Penny Parker Klostermann loves all kinds of books, but especially very silly picture books that make her laugh. Her debut book flew onto shelves August of last year. She has been known to hug her favorite picture books, and seriously hopes that someday her books will gain huggable status too.
For what age audience do you write?
I write picture books and poetry for the young and the young at heart.
Henry: Me too!!
Tell us about your latest book.
My latest book happens to be my debut book. THERE WAS AN OLD DRAGON WHO SWALLOWED A KNIGHT is the tale of a very hungry dragon whose manners are somewhat medieval. Burp!
Henry: Bad manners, but at least a nutritious diet high in fiber and iron. Never chew a knight with your mouth open.
What do you hope readers will get from reading that book?
A fit of the giggles . . . followed by an irresistible urge to hug my book . . . followed by another irresistible urge to open the front cover and start all over again.
Henry: I’m sensing a hugging trend here. I’m happy when kids read my stories, regardless of how they publicly display affection for books.
What aspect of writing do you find most challenging?
The first draft. I have a story in my mind, but when I start putting it on paper, it seems to lose some of the sparkle. Instead of just getting down the basic story and adding the sparkle later, I have a tendency to self-edit as I go making a 500 word story a painfully long ordeal.
Henry: I give myself permission to NOT edit the first draft. So, for me, the first draft is the easiest. It’s the revising, especially trying to look at a manuscript with fresh eyes, that I find hardest. Murdering one’s darlings is hard work.
What has been a memorable experience that you never would have had if you had not been a writer?
Meeting the KidLit community. What an amazing bunch of people! They are generous and encouraging.
Henry: I completely agree. The experienced writers are welcoming far beyond my expectation. I wonder if Hollywood treats new actors the same way…
What advice would you give to aspiring authors?
Read stacks and stacks of books in your genre. Reading will give you a reference point as you’re learning your craft.
Henry: That’s good advice. Learn from others. Or take it in a new direction, as you did with OLD DRAGON, and I did with WHEN YOU GIVE AN IMP A PENNY – my medieval fantasy homage (clearly one was needed) to Laura Numeroff’s brilliant IF YOU GIVE A MOUSE A PENNY.
Do you have any favorite quotes?
I have to choose Seuss. “You have brains in your head. You have feet in your shoes. You can steer yourself any direction you choose.”
Henry: Once in a while I meet someone whose brains are located elsewhere…
If you could have one superpower, what would it be?
Flying. It would be so handy and save a lot of money. No gas. No tires, etc.
Henry: Flying IS a very handy superpower. However, if you really think about the details (which is what all obsessive-compulsive types do), there are some related challenges to overcome. See my post in which Conan O’Brien interviews Edna Mode.
What is your favorite creature that exists only in literature?
Why the old dragon, of course. Why? He inspired my debut book! Go dragon!
Henry: Boy, I did NOT see that coming… As Bilbo Baggins says, “It does not do to leave a live dragon out of your calculations, if you live near him.” I’m a huge fantasy fan, and have a dragon in my as yet unsold picture book, BEST PET IN THE CASTLE.
What do you like to do when you’re not writing?
I love to travel and hope to see many more places in my life. When I’m home, I enjoy walking outdoors and enjoying nature.
What would you like it to say on your tombstone?
There WAS an old author . . .
Henry: There was an old author who liked to write rhyme. No more are forthcoming; she’s run out of time.
Where can readers find your work?
In bookstores and at http://pennyklostermann.com/
Henry: Thank you for participating, Penny. This article is also posted at the San Diego Children’s Books Examiner.