Beth Ferry reads and writes near the beach in New Jersey where she lives with her husband, kids and a variety of creatures. She is the author of STICK AND STONE and the forthcoming LAN SHARK, PIRATE’S PERFECT PET and SWASHBY AND THE SEA. She loves alliteration and all types of word play. You can find out more at www.bethferry.com.
For what age audience do you write?
I write picture books. I hope that means they are for every age.
Henry: I write picture books too!! What a coincidence!!
Tell us about your latest book.
STICK AND STONE, my debut picture book, beautifully illustrated by Tom Lichtenheld, is, at its heart, a friendship story. With a nod to the childhood saying, Sticks and stones may break my bones. . ., this story personifies STICK AND STONE and highlights the importance of friendship.
Henry: I first saw STICK AND STONE at a Texas Librarian Association conference, and was immediately drawn to the hilarious illustrations. I read the book on the spot.
What do you hope readers will get from reading that book?
I hope readers will see . . .
how one word, or one act of kindness, can make a difference.
how sticking up for a friend, or even a not-quite-yet friend, is important.
how friends rescue each other in different ways.
how nothing is more important than a good friend – having one and being one.
Henry: No man is an island, but sometimes a rock is a friend.
What aspect of writing do you find most challenging?
I think the most challenging part of writing is coming up with a worthy idea. There are so many amazing picture books in existence, so to come up with a unique idea that will add to the already magnificent collection is challenging.
Henry: That’s so true. I find it very hard to be objective about my own writing. Hence the importance of opinions from one’s critique group and literary agent.
What is a powerful lesson you’ve learned from being a writer?
For every up, there is a down. I think this is a life lesson as well. Writing is definitely a roller coaster ride. It’s thrilling, but scary, with many peaks and dips.
Henry: Yup. Good news: I wrote a great story. Bad news: my critique group recommended a lot of changes. Good news: The rewrite is stronger. Bad news: Now I’m wondering if it really is a great story. Good news: My agent liked it. Bad news: No publishing houses responded right away. Good news: A publishing house expressed interest. Bad news: The advance is small and option clause too restrictive. Good news: My agent was able to negotiate better terms. Bad news: Now I have to wait 18 months to see the book in print. Good news: I’ve got other stories to work on in the interim.
What has been a memorable experience that you never would have had if you had not been a writer?
Having a first grade class applaud after I finished reading STICK AND STONE. It was such a delightful surprise, one I will never forget.
Henry: You rock, Beth!
Read the rest of this interview at Henry’s blog on KidLit, fantasy and science fiction.