Author Interview: Megan Pighetti (Part 2 of 2)

‘I wish, I wish with all my might that I will be fairy-tailed tonight.’

It’s not just novelists I interview here on Penstricken, y’know. Young children love a good story just as much as the rest of us, and so I was delighted to be given the opportunity to read Fairy-Tailed Wish by Megan Pighetti.

I had the pleasure of chatting with Megan about her writing routine, working with illustrators and, of course, her wonderful new picture book, Fairy-Tailed Wish which is available to buy now.

This is part two of our interview. Click here if you missed part one!

Did you find anything particularly challenging about writing Fairy-Tailed Wish?

I would say the most challenging part would be cutting down the word count. I think at one point it was over a thousand words. It is said that ideally picture books should be under 600 words. That is actually quite hard to accomplish when trying to tell an engaging story! Full disclosure, I am not there yet with my next book, but I did achieve it with Fairy-Tailed Wish. Cutting words is difficult, because as a writer you feel like you put that word in there for a reason. You really have to analyse if it can be shown in the picture or not. At the same time, I am a parent too and I know at bed time… I like to pick the shorter stories and I know they hold my child’s attention better as well.

What do you get up to when you’re not writing?

Life is always busy in our home. I have two daughters, ages eleven and eight, and now my husband is currently working from home. I am also a licensed Real Estate Agent, which I love! It offers me flexibility to work from home and connect with the adults in my life as well. I enjoy being a part of our community. As a family we love to get outside and go for a hike, spend time at the lake, or just watch a movie together. Life is an adventure and there is rarely a dull moment, or a clean house.

Who are some of your favourite picture book authors?

I love your questions; these are so much fun. There are so many that I love and I discover new ones every day. I like to volunteer at the Scholastic Book Fair at my daughters’ elementary school so I get to see all the happy faces looking at books. It also gives me a chance to look at new titles and check out some new authors. I think one of my favorite authors lately has been Drew Daywalt. His work on The Legend of Rock Paper Scissors and The Day the Crayons Quit, makes me and the kids laugh every time.

Tea or coffee?

Both. I am a lover of all things warm. I am a coffee drinker in the morning and tea drinker in the afternoon. In fact, just a few months ago (pre-COVID) my family and I toured the Celestial Seasonings factory in Boulder Colorado and learned some interesting facts about tea.

Any more books in the pipeline?

Always 😊. Currently I am working on the second book in the Fairy-Tailed series so look for another adventure staring Suzie, Dax, and Lily. I also have a couple other non-fairy books I am working on as well. Those are in more of the rough draft stages.

Have you any tips for anyone out there who might be thinking about writing a picture book?

Go for it! If you have ideas start writing them down, but don’t stop there. Do your research on what makes a story great and what makes a picture book interesting. Join support groups on social media, or in your community. It is important to seek help and advice from others that have been where you are, asking for help is a sign of strength and is a great way to improve your skills. It is a lot of work but when you see your final product in your hands it is all worth it, but the work is just beginning. Once you have wrote and produced your book it is important to focus on marketing, which is a whole new job in and of itself.

MISSED PART ONE OF THIS INTERVIEW? CLICK HERE TO CATCH UP.


Click here to visit Megan Pighetti’s website


Thanks for taking the time to read this post. If you enjoyed it, don’t forget to ‘like’ this post and also follow us so you never miss another post. You can also follow Penstricken on TwitterPinterest and like Penstricken on Facebook.

Want a blog of your own? Start writing today with WordPress.com!

WordPress.com Jetpack WooCommerce

ATTENTION AUTHORS:

Every Tuesday, I post a new edition of Spotlight: a short post which shines a proverbial spotlight on a published novel or collection of short fiction. If you would like to have your book considered for a future edition of Spotlightdrop us an e-mail including a short synopsis of your book and a link to where we can buy it. Better yet, send me a copy of your book and I can include a mini-review.

I’m still looking to interview fiction authors here on Penstricken, especially new or indie authors. Whether it’s books, plays, comics or any other kind of fiction, if you’ve got something written, I want to hear about it. If you’re interested in having your work featured on Penstricken, be to sure to drop us an e-mail or message us on Facebook/Twitter/Pinterest.

Please be advised that due to a recent surge in interest, I am presently committed to a significant number of reviews/interviews over the next couple of months. If you would like an interview or review, I would still love to hear from you, though it is unlikely that I will be able to begin work immediately.

You can check out our previous interviews here:

Author Interview: Megan Pighetti (Part 1 of 2)

‘I wish, I wish with all my might that I will be fairy-tailed tonight.’

It’s not just novelists I interview here on Penstricken, y’know. Young children love a good story just as much as the rest of us, and so I was delighted to be given the opportunity to read Fairy-Tailed Wish by Megan Pighetti.

I had the pleasure of chatting with Megan about her writing routine, working with illustrators and, of course, her wonderful new picture book, Fairy-Tailed Wish which is available to buy now.

This is part one of our interview. Be sure to check back next week for part two!

How did you get into writing picture books?

It all started with an idea that I just couldn’t shake. One that I enjoyed as a child, and I felt impacted my life in a positive way, even now as an adult. Finally, I decided, I wanted to bring the joy I felt as a child, and I saw on my children’s faces, to others in the world. Once I started writing more ideas flowed, and I realised that I had an oddly organised imagination.

What’s your writing routine like?

Picture books are meant to be short. The fewer words the better, many people may think that makes them easy to write… but it actually makes it quite tricky. Deciding what words to cut, because they can be shown in the pictures (which have not been created yet), or what expression the character can have on their faces instead of being said in words, is a difficult task. My writing routine begins with my thoughts. I do a lot of my ‘writing’ in my head. Then I jot some notes down and think some more. Once I have a story, I am happy with I go back through it again and really focus on the opening lines, then go page by page and see what I would picture as the illustration. Even though I am not the illustrator, if I cannot picture something with the text, I feel like there is not enough content there to move the story along for the reader or the illustrator on that page.

As well as being very well written, of course, Fairy-Tailed Wish is also beautifully illustrated by Tamara Piper. I’m curious, what is the process like of finding and working with an illustrator?

Great questions, I think when self-publishing everyone does it a little differently. I, personally, had a very specific vision in mind for the book. Tamara did an amazing job adding her twist to everything and bringing my vision to life. I sent her the manuscript along with my illustrative notes for each page. I tried to not be too specific so that I could give her some artistic flexibility as well. There are many different ways to find an illustrator for your picture book. I am part of lots of Facebook groups where very talented artists advertise. However, I use a site called Fiverr and I have been happy with that. That is where Tamara and I connected. She was a joy to work with and I can’t wait to collaborate with her again on my next book.

Tell us a bit more about ‘Fairy-Tailing.’ What is it and how did it come about?

I was blessed with wonderful and creative parents. I have two sisters (I’m in the middle). My Dad was in the Air Force and when we were young, we moved around a lot. My parents wanted to find ways to make each home feel similar and have traditions that followed us in each assignment. The Birthday Fairy was, by far, my favourite. I have such fond memories of how I felt waking up in the morning and seeing my room covered in toilet paper. I never had to wonder if it was my birthday, I knew the moment I opened my eyes. I wanted to share that joy with the rest of the world. Basically, the child makes a wish on their birthday eve for the Birthday Fairy to come visit during the night and they hang a homemade charm on the door. I love that a small craft is involved. It can be as simple as a few beads on a string, the magic comes from within the child after all. Then in the night the Birthday Fairy comes and Fairy-Tailes the room by decorating it with toilet paper. It is affordable and something everyone has, which is fantastic! You never have to run to the store or panic that you do not have the supplies the fairies need. When the special birthday child wakes up in the morning, they feel like they are in a magical wonderland, as they have been Fairy-Tailed. It also serves a second purpose, helping children with the concept of time. Many times, the first thing kids wake up and ask is: ‘Is today my birthday?’ The concept of time is a difficult one and it takes years to master. You want your little one to feel joy the second they wake up on their special day, and not wonder if it is today. This tradition solves that problem, which is the other reason it is one of my favourites.

COME BACK NEXT WEEK FOR PART 2


Click here to visit Megan Pighetti’s website


Thanks for taking the time to read this post. If you enjoyed it, don’t forget to ‘like’ this post and also follow us so you never miss another post. You can also follow Penstricken on TwitterPinterest and like Penstricken on Facebook.

Want a blog of your own? Start writing today with WordPress.com!

WordPress.com Jetpack WooCommerce

ATTENTION AUTHORS:

Every Tuesday, I post a new edition of Spotlight: a short post which shines a proverbial spotlight on a published novel or collection of short fiction. If you would like to have your book considered for a future edition of Spotlightdrop us an e-mail including a short synopsis of your book and a link to where we can buy it. Better yet, send me a copy of your book and I can include a mini-review.

I’m still looking to interview fiction authors here on Penstricken, especially new or indie authors. Whether it’s books, plays, comics or any other kind of fiction, if you’ve got something written, I want to hear about it. If you’re interested in having your work featured on Penstricken, be to sure to drop us an e-mail or message us on Facebook/Twitter/Pinterest.

Please be advised that due to a recent surge in interest, I am presently committed to a significant number of reviews/interviews over the next couple of months. If you would like an interview or review, I would still love to hear from you, though it is unlikely that I will be able to begin work immediately.

You can check out our previous interviews here:

Why I Love Julia Donaldson’s Picture Books

If you read books to your children (and you should), there’s a more than even chance you will have come across the work of Julia Donaldson. If you haven’t, allow me to commend her to you now. Donaldson is the author of numerous award winning picture books, including (but not limited to) The Gruffalo, Room on the Broom, Monkey Puzzle and The Smartest Giant in Town.

