Tiny Talk Tueday with . . . Jessica Lanan

I gal from Colojessicarado spent her free time drawing pictures. She created her first picture book at age eight, called “Skeleton Dog.”

Later, she earned a BA in fine art with a focus on sculpture. She was the recipient of the 2011 Portfolio Mentorship Award at the SCBWI Los Angeles conference, and is currently working on a new picture book with Lee & Low Books, slated for sometime in 2015. Jessica has written picture books, Good Fortune In A Wrapping Cloth and Great Uncle Alistair.

I noticed Jessica’s work through Facebook. Her black and white drawing were so detailed. They evoke a lot of emotion. Her color drawings are just as wonderful. Jessica does her work from Denver, Colorado.jessica 1

And now for my Tiny Talk interview with Jessica.

ME: How do you want to be remembered? 

JESSICA:  I think I’d like to be remembered as someone courageous, who wasn’t afraid to break the rules, and who wasn’t afraid to fail spectacularly. There’s a lot of rejection and self-doubt that comes along with writing and illustrating, and I think it takes courage. I think there’s something respectable about someone who can fail, then pick themselves back up and keep going. 

ME: Great advice to us writers and illustrators.

ME: Finish this sentence: A perfect day would involve…

JESSICA: Coffee, spending time outside, my husband, laughter, good food, and a sense of accomplishment, chocolate.
ME: Can’t forget the chocolate!

ME: Who influenced your writing career/passion?
JESSICA: My grandfather loved illustrated books, and when I was a kid he would send my sister and I the most beautiful picture books he could find. I treasured these books and still have most of them. I feel a little sad that he was never able to know that I pursued illustration as a career path.

ME: That is the best answer ever. A great memory.

ME: Where do you get your inspiration from?
JESSICA: Creativity is something that grows organically for me. I really can’t force it. All I can do is try to foster an environment where it can grow. It helps when I get up early and create something just for me before the day begins. I’ll sit down with just a pencil and paper and think “where do I want to go? Who do I want to meet?” Often those morning doodles and drawings are much more interesting and have a much truer sense of voice than my other work. They might not be finished illustrations or ideas, but can end up being the seeds for future projects.

ME: And it truly shows in your work. They’re beautiful.

ME: If you could sit and have a drink with a famous artist or illustrator dead or alive, who would it be and why?
JESSICA: Just one? I guess I’d have to go with Trina Schart Hyman. I’ve adored her illustrations since I was a kid. I’d have her sign my battered copy of “Saint George and the Dragon.”

ME: Perfect!

I want to thank you, Jessica for taking time out of your day to answer my questions. I look forward to more of you beautiful work. Good luck in your future successes.

Tiny Talk Tuesday with . . . Sean Fay Wolfe

seanWhile Sean may look like the average teenage, he has a lot more hidden behind that face. I learned of Sean’s early success through my weekly email from Publishers Weekly. I read the amazing story about this Seventeen-year-old, a senior in Rhode Island, who is now an experienced, sought out writer.  Wolfe is the self-published author of the Elementia Chronicles, a fan fiction trilogy based on the popular game, Minecraft, and he is about to release book two.

Wolfe’s trilogy is set in the world of the Minecraft where it focuses on three new Minecraft users who become friends: Stan, Charlie, and Kat. When the trio stands up to the prejudice that they see against new players on the server, they end up in a race against the perils of Minecraft, the forces of Elementia’s king, and the mysterious Mr. A. He was in ninth grade when he worked on his first novel, Quest for Justice. The second volume, Noctem Ascension, will debut in December or early next year. The trilogy closes with Herobrine’s Message, slated for late 2015.

His parents had a lot of faith in his work and helped get his books in the hands of Minecraft fanatics. They helped with editing, book trailer, website and publishing.

Sean is a four-time All-State viola player, who holds a second-degree black belt in karate. You can check Sean out at www.sfaywolfe.com.minecraft

Let’s get to know a “tiny” bit more about Sean.

ME: Tell us something that has been in the vault. Something hardly anyone knows about you.

SEAN: Besides writing full-time, my second career choice is elementary education.
ME: Hey, I was an elementary teacher. These kids need more great male teachers. And an author also. The kids will love you!

Me: Finish this sentence. A perfect day would involve . . .

