Here it is! I’m so very excited to introduce my very first (of several yet to come) Simply 7 interview with author Rebecca Gomez. Yeah!
Rebecca is a children’s author, poet, and self-proclaimed “fan of all things creative and fun.” She has written two fabulous pictures books (co-authored with Corey Rosen Schwartz) with the most amazing rhyme you’ve ever seen. “What About Moose?” was released June 2015 and her most recent book “Hensel and Gretel: Ninja Chicks” just came out in May of this year. You can find out more about her on her website: http://www.rebeccajgomez.com/
Let’s take it away! Here are those Simply 7 questions with Rebecca Gomez.
Me: What draws you to writing picture books?
Rebecca: I guess I just never completely grew up. Children’s books are my favorite things to read, so it makes sense that they are also my favorite things to write!
Me: You have co-written 2 books now with Corey Rosen Schwartz (“What About Moose?” and “Hensel and Gretel”;). How does that work? Does one of you have an idea and the other works on the rhyme? Or do the both of you sit down and write the story together?
Rebecca: Usually our stories begin with a brainstorming session. We bounce ideas back and forth until one of them sticks. There are also times when a title or concept will hit one of us and we’ll talk it over to decide if we should pursue it as a team or not.
Once we have an idea we both want to pursue, we write the story together, using google drive (and occasionally email). We argue now and then. And if we get stuck, we may work separately for a while, but as a general rule we work as a team from beginning to end, line by line.
Me: Hansel and Gretel as chickens? What gave you and Corey the idea for this story?
Rebecca: The chicken part is all Corey, I must say. But retelling Hansel and Gretel as a ninja story was my idea. I suggested it after Corey asked me to team up with her to write a third book in her Ninja series.
Me: What is one thing that surprised you in writing this story?
Rebecca: How hard it was! It was a lot of fun, but it took a lot of work to get the story just right. Following the original Hansel and Gretel story line was making the book way too long, so we had to try several different directions before we had something that was close enough to the original to be recognizable, yet had the same fast-paced, action-packed vibe of Corey’s first two ninja tales.
Me: What does your writing process look like?
Rebecca: Messy. I will often start out writing by hand in a notebook, trying to write without being critical of how the story is unfolding. Once I have a rough draft, I move to the computer to try to make sense of what I’ve written. When my rounds of revision are done, I’ll usually have several drafts as well as a separate document full of bits and pieces that I’ve deleted from the manuscript. It’s a little different when I’m working with Corey, as I will often be jotting things down in my notebook as we’re working in a document on google.
Me: Any advice for other picture book writers?
Rebecca: Write what you want to write. Get lots of feedback. Don’t be afraid to revise a dozen or more times if that’s what it takes.
Me: I see that just like me, you have a deep and abiding love for poetry. What is one of your favorite poems or poets to read (and/or re-read) right now?
Rebecca: I really love Joyce Sidman, especially her book WINTER BEES, which is full of gorgeous poems about nature in winter. My favorite from that book is Big Brown Moose–it’s so much fun to read aloud!
Excellent! I can’t wait to look that one up and give it a read. Thank you for joining us today Rebecca! Run out and pick up a copy of “Hensel and Gretel: Ninja Chicks” you guys. It’s amazingly funny and that rhyme scheme will blow you away!