Before I became a parent myself, it never occurred to me that a two year old could have a favourite author. I was wrong. Whether or not my two year old understands that there is a common author behind her favourite works or not, I cannot say. One thing I do know is that the vast majority of the books she asks my wife and I to read to her over and over were penned by Julia Donaldson.

A remarkable coincidence! I hear you cry. But no, for I can also say with certainty that of all the books I read to my daughter, Julia Donaldson’s picture books are the ones that I also enjoy the most.

So what makes her work stand head and shoulders above the rest?

Perhaps one of the things I like most about her books is the non-patronising language she uses. Although it is crafted in a way which is highly accessible for small children, the quality of writing suggests a (very correct) presupposition that children are intelligent and capable of learning, rather than stupid and in need simplistic sentences and single syllable words. As a result, the word choice and sentence structure in her picture books is often not so different to what you might find in a book aimed at a much older audience, were it not for the use of repetition and rhyme which make the writing more accessible for younger audiences.

In a similar way, the stories themselves are far more tightly structured than I have found in picture books by other authors. Many non-Donaldson picture books I’ve come across either read like some strange literary acid trip (I hate these) or else have a meandering quality to them, with little or no conflict for the protagonist to overcome. For instance, Eric Hill’s Spot books follow the adventures of a puppy called Spot who does perfectly normal things, like going to library where he reads some books and brings a few home. Now there’s nothing wrong with that in a picture book (my daughter loves Spot too!), however Donaldson’s books actually employ the conventions found in more adult writing, such as giving characters motives, goals, conflicts and resolutions. This not only makes the story more enjoyable for the parent reading it, but also allows the child to experience a story with a bit of substance to it and, as a consequence, to learn a thing or two about life.

For instance, one of my daughter’s favourites is Tabby McTat, in a which a busker’s cat is accidentally separated from his master. The cat builds a new life for himself, settles down with new owners and has a family but is continually plagued by the memory of his old master until he finally goes hunting for him. Upon finding him, he is torn between returning to his old master and remaining with his new family. There is also a subplot about the youngest son of McTat’s litter who enjoys singing loudly and out of tune to such an extent that he is unable to find an owner. These conflicts are also resolved with a neat little bow at the end of the story, just like you would expect to find in any quality piece of writing.

My daughter loves this book, and will often comment not only on the central themes of the story, but will also ask us about other interesting concepts the book has introduced her to, such as busking, thieving, hospitals and family. In a similar way, whenever we read The Highway Rat, which tells the story of a highway robber, she frequently will interrupt us to ask who the stolen property belongs to; and when we tell her that it really belongs to the character the rat stole it from, my daughter will arrive at the conclusion that the rat shouldn’t have taken it. Again, when we read The Gruffalo’s Child, my daughter will explain to us that the Gruffalo’s Child really should have stayed at home, and when we get to the bit where the Gruffalo’s Child says she isn’t scared, my daughter will pipe up: ‘I think she probably is scared!’

In short, she is learning and loving it.

I suspect we often patronise our children with meaningless stories. I do believe there is an important place for low/zero conflict picture books in the world of children’s fiction so I certainly don’t mean to knock any other books or authors (except for the aforementioned acid-trip writers; you can get out of my house), but I feel that Donaldson and authors like her provide a very special service to children by giving them access to stories which will give them the experience of a character with a goal they cannot easily accomplish. If such things are wholesome for adult consumption, surely they are also beneficial to a child (provided, of course, that language and themes are age appropriate).

As for me, I can think of no better compliment for a children’s author than to say that her writing both teaches and pleases my daughter; and that is exactly what Julia Donaldson has accomplished time and time again.


Thanks for taking the time to read this post. If you enjoyed it, don’t forget to ‘like’ this post and also follow us so you never miss another post. You can also follow Penstricken on TwitterPinterest and like Penstricken on Facebook.

Want a blog of your own? Start writing today with WordPress.com!

WordPress.com Jetpack WooCommerce

ATTENTION AUTHORS:

Every Tuesday, I post a new edition of Spotlight: a short post which shines a proverbial spotlight on a published novel or collection of short fiction. If you would like to have your book considered for a future edition of Spotlightdrop us an e-mail including a short synopsis of your book and a link to where we can buy it. Better yet, send me a copy of your book and I can include a mini-review.

I’m still looking to interview fiction authors here on Penstricken, especially new or indie authors. Whether it’s books, plays, comics or any other kind of fiction, if you’ve got something written, I want to hear about it. If you’re interested in having your work featured on Penstricken, be to sure to drop us an e-mail or message us on Facebook/Twitter/Pinterest.

Please be advised that due to a recent surge in interest, I am presently committed to a significant number of reviews/interviews over the next couple of months. If you would like an interview or review, I would still love to hear from you, though it is unlikely that I will be able to begin work immediately.

You can check out our previous interviews here: