This is our third post in a series spotlighting authors who participated in the Portsmouth Literary Festival last fall. We’d like to introduce you to the amazing Stephanie Workman, author of the first in the Amazing Friends series of picture books.
Kid Lit Universe: What type of writing do you do?
Stephanie Workman: I write picture books. My first picture book Lucy’s Amazing Friend is about an eight-year-old girl named Lucy who befriends Daniel, a boy living with autism. It was inspired by my husband’s high school friendship with a classmate living with autism. I’m hoping to turn it into a series called Amazing Friends in which each book will be about a different character and the issue they are dealing with.
KLU: How did you get started writing children’s books?
SW: When I was a student at Emerson College I took a children’s writing class taught by children’s author Lisa Jahn-Clough. I learned that writing for children was much more of a challenge than I thought it would be and I absolutely loved it. I’m a wordy writer…my first drafts of any genre are always long. In that class, I learned how to “show and not tell” and that “less is more.” Telling a compelling story in thirty-two pages is harder than people think. I still struggle with it today.
KLU: What role has the kid lit community played in your writing career?
SW: I hate speaking in front of an audience, but I love reading books to children. I’ve had quite a few opportunities to participate in Children’s Author Fairs and have been able to read my story to groups of children. When you see how absorbed the children are in your story, you know you hit the nail on the head. Children are your best critics.
KLU: Do you set a daily writing goal?
SW: I constantly set daily writing goals, and they never stick. I just started a new goal last week. Every day when I get home from work, I tell my husband not to bother me for a half hour, sit at my laptop, put in earplugs, set a timer for thirty minutes, and write. When the timer goes off, I’m done for the day.
KLU: What is your favorite children’s book?
SW: I was always one who preferred illustrations to photographs, but when I picked up The Remarkable Riderless Runaway Tricycle by Bruce McMillan I was mesmerized by the black and white photos that went along with the story. A red tricycle rolls back by itself to its owner after his parents threw it out. It gave me the chills and was both creepy and awesome at the same time. McMillan is from Maine and as a bonus, you can even spot George Bush’s house in one of the photos.
KLU: What are you working on now?
SW: My agent, Amaryah Orenstein of GO Literary Agency, recently helped me edit a story called Where Are You Baby Bear? The story shows that it doesn’t matter how a family is formed, it’s the love you have for one another that matters most. Next step is a book deal. Fingers crossed.
Check out Stephanie’s book: