- What is your writing routine? Do you aim for a word count, to tackle a certain number of pages at a time, or do you go scene by scene? (Something else?)
I work best in the morning, so that’s generally when I schedule my writing time. When I’m first-drafting, I do like word sprints and setting word count goals to help me keep moving forward, but mostly I just time myself to stay focused. I do “pomodoros” which is a time management technique. I use the website Grooveotter.com (it’s free!) and set 25-minute sessions on the clock. I aim to do a few Pomodoros a day on my writing days (which is not every day).
- What was your inspiration for your book? What was the most fun and the most difficult part of getting the story just right?
THE UNLIKELY STORY OF A PIG IN THE CITY was inspired by a real life childhood experience of mine, when my brother saved a runt farm piglet from certain death. The pig’s name was Ellie and she lived in our home for an adventurous six months! (You can read more in this recent Columbus Dispatch article: http://www.dispatch.com/entertainmentlife/20171024/joe-blundo-familys-novelty-pig-inspires-novel-by-upper-arlington-native). I had a lot of fun developing Josie’s character and creating bonding moments between her and Hamlet, the mischievous pig, and the sibling relationships. I’m from a big family, and I love big family stories. The most difficult part of working on this book was going through the multiple stages of revisions. It felt a bit like narrative surgery with deleting scenes, moving events around, smoothing the narrative, eliminating unnecessary characters, figuring out how to stitch it all back together. But I actually love revision, so even though it can be a bit scary (and messy!) dissecting a manuscript in a detailed manner, there’s a point when the chaos becomes.
- What are your favorite books? What authors inspire you the most?
Oh, so many! I’m passionate about nature, conservation, animal advocacy, and human-animal connections, so those stories tend to really speak to me as a reader and an author, but I’m an eclectic reader. WISHTREE by Katherine Applegate was such a beautiful story; Katherine’s very much one of my inspirations. In the middle grade space, I also loved A DOG’S WAY HOME by Bobbie Pyron, THE WILD ROBOT by Peter Brown, and PAX by Sara Pennypacker. Growing up, some of my favorite books were CHARLOTTE’S WEB and all of E.B. White’s stories, HATCHET by Gary Paulsen, MY SIDE OF THE MOUNTAIN by Jean Craighead George, and anything by Roald Dahl and Judy Blume. I love to read YA and recent favorites are DEAR MARTIN by Nic Stone, THE HATE U GIVE by Angie Thomas, and CARAVAL by Stephanie Garber.
- Odd question – what TV shows do you like?
I don’t watch a lot of television, but when I do I usually prefer something that’ll make me laugh like SILICON VALLEY, CURB YOUR ENTHUSIASM, and SNL. I’m also a huge GAME OF THRONES fan.
- Lastly, is there anything else we should know about you? Do you like to listen to music when writing? What book projects are on the horizon for you?
Let’s see – I’m a mom to two wonderful little kids, and I live with my family in Manhattan. As much as I love being in the Great Outdoors and around animals, I love the energy, excitement and convenience of city life too. New York City is my favorite city in the world. We spend a lot of time in the parks here (which are so wonderful!). I’m a vegan, Christian, and into weightlifting. We’re fostering our first rescue dog right now (check out Waggy Tail Rescue if you’re in NYC or LA!) and go to small venue concerts when we can (CAAMP at Mercury Lounge was amazing recently!). I do listen to music when I write, but I prefer peaceful guitar, jazz, classical, anything without lyrics. I am finishing up copyedits for book two, the sequel to THE UNLIKELY STORY OF A PIG IN THE CITY, which publishes in Fall 2018. I’m also working on a new, unrelated middle grade book proposal, which is a lot of fun! For aspiring children’s book authors, I’m a debut author featured in the 2018 Children’s Writer’s and Illustrator’s Market Edition (Writer’s Digest Books) and interviewed in the January 2018 Writer’s Digest Magazine (on newsstands now).
More info on www.jodikendall.com
THE UNLIKELY STORY OF A PIG IN THE CITY is available now wherever books are sold!