Marya: Where did the idea for the Crocodaddy game come from?
Kim: It was a pretend game we played in our little backyard pool when our younger son was a preschooler. Of course, I was more of a bystander watching the fun between my husband, (the REAL Crocodaddy), and my sons. Just last night, my husband was recalling how they used to climb on his back and he'd toss them off with a splash, just like the father and son in the book.
Marya: Why did you decide to share the joy of the this game with your readers?Kim: Well, I thought the word "Crocodaddy" was such a fun word, there must be a book in it. It took me several years of ruminating during my morning walks for the story to evolve. I'd already written one version that my critique group thought was a bit too intense for toddlers, (they thought it might be too scary), when -- one morning during a walk -- the rhythm of the refrain came into my head. "Crocodaddy, Crocodaddy, whatcha gonna do?" I could hardly wait to get home and start writing a new version with that bouncy refrain added to it.
Marya: You are an artist as well as a writer. Do you think you might, one day, illustrate some of the picture books that you have written?
Kim: I would love to do that someday. My favorite medium is collage. Besides writing books, I'm a freelance graphic artist, but that doesn't really involve drawing skills -- not since the advent of electronic clipart! My drawing skills have withered, I'm afraid, since computers started doing so much of the work for me! But years ago, I used to create collages which I'd display in art shows. When time allows, maybe after my younger son is off to college, I'd like to pull out my art supplies and see if I can't awaken my inner illustrator!
Marya: How did you start writing children’s books?
Kim: It has been nearly 20 years since I began writing, trying my hand at this and that genre. I think most writers do that, drifting from project to project, until they find the type of writing best suited for them. (Unless they're very prolific and eclectic, and can write all SORTS of books.) But I suddenly felt very at home once I started writing children's books. I can always count back to the time I finished writing my first picture book, because I know I sat down to write it after putting my younger son, then an infant, back into his crib following a predawn feeding. He's 15 now. I had a LOT to learn, (still do) about writing children's books, but that first story has been revised innumerable times, so I think it's pretty solid now. I've written and sold other books, but that first story is now with my agent, and she thinks it's ready to start sending out again.
Marya:What aspect of the book writing process do you like the most?Kim: Definitely the earliest part, the brainstorming and initial rush of getting a story down. If that story happens to be written in rhyme, all the better. Not all my books are in rhyme, but I've found that rhyme is the one form of writing that pulls me obsessively back to the work. Other types of writing, I tend to procrastinate, like a kid ignoring her homework. Very bad habit! I also like the final polishing stages of picture book writing, where you're honing each word, which often includes cutting words. It's kind of fun, seeing how bare bones I can make it while still retaining the flavor of the story. Picture books SHOULD feel a bit bare, when you're reading just the manuscript. If it feels too complete, it probably means you've forgotten to leave room for the illustrator to tell some of the story.
Thank you Kim for a great interview.