Most of the authors and illustrators I’ve interviewed here are friends I’ve met in real life or connected with from groups like Julie Hedlund’s 12×12 Picture Book Challenge. Today I welcome Lisa Rogers who I met when I heard so much about her book, 16 WORDS: WILLIAM CARLOS AND “THE RED WHEELBARROW” (illustrated by Chuck Groenink) that wanted to learn more about the author. As you can see from her photo, her latest book, HOUND WON’T GO, illustrated by Meg Ishihara is about one of my favorite subjects. Lisa is generously offering a picture book critique of a non-rhyming manuscript, less than 700 words. Comment on the post to enter the giveaway.
What were you like at the age of your target audience?
I am the third of four sisters and was an extremely quiet, shy child. I loved to read fairytales and folktales and collections of poetry, and I spent a lot of time drawing and daydreaming. I wanted to be an artist since I was little, and later in my childhood hoped to become an author.
Drawing honed my observation skills and created a foundation for my writing career. Through drawing, I paid close attention to the smallest things, such as the parts of a flower or the way lines criss-crossed on my palm. I spent a lot of time listening. Listening, playing the piano, and even all the time I spent at the beach where I grew up tuned my ear for the rhythms of life and language.
My sister and I created a family newspaper, The Daily Blab, when I was about 10, and my first professional writing job was in newspaper reporting.
I loved to swim and observe the stars. I desperately wanted a dog. My favorite fiction books were about animals, and my dream was to have a farm where I would raise horses and grow blueberries. I would have loved reading HOUND WON’T GO as a small child and even though I have read it many, many times, it hits me in the heart every time.
HOUND WON’T GO is great for the littlest ones up to anyone who has ever loved a pet or has a stubborn child. I’ve seen videos of babies “petting” the dog in HOUND and this book made a whole group of moms cry after I read it. So here I am crying when I was “caught reading” at about a year and a half.
What inspires you?
I get excited when I learn something cool and quirky, some offbeat piece of information that makes me gasp and think, Wow! That would be a great story! Because I was a reporter for 10 years I am practiced at seeing stories everywhere. An idea has to connect with me in a deep way so that I know I have to tell it. I especially want to know what inspires people to create something wonderful. The nexus between who people are and what they are inspired to do is what I yearn to learn about.
What’s something you hope your readers take away from your books?
Respecting, caring, connecting with others, and taking time to understand them and be kind makes our world a better place.
What’s next for you?
I’m super excited to combine my love of creative inspiration and art into a new book! DISCOVER HER ART: WOMEN ARTISTS AND THEIR MASTERPIECES, for ages 10 and up, co-authored with painter Jean Wiecha, features the lives and artworks of two dozen women artists. It’s coming out from Chicago Review Press in 2022.
I have many, many projects in various stages. I just became a full-time writer after a 21-year career as an elementary school library teacher, so I am working on moving those manuscripts forward!
To connect with Lisa and learn more about her books:
Twitter: @LisaLJRogers Instagram: @lisaljrogers