Like every writer, I've been asked numerous times where I get my inspiration. My standard answer is "everywhere!" It's the truth. Most of my ideas come from everyday life. Mango Dance, a new picture book manuscript of mine, came from my travels in Trinidad, where I leanred the art of knocking mangos off a tree. My current picture book project is Mr. Betta, inspired by my own newly-purchased red betta.
Angeline Jellybean was a little different. I can't even remember how I came up with the concept. I was taking my very first class in writing picture books, a year ago now. Angeline just came out of me in a flowy rhyme, almost in the exact same form it's in today. This was way before I had ever read A Bad Case of the Stripes by David Shannon. In fact, I didn't even know it existed back then. I was just writing a fun and catchy story. Several of the girls in my class loved it. I did some minor revisions, but nothing major because the book is incredibly short.
Almost a year later, I was checking out the website for Vivian Zabel's publishing company 4RV (www.4rvpublishingllc.com). On a whim, I sent it in. I was very surprised and delighted when, within a month or so, I received an e-mail from Viv that said "We are considering your manuscript for publication. . ." I tried not to be too excited about it, but the farther we got into the process, the harder it was to keep from dancing around my apartment. (haha!)
I still don't think it will feel 100% real until I have the book in my hands, but my dream is pretty close to being fulfilled! When I saw the first few illustrations, Angeline brought to life right before my eyes, I knew what it was like to be a real author. Now that the cover is done, I can feel those book sales creeping toward me and it feels really, really good.