Author Spotlight: Lisa Katzenberger
June 12, 2020
We are pleased to feature author Lisa Katzenberger and her debut picture book, NATIONAL REGULAR AVERAGE ORDINARY DAY, illustrated by Barbara Bakos (Penguin Workshop, June 23, 2020).
Enter to win a copy (mailed later due to COVID-19).
Tell us about yourself and how you came to write for children.
I have been a book lover and writer since I was a little kid. I remember my first creative writing assignment in third grade where I wrote a story about a haunted house and fell in love with the idea of making up stories. I took creative writing classes all through school, college, and at nights when I worked as a technical writer. I have had a few short stories published and have written a couple crummy novels that will never see the light of day. But when I had my kids and discovered picture books, I shifted my directed to learning how to write kidlit.
I live near Chicago with my husband and nine-year-old twins. I work as a part-time as freelance technical writer and volunteer as the Social Media Coordinator for SCBWI Illinois.
Congratulations on your debut picture book, NATIONAL REGULAR AVERAGE ORDINARY DAY. Tell us about the book and what inspired it.
This is a book about a boy named Peter who gets bored with his regular activities. So he decides to celebrate all the wacky holidays for fun, like National Eat What You Want Day. But when he discovers a day with no holiday, he has to figure out how to entertain himself on a regular, average, ordinary day.
A few years ago I had a job writing content for client’s social media platforms. At that time, these wacky holidays were just starting to become really popular, and I would write blogs about them. I thought it would be fun to see what a kid would do to celebrate all the different holidays!
Was your road to publication long and winding, short and sweet, or something in between?
My road to publication was the longest and winding-est! I queried more than 100 agents, and we put a few books out on submission before this one sold in early 2017. NATIONAL REGULAR AVERAGE ORDINARY DAY was scheduled to publish in Fall 2019, but got pushed back to Summer 2020. It was a long wait, but it is finally here!
What projects are you working on now?
I have signed a contract for my next picture book, but I can’t share details quite yet. I am working on several more picture book manuscripts and also a chapter book.
What advice would you give to aspiring authors?
I’m often stumped by this answer, because I want to say something really inspiring and important. But really, my advice is just to keep writing. Write crappy stories. Write stories that you love. Write stories that push the boundaries of your voice. Just keep going at it, and know it is a long road to mastering your craft, just like any other career path. But the joy of getting published is worth all the bumps along the way!
What is one thing most people don't know about you?
I won an award in 5th grade for a poem I wrote about Worms. I can still recite it to this day.
Where can people find you online?
My website is www.lisakatzenberger.com, where you can sign up for my author newsletter. I’m on twitter as @FictionCityand instagram as @lisakatz17. Stop by and say hi!
As the youngest of eight siblings, Lisa Katzenberger has been making up stories to entertain herself since she was a child. She loves to write books that make children laugh, escape, and dream. Lisa lives near Chicago with her family in a 100-year old Victorian house with sloping hardwood floors and the tiniest bathroom you’ve ever seen. She is the author of NATIONAL REGULAR AVERAGE ORDINARY DAY (Penguin Workshop 2020). When she’s not writing or taking care of her kids, she spends way too much time on twitter as @FictionCity.