Brenda Seabrooke today

Hi Everyone,

I’m pleased to tell you that my Monday segment, which I’m calling WHAT ARE THE PROS UP TO? is coming along well. In it I re-feature professional writers, agents, illustrators, editors, and teachers who have appeared previously as Featured Guests on Friday. Now that I can finally post pictures, I’m inviting each of them back to tell us in a nutshell what they’re up to these days. Next Monday we’ll hear from Sandy Asher. The week following, Charles (Father Goose) Ghigna will repay us a visit.

My Wednesday segment, called Guest Readers, could use more support from you. I have a great poem to share with you ths coming Wednesday when I reintroduce Silindile (Souldose) Ntuli. But I have no one scheduled after that. If you, or another writer you know, would like to share something about his or her journey as a writer, please contact me so we can set up a time for you. This is a very popular spot that draws a lot of readers and supportive comments. Thanks!


Today I’m honored to introduce another good friend and author, Brenda Seabrooke. I asked Brenda a series of questions and she provided honest, insightful answers. I continue to be impressed by the quality of thoughtful responses we’ve seen from my Featured Guests. Now, here’s Brenda.

Q
What originally attracted you to writing?

A
I loved stories – who doesn’t? Stories are magic, conjured out of air, memory, imagination, life. I made picture stories before I could write and when I learned to write kept going first with poems, then stories and later books.

Q
Do you keep a journal? If so, when did you start? What sort of material do you write in your journal?

A
Yes, I try to write something in it every day. I started at 7 when I received a diary for Christmas. I never reread what I had written and thought I had filled the early ones with boring stuff such as got up, went to school, went to music, rode my horse, went to bed. I looked at them a few years ago and discovered a world of fascinating details! I recorded the day when my father bought our first TV and the account of that life-changing event was published in a book by Dr. Ray Barfield, Clemson University professor.

Q
Your books speak to the hearts of young fans everywhere. How would you describe your approach to creating such strong stories?

A
I’m essentially a storyteller. The stories find me. Then the work begins. With few exceptions, it is a layered process. I go over and over the story, shading, enlivening (punching up verbs!), sharpening, deepening, defining, enriching. Each time something new is revealed to me about the characters. It’s a magical process.

Q
A number of books have been written about the three pigs and the big bad wolf. What prompted you to write another one?

A
My cousins and I made up a game in which one cousin was a wolf and the rest were pigs. When the wolf blew down a house, we all had to run to the next one, etc. Years later I was reminded of the game when I saw a pig race at the VA State Fair. I wrote what became the first chapter of Wolf Pie (Clarion,2010). Then I wondered what happened after that and wrote another chapter and kept going!

Q
Who is your audience? Who is reading over your shoulder while you write?

A
I think about readers but I don’t write down to them. I read my stories aloud and try to pretend I’m the audience. Usually I can hear when something isn’t working. Reading aloud takes a long time when I’m writing a novel but it is a necessary part of my work process.

Q
How do you write? At the keyboard? Longhand? In an office? At regular times?

A
I write almost every day usually on my office computer but sometimes longhand. I write on car trips, airplanes, at dental appointments. I think it’s important to write in longhand, to connect pen to paper and I try to do it every day if only in my journal.

Q
Are there and methods you utilize to stay current with today’s young readers?

A
I watch TV shows such as Pawn Stars and Dirty Jobs that my grandson likes. My daughter and her husband work in the gaming world so I pick up info from them. And I read current books and watch current movies.

Q
What do you see happening in the world of children’s book publishing these days?

A
It’s more open than it has ever been. Few subjects are taboo today if they’re handled in a meaningful way. Quirky and cheeky are now the norm where once they were considered daring and innovative. I see this continuing but I hope there is always room for the old-fashioned story as well.

Q
Do you have advice for emerging children’s authors?

A
Read! That sounds simplistic but I‘m always amazed at people who want to write for children but don’t read books published for them. To write in a particular genre, it is paramount to read what is being published in it.

Brenda, many thanks for allowing me to feature you on today’s blog. My best wishes for your continued success with those wonderful stories you write.

To learn more about Brenda, here’s a link. http://www.childrensbookguild.org/brenda-seabrooke