AUTHOR INTERVIEW: Adam Lehrhaupt
In early February, I was ecstatic when I found out I was chosen by Adam Lehrhaupt as his mentee for the 2018 Writing with the Stars picture-book mentoring program. We're now getting close to the end of the mentoring period and I am even more thrilled - Adam is the best picture book mentor I could have ever hoped for!
I've learned a huge amount from Adam, and can see why he has had so many books published within such a short time frame. I adore his books (try not to laugh out loud as you're reading them!) and can't wait to read his up-and-coming works.
Happily, Adam was able to answer some questions for this blog about his latest book, inspirations, and more. Read on to learn about this talented children's author...
Can you tell us a bit about your book?
My most recent book is Idea Jar, illustrated by Deb Pilluti, from Paula Wiseman Books/Simon and Schuster. Here’s a quick synopsis:
The idea jar is where students keep their ideas—anything from a Viking to a space robot to a giant dragon. These ideas can be combined to make new exciting stories. But watch out when the ideas escape the jar—they might get a little rowdy! Adam Lehrhaupt’s newest picture book is sure to inspire creativity, imagination, and adventure.
What was the inspiration behind writing this particular story, and did it change much as you were writing it?
One of my favorite things about being an author, is interacting with an audience during a book reading. I wrote Idea Jar as a way to help readers at home feel the same way. By encouraging the reader to come up with their own stories for the ideas in the last few spreads, I not only make them part of the book, but help them start to create something of their own. Hopefully that will lead to them finding ideas of their own and creating new and interesting things with them.
As for the story changing, it absolutely did. All of my stories change quite substantially as they progress from initial idea to finished manuscript. And then even more as they go through the publishing process. I try to keep an open mind about revision. There’s always ways to make a story, or book, better. I’m open to all kinds of input, especially if it takes me in a new and exciting direction.
Do you have any suggestions on ways parents, teachers, librarians, booksellers and readers can get more out of the book?
A great way to connect with this book is to create your own idea jar. I have instructions, and a template of ideas, available on my website. Click here to check it out.
The next step is to spend some time playing with your ideas. Write them, draw them, act them out, anything you want. The important thing is to exercise your creativity. And to have fun!
Do you have a favourite children's book (or top three) that you can never get enough of?
As part of my Write Picture Books That Sell writing program I talk about finding three picture books that you would take with you if you were stuck on a deserted island. For lack of anything cooler, I call them the desert island books. I don’t actually share my list as part of the class, though I may now that I think about it. However, if I don’t limit it to picture books, and just use children’s books, here’s my desert island list:
Where the Wild Things Are – I absolutely love this book. Max is an unbelievably amazing, and complex, character. The competing desires between what he wants and what he truly needs makes for a compelling tale. Plus, the illustrations are the coolest.
The Graveyard Book – I’ve been a Neil Gaiman fan for a really long time. I got hooked on his Sandman and Death graphic novels, and then his book Good Omens. When this book came out it had all of the best parts of his writing wrapped in the familiar world of The Jungle Book, another favorite.
Chloe and the Lion – This is the book that showed me the possibilities that picture books offer. Breaking the fourth wall. Interacting with the author and illustrator. All laced with a generous dose of humor and amazing illustrations.
Can you let us in on any sneak peeks into your next books or other projects?
I have several books coming out in the next few years, starting with Chicken on Vacation this June. It’s the next book in my Zoey and Sam series with HarperCollins. As to other things coming down the line, I’ve been playing with a non-fiction idea. I’ve never tried non-fiction before and I thought it would be a fun challenge. Hopefully you’ll see that book, tentatively titled Strike a Match, in the not to distant future.
Kellie's aside: Adam's Zoey and Sam series is such a hoot, and the characterisation is some of the best I've ever seen in picture books, so I can't wait to read the next one. For now, here's a look at the trailer from Chicken in School. :)
Can you tell us something not a lot of people know about you?
I spend an inordinate amount of my time in, and around, the hockey rink. Both of my boys play on travel hockey teams, and I play in a men’s league. You know, the kind for old guys who aren’t any good, but like to get together at 10:00 on Sunday nights.
Do you have some tips for other creatives?
I have TONS of tips, but that’s probably best left for another post. I’ll just give you this one here:
You’ll never get anything accomplished if you don’t try. Like Nike said, Just do it.™
What about a favourite word or quote?
I’ve always liked the word Miasma. No idea why.
To follow Adam online, find him at:
Twitter – www.twitter.com/lehrhaupt
Instagram – www.instagram.com/lehrhaupt
Facebook Page – www.facebook.com/adamlehrhaupt
Website – www.adamlehrhaupt.com