Jan. 16, 2015
KidLit411 presents the very talented Jacqueline Tourville in the Author Spotlight. Jacqueline's new picture book, ALBIE'S FIRST WORD came out in October 2014. Be sure to enter the rafflecopter below to win a signed copy.
Tell us about your background and how you came to write for children.
This is such a cool opportunity to be a part of KidLit411, so first, let me say a great big THANK YOU for inviting me and Albie to stop by!
(Eds: We are very happy that you could join us, Jacqueline, so thank you!)
I grew up in Plattsburgh, New York, a very small city just a few miles down the road from the US-Canadian border. There wasn’t much to do growing up in Plattsburgh …except read! I basically spent my childhood in the company of Laura and Mary, Beezus and Ramona, Trixie Belden, Fudge, Margaret, Sheila the Great, and so many other great characters. Before they showed up, I was fortunate to have a mother who faithfully read picture books to me at bedtime.
I went to college and studied European history (because I am such a practical person), and then went to grad school and studied to become a social studies teacher (because I needed a job). I taught in the Boston area for almost a decade and fell in love with using literature in the classroom — from picture books to middle grade to YA. Not only did I see how much a good book could help even the most resistant of kids connect with history, but reading children’s books again awakened something in me. I started to toy with some story ideas and fleshed out a few rough drafts.
Then I had kids of my own and found myself reading to them ALL. THE. TIME. It was like picture book boot camp! We reread all the classics and then started in on the new classics. It was at this time — around 2008 — that I declared “I’m in!” and began writing for children in earnest. ALBIE’S FIRST WORD was actually the first picture book I wrote!
What projects are you working on now?
As 2015 begins, I am working on a coauthored picture book biography with a very talented writer friend of mine. I am also revising another picture book that’s more a slice of New England life.
When is your next project due out?
I have a picture book on submission as we speak. Crossed fingers and lit candles are appreciated!
What is your typical process for writing?
I am a firm advocate for writing very early in the morning. The house is quiet and it’s just me, hot coffee, and the keyboard. I am also a fan of the “butt in chair” method of writing. I think Jane Yolen might have coined this? Whoever did, thank you! I find time and again that simply parking it in a chair every day and making myself write for a set number of minutes can really lead to results.
What advice would you give to aspiring writers?
I love this quote from Anton Chekov: “Don’t tell me the moon is shining; show me the glint of light on broken glass.” Because picture book word counts are getting lower and lower, I know (firsthand) how easy it is to fall into the trap of telling rather than showing. It’s a challenge to show that glint of light, but we can do it!
Where can people find you on the internet?
On Twitter, I’m @missmashable. You can also visit my site, jacquelinetourville.com.
What is one thing people don't know about you?
I once lost an Ebay auction for a first edition of Beatrix Potter’s Tale of Benjamin Bunny by a matter of milliseconds. Then the following day, I found a signed first edition of Eric Carle’s The Hungry Caterpillar at the bottom of our grocery store’s “take a book, leave a book” bin. That was a very weird but also kind of magical coincidence!
Jacqueline Tourville is the author of ALBIE’S FIRST WORD, a picture book inspired by Albert Einstein’s childhood (Schwartz&Wade, Oct. 2014). She has previously written several books for adults, including BIG, BEAUTIFUL AND PREGNANT (Da Capo), a pregnancy guide named a “Best Consumer Health Book” by the LIBRARY JOURNAL; the outdoor guide series MOON NEW ENGLAND HIKING (Avalon/Moon); and MOON TAKE A HIKE: BOSTON (Avalon/Moon).
Jacqueline writes extensively about child development and family life as a featured blogger and producer for Walt Disney Interactive Media Group websites, BabyZone.com, Family.com, and Spoonful.com. She is a lead writer for the Disney Corporation-Eli Lilly partnership, a collaboration that provides family-friendly information for the type 1 diabetes community (t1everydaymagic.com). In addition to writing for other print and web publications, Jacqueline is also a longtime columnist for PARENTING NEW HAMPSHIRE magazine, where she writes about local cultural activities for families.
Originally from Plattsburgh, New York, Jacqueline lives in coastal Maine with her family. She holds advanced degrees in both cultural history and education.
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