Were there any particular mentor texts that inspired you in the creation of the Dragon series? (Or another one of your upcoming published books?)
I think every book you read becomes a mentor text in a way. Each one becomes a part of you, interwoven into your creative tapestry.
When I was a toddler, my mom worked outside the home, but every night, she’d bring a book home for us to share. I soon learned to associate books with love.
Inspiration for MY Dragon? Of course. NO ONE wants to be ignored.
I could go on and on. There are so many wonderful books out there! Each one has inspired me in its own way.
Interestingly enough, I probably read more books in mentor-fashion once Shari expressed interest in publishing WHEN A DRAGON MOVES IN. It was important to me that the readers decide whether Dragon was real or a figment of the boy’s imagination. But that presented a challenge. How do you draw a character that may or may not be there? Both Shari and I researched for over a year, seeing how others had dealt with “imaginary friends”. Some of the books we investigated included:
Can I choose all of the above? First of all, I believe it’s essential to read a story out loud to get a sense of its rhythm and musicality, whether or not it rhymes.
Second, I love how you phrase the question “see what speaks to you”. Because that’s exactly what you have to do with picture books. You need to study the artwork and realize how much of the story is told through illustration. And you have to remind yourself that it’s critical to allow room for the artist to present that other half as only he/she can.
And yes, I want – I NEED! – to feel all the feels. Plot is important, but I need to care about the characters that are being affected. I want to laugh out loud. I want to tear up. I want my heart to simultaneously expand and squish. The characters have to be believable, well developed and layered. For me, it’s emotion that solidifies the lasting impression.
An example of a book that gave me all the feels at a recent bookstore trip?
Recently, I’ve been working on a picture book manuscript where the main character enters a fantasy world to deal with a devastating challenge. I worried the concept might be too complex for my target readers. Then I read BEEKLE, and was reminded once again that we are writing for the most discerning, sophisticated and important audience in the world.
Jodi Moore is author of the award winning WHEN A DRAGON MOVES IN (Flashlight Press, 2011), its newly released sequel, WHEN A DRAGON MOVES IN AGAIN (Flashlight Press, 2015) and GOOD NEWS NELSON (Story Pie Press, 2012). Jodi is the proud, (admittedly) neurotic mother of two talented young adults and never ceases to be amazed at how far the umbilical cord will stretch. She loves connecting with readers through school and book events. Jodi lives in Pennsylvania with her husband, Larry, and an ever-changing bunch of characters in her head. Follow her website at www.writerjodimoore.com and blog: https://kidsinspiringnewdirections.wordpress.com/