SEAN: A perfect day would involve a day at home, able to write all day with no distractions and no difficulty with the writing process.
ME: Now I would’ve thought you would’ve said, at home playing Minecraft.

ME: Who influenced your writing? A family member? Something you were born with?

SEAN: I’ve always been a very creative person, both coming up with original ideas and coming up with my own content based on existing things. When I was in Elementary School, I would write stories in the back of my notebooks, and draw original Pokemon cards of my own (I was really into the trading card game back then). I did have encouragement from my teachers and especially my parents over the years, but love of creativity and writing is something I always have had.

ME: If you could spend the day with another author who would it be and why?

SEAN: If I could, I would spend the day with J.K. Rowling. I have a lot of respect and admiration for her as an author, as I find that her style of writing is very similar to mine.
ME: Where do you see yourself as a writer ten years from now?

SEAN: Ten years from now, I hope to have published various successful series including and outside of the Elementia Chronicles, and be able to write full time.

ME: Every authors dream!

Thank you so much, Sean for giving me the opportunity to interview. While I’m not a Minecraft fanatic, I’m sure my kids and others alike will eat your series up. Keep up the great work. You have plenty more years ahead of you which will bring you oodles of more ideas for more stories. Keep living your dream.

Tiny Talk Thursday with . . .(wait for it). . .Jay Asher!

My apologies to all for not getting Tuesdays post in. I was celebrating my big 5-0. I’m starting the New Year off with a bang with Jay Asher. I’m a lucky girl. The person to hook me on Jay was my teenage daughter. She feel in love with his book Thirteen Reasons Why and said, “Mom, you got to read this one.” Now I’m hooked. I met Jay at the LA SCBWI conference last August. His presentation was amazing.

jay asher     photo 1

Jay Asher,  has published two books to date, Thirteen Reasons Why, where Hannah Baker, a girl who committed suicide reveals her thirteen reasons for her decision in a series of seven audio tapes mailed to a classmate with instructions to pass them from one student to another, in the style of a chain letter. This novel was a 2007 New York Times best-selling young-adult fiction novel.

He has written several picture books and middle school humor novels. Thirteen Reasons Why has won several awards and has received five stars from Teen Book Review. jay book

So today I share my “tiny” interview with one of my favorite authors.


 ME: tell us something that has been in the vault. Something hardly anyone knows about you.

 JAY: I’m shy and very much an introvert. I speak a lot as an author, and I do enjoy myself once I begin speaking, so people assume I’m very outgoing and an extrovert. That’s me acting as a professional author. Whenever my friends see me speak, they know that’s not the real me up there and are shocked. What people don’t see are the thoughts in my head leading up to a speaking engagement, looking for anything to stop it from happening. “A flat tire! They couldn’t blame me if I got a flat tire!”

Me: Boy, I would’ve never pegged you as an introvert.

ME: How do you want to be remembered?

JAY: If my son, who turns four in December, remembers me as a great father, I’ll feel like my life has been very successful.

ME: I love that.

ME:  If you can spend a day with one of your book characters who would it be, and why?

JAY: It would be this boy from a middle-grade book I wrote but never sold (but one day, maybe…). His name is Adam Kinski and he’s in fourth grade. After school, he has to put on a cow costume and pass out candy to people walking by a candy shop in the mall. He and I share a lot of the same insecurities, so it’d be like hanging out with my younger self, which could be interesting. As far as published books, I think Tyson from THE FUTURE OF US would be hilarious to hang out with.

 ME: What genre have you not written in, but would love to try?

 JAY: I have an idea for a scary YA novel that I eventually want to tackle, and I will. I’m just waiting on a twist that’ll make it even scarier.

ME: I’d buy it. I love horror/suspense.

ME: Who influenced your writing career/passion?

JAY: Any of the authors who wrote the books I loved in elementary school were the people who lit my reading passion: Betty Miles, Patrick Skene Katling, Katherine Paterson, Bertrand R. Brinley. My parents let me drag them to the library to fill up on books, and then let me sit for hours reading in the living room without interruption. My school librarian at Highland Oaks Elementary, I considered her a friend. I still remember standing beside her desk talking about books during lunch.

ME: Sound like fond memories. It definitely paid off.

Thanks so much, Jay for letting me do my tiny interview with you. It was an honor. My teenage daughter thinks I’m cool now to have connections with her favorite author. I wish you many more successes that are sure to come. Now get on that scary story. I want to read it!