Lynne Marie is an author and professional mentor who is the owner and administrator of Rate Your Story and The Picture Book Mechanic. She’s the founder of March On with Mentor Texts which is currently live on the Rate Your Story blog. She has published several picture books, including, The Star in the Christmas Play (Beaming Books), Moldilocks and the Three Scares (Sterling), Let’s Eat! Mealtime Around the World (Beaming Books), The Three Little Pigs and the Rocket Project (and coloring book!) (Mac and Cheese Press), American Pie (Dancing Flamingo, coming soon) and more forthcoming!
1. Do you ever struggle to come up with your next project?
No, not ever. There are so many ways to grow, find or mash-up ideas. Exploring ideas and planting them, and seeing them take root is one of the best parts of writing! My problem is more time, energy and brain bandwidth! I love to have a time, space and a place to navigate my ideas. For a glimpse at how I narrow down ideas, see the next question.
2. How do you know your idea will make a good book?
First of all, I gather any and all comp books that I can – the goal is 50-100 on the same topic, type of character, problem, theme, etc. And then I make sure my idea has either not been done before, or not been done in the same way.
Then, I make certain that my idea has a requisite three hooks for the marketing department to be able to capitalize on and to help not only a bookstore, but me, to sell the book once it’s published.
3. What are some of the key ingredients that make a great book for kids?
A great book for kids is one that the child reader can connect with. It needs a main character that the child reader can identify with, and a problem that will resonate. But that’s just the start! It needs a well-told story, with heart and humor! Traditional story structure can be a plus sometimes as well.
4. Where did you get the idea for The Three Little Pigs and the Rocket Project? What was your inspiration?
With this book, I combined some things I loved (pigs, fairy tales and fractures) with something I thought would sell (STEM), then added something I had a few experiences with (rockets). I tried to see if the pieces would fit together snugly without any spaces in between (like a puzzle). And they did! The pigs ability to build things was perfect and having a bully character in the big bad wolf gave me the opportunity for a SEL lesson.
5. What was the most challenging thing you faced while writing/researching this book?
Before I came up with the STEM / Rocket angle, the most challenging thing was – how will I fulfill my desire to write a book about the Three Little Pigs when there are so many books already out there. But the research actually illuminated the path.
6. Who should read this book?
This book has several levels and can appeal to all ages.
NURSERY RHYME AND FAIRY TALE LOVERS
It introduces nursery rhyme and fairy tale characters and provides a nostalgic nod to them for those already familiar.
SCIENCE PROJECT LOVERS
It provides an extremely simple science experiment to do at home, and also introduces scientific method to apply to the project.
ANYONE IN SEARCH OF SOCIAL EMOTIONAL LEARNING BOOKS
It showcases a school bully situation and suggests a better resolution path for the bully to take – to team up rather than tear down.
FOLKS WHO LIKE A GOOD HISTORICAL EASTER EGG
With its introduction of Principal Halliwell, it nods to the origin of the story of the Three Little Pigs tale. James Halliwell published the first traceable version of the tale.
(plus, there's a COLORING BOOK!)