Deb Lund is the author of Harcourt’s best-selling picture dinobooks and MONSTERS ON MACHINES. She’s a writing teacher, creativity coach, and creator of FICTION MAGIC: Card Tricks & Tips for Writers, a boxed-set of 54 cards and a guidebook to be released in October. The card “tricks” help intensify the tension in your stories as the creativity-coaching “tips” help reduce the tension in your writing life. It’s like having two decks in one!
For what age audience do you write?
My published books are all picture books, and I’ve just completed an upper middle-grade historical fantasy that takes place in Portugal in 1762. I’m also working on a YA series and an adult novel.
Henry: Wow, you are working across a wide spectrum of audiences.
Tell us about your latest book.
DINOSOARING joined DINOSAILORS and ALL ABOARD THE DINOTRAIN. This has been a popular series about gargantuan dino goofballs who take off on adventures. So far they’ve traveled by boat, train, and airplane.
Henry: Well, after getting seasick in DINOSAILORS, I can see why they’d explore alternative means of transportation.
What do you hope readers will get from reading that book?
Besides enjoying the rollicking rhythms and rhymes, I hope it helps them find their own sense of adventure. A public librarian once told me that my books were never the “behind the couch” books at her house. When I asked what that meant, she said they never minded reading my books over and over. When they got bored with a book, they would stretch their arm over the back of the couch and drop the book behind it. It would take weeks for their kids to figure out what happened to it.
Henry: Ah, I used a similar technique as a child, hiding unwanted parts of my dinner under the plate or napkin.
What aspect of writing do you find most challenging?
For me, the most challenging aspect of being a writer is carving out time. While I’ve learned to create fairly well in the middle of chaos, I need to deal better with distractions. I love new thoughts and ideas, and I enjoy revision, but my mind is always whirring away and picking up cues from this and that. It’s amazing how much I get done at times with all the competition going on in my brain!
Henry: Yes, operating from within the eye of a swirling vortex of kid chaos – the bane of all work-from-home parents.
What is a powerful lesson you’ve learned from being a writer?
Just one? How about a few? Hard work pays off. Being stubborn is an asset. I am not alone. Anxiety and blocks are part of the creative process. I have gifts to share with others.
Henry: Thank you for sharing them!
What has been a memorable experience that you never would have had if you had not been a writer?
Seeing that first giant-sized hardcover book arrive with a big dinosaur face on the front, and under that face, a name exactly like mine.
Henry: Yes, that thrill of seeing your name up in lights like a movie star!
What advice would you give to aspiring authors?
Oh, the usual. Join a critique group, expect rejection, know this will take years, not months. Ask questions. Write, write, write.
Henry: Yes, yes, yes. It is a subjective business, so what someone rejects, someone else may love. Critique groups are very helpful, as is joining the Society of Children’s Book Writers & Illustrators (SCBWI)
Do you have any favorite quotes?
One of my own quotes (that I often use on myself) is “Energy Follow Action.” I even wrote about it for an online magazine. http://www.whidbeylifemagazine.org/creativity-cafe-energy-follows-action/
Henry: “Perfect is the enemy of good enough.”
Do you have any strange rituals that you observe when you write?
It depends on what I’m writing, what mood I’m in, or what time of day I’m writing. I might light a candle, sit quietly for a minute before beginning, or even stretch before I get in the chair, but usually, I just sit down and turn on my computer. Nothing too strange here—well, that I’m willing to share!
Henry: No pentagrams or bagpipes here.
If you could have one superpower, what would it be?
To be able to access instant energy at any time. I’d love to be up at night, writing away, playing by day, feeling vibrant and alive no matter what else is going on in my life. Oh, how funny. I just realized the connection between this and the quote I mentioned above. See now why I need to use “Energy Follows Action” on myself?
Henry: You’re welcome. 🙂
What do you like to do when you’re not writing?
I like walking on our island beaches and trails, meeting with my friends, singing with my amazingly talented husband, goofing off with our three kids, teaching writers of all ages, talking with teachers, and supporting other creative people who are ready to pursue their dreams.
Where can readers find your work?
My books can be obtained from any normal book outlet. I love supporting indie stores, and hope your readers feel the same way. Teaching materials, advice for writers and artists, continuing education classes, and other resources can be found at www.deblund.com
Thank you so much, Henry. It was a pleasure to chat with you, and I wish you and everyone reading these words lots of success with your projects.
Henry: It was a pleasure interviewing you, Deb.
This interview is also posted at the San Diego Children’s Books Examiner.