Peg366's Blog

Surprise- Writing Career for Writer. Part Two.

Posted on: January 14, 2010

 
 

These are some of Nina's reasons for writing for children. She's a devoted wife, mother and grandmother.

This is the Part Two of the Nina Johnson interview. Part Three is appearing tomorrow.

Peg:    I’ll bet there are lots of women who would like a husband as supportive of them as yours is of you.

Nina:  My husband said to me one day, “ Nina, you have spent these last years helping me get my company on it’s feet, now I want you to do what you have always wanted to do.” I asked him what that might be since I had no idea what I always wanted to do.  He said, “You want to write children’s books!”

I was completely surprised and said, “I do?  How do you know that, since I don’t even know what I want to do?”

He told me that it was obvious to him since I had spent so much time making stories out of our everyday experiences and that I had told so many to our grandchildren.

Even though I had not thought of it that way, I could see that he had a point. When he allowed me to turn over my job at the company to an employee, I suddenly felt free to write. I spent hours putting the stories that had always been in my head down on paper. I was overflowing with stories of all kinds. It was like the dam had broken and I was pouring out my heart and soul. I woke up at night to write. I stopped in the middle of making dinner to write. I even got a recorder so I could get my story ideas down as I was driving.

Peg:    Those are great tips for beginning writers.

Nina:  I emptied the back half of my walk in closet and made a writing space for me! My husband assembled a desk in there and added electricity and an Internet connection. I asked him not to add a phone line so as no to interfere with my writing.

I will always be grateful to my wonderful, thoughtful and observant husband for helping me to find my way to what I truly needed to do. 

Peg:    We share a love of picture book writing but have you done books in other genres?

Nina:  I am writing a middle grade sci-fi right now. It is very different than picture books in that you have the luxury of writing more words to get the story across. However, it is more complicated as well.

I’m just learning about writing and all that goes into it so it will be very interesting as time goes by how this experience will ultimately compare to writing picture books.

Peg:    You told me that you are a story teller, but what type, genre, was your first written piece?

Nina:  The stories that really made my husband realize my desire was the Grandfather Clock stories that I tell my grandchildren. They are interactive stories in that my grandchildren often contribute to and change the path of the story as we go along.

I guess the first story that I wrote was Marshall Muskrat about the muskrat in our pond on our property.  The most wonderful experience of my life was reading “Marshall Muskrat’s Easter Surprise” to my grandchildren on Easter Day. It made tears come to my eyes as I read and they laughed and giggled and enjoyed the story along with me.

Peg:    Tell my readers how we met.

Nina:  Peg and I met at a writer’s conference. We ended up sitting next to one another at lunch one day and the rest is – history?  It is the most wonderful experience to meet someone like Peg, who just felt like a friend from day one. We got to talking and as the day went on we felt completely comfortable sharing hopes and dreams and stories with each other.

Peg:    How long have you been a SCBWI member? What benefits have you found for yourself as a result of being a member?

Nina:  I have been a member for a year now.  My writing journey started January 1, 2009. I had no idea where to start but fortunately I found SCBWI. As a writer’s organization it has so much to offer. I found info on conferences, writer’s groups and classes on their website. It was great to know that there was help available when I needed it.

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2 Responses to "Surprise- Writing Career for Writer. Part Two."

Hi, Nina,
What a wonderful husband! I know you have given so much time and love to your family that it is now your turn to enjoy doing what you’ve been working toward for years.
Those stories for your grandchildren are just the beginning for your writing career.
Best of luck getting your stories out to other children!
Sherry

Sherry,

Thanks so much for coming on the blog and commenting. I’ll be

sending Nina all the comments tomorrow morning.

I can see why all her friends and family love her.

Peg Finley/peg366

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peg366


I am an aspiring picturebook writer with some magazine credits just no picture book contract yet. I know it is coming and I am more than willing to work for it.

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Twitter.com/peg366

My Favorites:

I love the children's movies Wizard of Oz and the Neverending Story. Both movies make me feel the lesson that hope is alive and well. After seeing UP this past week, it just might have a chance at being added to this list.

I love the cool colors of blues and purples.Those colors are peaceful for me.

I love The Velveteen Rabbit. Even as an adult, I still feel the urge to cry when he becomes real. I know, silly, but a good book can make me laugh and cry as it takes me on a magical journey.

Authors and Illustrators:

Authors, Author/Illustrator, Illustrators that I know and/or Like.

Catergories:

C= Children

MG= Mid Grade

T= Teen

YA= Young Adult

A= Adult

Names:

Bonnie Adamson *

Kathi Appelt *

Tedd Arnold

Avi

Natalie Babbit

Molly Bang

Bonnie Becker

Jan and Stan Berenstain

Judy Blume

Tracey M. Cox

Linda Crotta Brennan *

Jan Brett

Janie Bynum *

Eric Carle

Pam Calvert

Nancy Carlson

Beverly Cleary

Kevin Scott Collier

Sharon Creech

Doreen Cronnin

Tomie dePaulo

Kate DiCamillo

Kathleen Duey *

Dotti Enderle

Jan Fields *

Denise Fleming

Mem Fox

Kelley Milner Hall

Amy Heist

Kevin Henkes

Ellen Jackson *

Jeff Kinney

Jackie French Koller

Ursula K. LeGuin

Leo Lionni

Lois Lowry

Mercer Mayer

Robert Munsch

Laura Numeroff

Linda Sue Parks

Dav Pilkey

Patricia Polacco

Peggy Rathmann

Bethany Roberts

David Shannon

Aaron Shepard

Donna J. Shepherd *

Cynthia Leitich Smith

Jerry Spinelli

Diane Stanley

Chris Van Allsburg

Rick Walton *

Lisa Wheeler

Mo Willems

Karma Wilson *

Audrey Woods

Jane Yolen *

Favorite Websites:

http://www.institutechildrenslit.net/

http://www.cbiclubhouse.com/

http://www.scbwi.org/

http://www.underdown.org/

http://www.verlakay.com/

http://www.cynthialeitichsmith.com

Favorite Blogs:

• ShelfTalker: A Children’s Bookseller’s Blog
• Alice’s CWIM Blog
• A Fuse #8 Production
• Cynsations
• Nathan Bransford – Literary Agent
• Editorial Anonymous
• Miss Snark’s First Victim
• Writing for children and teens

Favorite Quotes.

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