One of my favorite things about writing for From the Mixed-Up Files of Middle-Grade Authors is that I get to talk to so many great writers.
The following post is especially fun for me because I got to do an interview with Janet Sumner Johnson, who successfully writes both Middle Grade and Picture Books.
You started your career as an author writing Middle Grade (THE LAST GREAT ADVENTURES OF THE PB&J SOCIETY). What got you interested in writing Picture Books? And, how long did it take you to write a manuscript you were happy with?
I have always loved picture books. The idea of telling a story in so few words fascinated me! When I had three young kids at home, we had just moved to a new city, and we spent a lot of time at the library and reading picture books. Kids can be pretty inspiring (lol!), and that’s when I first attempted to write a picture book.
Granted, I was busy writing middle grade during this time, but it took eight years from the moment I wrote that first picture book, to when I finally dared show a manuscript to my agent.
Where do you get your ideas? And, once you have an idea, how do you know if it is best suited for a Picture Book or a Middle Grade book? Do you start out with the form specifically in mind or does it sometimes take you by surprise?