Author Spotlight: Lezlie Evans





February 9, 2018

Today we have the pleasure of featuring author Lezlie Evans!

Lezlie is giving away a copy of her picture book, DADDIES DO, illustrated by Elisa Ferro (Sterling Children's Books, May 1, 2018). Be sure to enter the Rafflecopter at the end of her interview to win a copy! The prize copy will be send out in early April.

Tell us about yourself and how you came to write for children.

I didn’t grow up thinking I would write for children. I majored in broadcast journalism in college, and while I found my creative writing classes extremely interesting, writing for children never crossed my mind. It wasn’t until I had children of my own and we had made hundreds of trips to the public library that I knew I wanted to write children’s books. I thought about it for several years before getting serious. In 1993, when I put in the time and effort to research the process (in the early ‘90s there were not informative blogs and websites, but there was the SCBWI), start writing, and, ultimately, submit my work, things moved fast. The second picture book text I submitted was picked up by Houghton Mifflin (Rain Song 1995). To this day, I recognize there must have been some divine intervention going on for it to be plucked from the slush pile and fall into the right hands.

Congrats on your upcoming book, DADDIES DO. Tell us about it and what inspired you. 



Thanks for asking! Daddies Do is a shout-out to daddies everywhere. I have six children – three boys and three girls. People often ask, did you have help when they were all little? Sometimes I wished we were like the Brady Bunch and I had Alice! I did not, but my children have an amazing daddy. He made pancakes every Saturday morning, played kickball in the street after he got home from work (with not only our children, but the entire neighborhood), and read to our children every night. Daddies have an amazing impact on their children’s lives and I wanted to write a book that celebrated the many ways they nurture, teach, and love their little ones. I’m so excited about the artwork that illustrator, Elisa Ferro, has created for Daddies Do, by the way. Every spread is filled with lively, vibrant animal pairings that are utterly delightful! She has brought to life many different daddies, from an anteater daddy “Who knows what to fix/ when you’re craving a snack/ who knows the best thing/for your hunger attack”, to a kangaroo daddy “Who reads the best stories/ and snuggles with you/then drifts off to sleep/ before he is through.”





You've been writing picture books for over twenty years. In your experience, what about the picture book industry has changed and what has stayed the same?

What a great question! When I started writing in 1995, authors usually found a publisher and stuck with that publisher. Occasionally, authors worked with a couple of different publishers, but it was rare — you really weren’t encouraged to submit work elsewhere if you had a publisher (although my editor at Houghton Mifflin was great and always encouraged me to submit my work to others if it was strong and she couldn’t take it on). Authors often felt like they had to stick to writing the same genre and style, as well. Nowadays, authors are not restricted to one particular style of writing or one publisher. I just read where author, Pat Zietlow Miller, who wrote Sophie’s Squash, has many new books coming out from five different publishers. That’s amazing! You didn’t see that happening twenty years ago. It’s been interesting to see different trends come and go as well. I love that kindness, acceptance, and inclusivity is a major theme of books being published today. It’s a wonderful trend! 


What projects are you working on now? 

I usually have several projects going at once. I like to jump from one thing to another. I’m currently working on writing another picture book with Squirrel, Hare, and Mouse – the characters from Finding Christmas— as I loved Yee Von Chan’s illustration so much (fingers crossed my editor likes the idea), also a new picture book that is a lyrical poem that celebrates all the wonders the world has to offer, and a novel-in-verse idea that is still in the early stages.


What advice would you give to aspiring authors?

I’ve always believed if you choose to do something you love, you’ll never work a day in your life. That’s how I feel about writing for children. That doesn’t mean writing is easy. Writing is hard work, pure and simple! It takes a lot of commitment, dedication, patience, and perseverance to be a writer. Writers write, that’s what we do. So my advice is this: make time to write a little every day – even when you are not in “the mood.” I’m not sure I believe that you have to have your BIC (butt-in-chair) moment every day because I often spend hours lying on my bed thinking through things and making notes before I sit in front of my computer and do the actual crafting of a story. But when you put in the time, whether it is on a quiet walk in nature, sitting in front of your computer, or lying on your bed with a notepad, the muses will start singing. Clear your mind of other things and say, this is my writing time, for whatever period of time you can dedicate each day. When it comes to submitting your work, be persistent. Learn to see rejection as a stepping stone to your success. Even after being published nine times, I went through a period when I couldn’t sell a picture book to save my life! But I continued submitting my picture books and I worked on crafting a novel-in-verse during this time – which proved to be an amazing growth experience. I also attended SCBWI conferences on a regular basis (a great place to make connections) and worked on staying upbeat while honing my craft. My writer friends and critique group (I can’t say enough good about surrounding yourself with positive influences) helped enormously. Reading blogs (such as this amazing one) will help with your writing goals, as well. Finally, enjoy the journey. No time spent writing is ever wasted because you are developing a talent. Be proud of your efforts and believe that your writing will make a difference in a life. If I had given up writing during my temporary drought, (and, believe me, I thought about it many times), I wouldn’t have had Finding Christmas published (which sold out of its first print run in two months when it was released last fall) or my latest book, Daddies Do, which will hit the shelves May 1, 2018. 


