Today I want to introduce you to my friend and newly-minted children’s author, Jennifer Rumberger. Jennifer’s book, Ducklings on the Move, was recently released for purchase by MeeGenius Publishing, and I’m so happy Jennifer took the time to stop by my blog today to talk about her writing journey. Welcome Jennifer!
First of all, tell us a little about yourself- where you from, we’re you’ve been and where you’re going- you know, that kind of stuff:
I’ve lived in Michigan for 25 years, before that all over the country. I received my BA in English from Concordia Chicago in River Forest, IL. For the past 14 years I have worked as an administrative assistant for the Michigan District, LCMS in Ann Arbor. My husband and I have two boys who are very active in sports, and we are all huge Detroit Tigers fans. My boys are also avid readers, so it’s fun to compare notes on books we have read.
I know how hard the writing journey can be, so can you tell us how it feels to have your first book out?
It actually took a few days for it to sink in! I figured out that my first draft of Ducklings was written in August 2010, so looking back at all the drafts and all the hours of work really makes me proud to be able to say “I did it!”
Talk a little bit about your writing journey. What got you interested in writing in general and in particular, writing children’s books?
I’ve always loved to read and write. About five years ago I decided to pursue writing seriously. Children’s writing was a natural fit. Being able to write books for children that they can either read themselves or have read to them is such thrill. I started out taking the introductory course with the Institute of Children’s Literature (which I highly recommend) and shortly thereafter joined SCBWI (which I also highly recommend). From there I have met some amazing people, you included 🙂 who have helped and encouraged me as I write.
If we writers are paying attention, story ideas can jump out at us from some crazy places. Where did the idea for Ducklings on the Move come from?
The inspiration for this story came from the countless times I have seen ducklings following their mama in their straight line no matter what. It was fun to imagine what they might be thinking as they waddle along.
Since children’s book apps are kind of the new kid on the block of children’s publishing, how do you feel about them? What was it like working with MeeGenius?
The world of book apps can be a great idea for kids, I think, as long as they still read physical books. Book apps allow kids to learn more about reading, whether it be other activities included with the book or having the book read out loud as they follow long. But, I still think holding a book in their hands should never completely go away. MeeGenius was very easy to work with. They answered any questions I had and made sure my book was the best it could be before they released it to the world.
So Jennifer, along with being a children’s book author, you’re also a busy blogger in the world of kidlit. Talk to us a little bit about Marvelouos Middle Grade Mondays, how you got started, and why you find it a valuable part of what you do as a writer.
I stumbled upon Marvelous Middle Grade Monday posts shortly after I started my blog in the fall of 2011, and knew I needed to participate. Shannon Messenger, a kidlit author, started the posts as a way of supporting middle grade authors. Check out her post http://ramblingsofawannabescribe.blogspot.com/2011/12/history-of-marvelous-middle-grade.html to see exactly why middle grade authors and their books need the shout-outs. Joining the group was a no-brainer for me. Since middle grade is one of my writing genres, I was reading middle grade books as research and loving it. Through my blog I get to share books I love as well as help authors to spread the word about their books.
I always like to leave my readers with two take-aways from each blog post…a little sensibility and sense for the journey. What sensibility and sense would like to leave our guests with today?
Sensibility – The writing journey can be tough, but the down times filled with rejections and writer’s block actually prepare you for the great writing times that will follow.
Sense- Use times of writer’s block in a manuscript to plot out new ideas or characters for future writing. You never know what may spark a thought to get you back on track.