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Author Janice Milusich Interview

How did you become a writer?

I always liked to write as a child but never thought of pursuing it as a career. I continued to create stories while working as a teacher and became part of a writing/critique group which led me to learn about SCBWI and publishing opportunities.

What inspires you to write?

Children inspire me to write. I’m lucky enough to work with young children facilitating their learning. Children, adults too, learn more when they’re having fun, so I do my best to make the activities I present fun and often they come along with stories or characters I’ve created.

How do you develop your plot and characters?

I think of a character that I like who’s flawed and who I and others can relate to. I think about what that character wants more than anything in the world and then I imagine obstacles, the more the better, that might block their way to achieving their goals. I also think about how my character might change due to the obstacles he or she has had to overcome.

Could you share some of your challenges as a writer?

Time is my challenge. As a teacher, there is a lot of time spent in preparation, creation of lessons before the lessons are even taught and afterward there is a good amount of paperwork involved. I write after work, or before. I think up ideas or brainstorm plot while driving with the radio off to the schools I visit. And I try to have a notebook nearby when ideas or solutions to plot dilemmas come to mind.

Do you have a routine you follow when writing?

I like to hand write my story beginnings (character names, settings, plot). Brainstorming is always first, about character, and plot. Interviewing my character so I really know how he/she would respond in a variety of situations. Research about topics, names, idioms usually come in along with plot. Working to bring the reader into the story with a fair amount of immediacy and with a good hook, as picture books have tight parameters, are usually among my beginning tasks. Checking the market to see what if anything has been done and making sure I’m coming at it from a different perspective is also among my list of first things first.

Do you have any advice for aspiring writers?

Write from your heart. Don’t let the goal of publication become something that drives you or weighs you down. What is your preferred method for readers to get in touch with you?

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