What is one thing most people don't know about you?

Just like the bear cub in Daddies Do, I used to LOVE fishing with my dad. For the record, I was better at baiting a hook with live worms than any of my five brothers. And, a lot like the bear daddy in Daddies Do, my dad was constantly untangling our lines. I don’t remember him getting to fish much when he took my brothers and me fishing. He was, and is, a very patient and giving daddy! 

Where can people find you online?

www.LezlieEvans.com  and on Facebook at Lezlie Evans-author and Instagram at Lezlie_Evans.





Lezlie Evans is the award-winning author of numerous children’s books including Daddies Do (Sterling 2018), Finding Christmas (Albert Whitman 2017), Who Loves the Little Lamb (Disney-Hyperion 2010), and Can You Count 10 Toes; Counting to 10 in 10 Different Languages (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 1999). She is a member of The Washington D.C. Children's Book Guild, the PAL (published and listed) Coordinator for the SCBWI Mid-Atlantic region, mother of six, and grandmother of seven. She lives with her husband in northern Virginia. You can find her on the web at www.LezlieEvans.com




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33 comments:

  1. What a great Father’s Day gift this is going to make! Thank you for the wonderful interview!

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  2. What a delightful, beautiful book!

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  3. This book looks so adorable! Thanks for sharing your experiences, Lezlie.

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    1. You are so welcome, Abi! Thanks for reading!

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  4. I love the illustrations! Adorable!

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    1. Fee, I totally agree! Elisa did a GREAT job!

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  5. What an amazing career -- there are so many things to learn from Lezlie. I feel like I shouldn't just buy a copy of Daddy Do for my husband (and the father of our son), but for my dad too because he is quite a wonderful dad too. Thanks for this lovely interview.

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    1. Stephanie- I'm so glad there was something worthwhile in the interview! Thanks so much for you kind comment!

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  6. I have the same feeling about writing--it's hard sometimes, but when I'm writing, I don't feel like I'm working. I feel creative and productive.

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    1. Yes! Creative work is so satisfying, isn't it?

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  7. Love the idea of celebrating all dads do. Can't wait to read this.

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  8. I would love for my girls to read this with their Daddy!

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    2. I hope it brings lots of giggles and creates many sweet memories for your girls and their daddy, Jennifer!

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  9. What a sweet idea for a book! I look forward to reading it.

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  10. What a wonderful interview. I need to give this beautiful book to my husband for Father's Day (just like your husband, he's a good man, too)!

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    1. Kim, I'm so happy to hear this! I hope Father's Day is extra special this year for your family!

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  11. The concept of this book is not only touching but important too, thanks so much for highlighting the important roll our Daddies play in children’s lives! And your advice and experience speaks volumes - can’t wait to read this latest Lezlie Evans book!!

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  12. We are so excited for this book! My kids LOVE Lezlie's books! Their favorites are "If I Were the Wind" and "Who Loves the Little Lamb" which both speak to the love and connection of a mother with her child. Now dad will have a special book to read with them that reflects his love and devotion as well. -Shiree

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    1. Awwwww! Thanks so much, Shiree! I hope you love this one too!

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  13. I'm really looking forward to this book, and I know my husband will really appreciate it!

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    1. Thanks, Lauren! Hope the Bird family loves it!

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  14. This sounds and looks like a wonderful new addition, Leslie. Loved reading this post.

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    1. Marty, I'm so glad you liked it! Thanks so much for taking the time to comment!

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  15. Always enjoy reading about your newest book. Love all the ones we have especially "Who Loves the Little Lamb" and "If I Were the Wind" I'm sure this one will be another great hit. Congratulations!!!

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    1. That makes me so happy! Thanks so much!

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