages