Today we sit down for a 20 Questions session with children’s author, Laura Kimball. She will tell us about her inspiration and a bit about herself and she’ll give us a sample of her work.
Please enjoy this edition of 20 Questions:
Q1) When did you first realize you wanted to be a writer?
Writing has always been an enjoyable outlet for my creative senses. Way before texting was invented, letter writing was my specialty. Not just ordinary letters either, my goal for the “pass between class” letter was to make my friends laugh by telling ridiculous stories. Recently, a friend of mine was moving and she found a box of my letters from twenty plus years ago. They were fantastically full of youth, crazy sentences and man it was fun to read through them. I was a little surprised at some of the content and a little concerned that I didn’t remember writing half of them. Writing today is still a creative outlet and thankfully the letters have a much higher quality content.
Q2) How long does it take you to write a book?
That depends. MOMSTER took about six months from the start of the idea to the final manuscript with a massive amount of editing. Since it is a rhyming story, I knew it had to have perfect rhythm. Using a metronome I would read the words out loud, over and over making sure to keep a steady beat. Some of my other stories have taken me anywhere from a few days to a few months.
Q3) What is your work schedule like when you are writing?
If I am working on a story and “in the zone”, it is really hard for me to do anything else. “Consuming” is a great description and this sometimes does not suit my personal life. We are a family of six and it is actually a relief when I finish a story…for everyone.
Q4) How are your books published?
My first and only book at this time MOMSTER, was published independently. It has been an amazing experience and led to the development of my company, Wackystackbooks. It is a resource network for writers where I share my publishing experience and valuable information like manuscript development, query letters, helpful links and more.
Q5) Where do you get your ideas for your books?
Not a day passes, that I do not come up with an idea for a story. Life gives me these ideas. As a mother of four children, most of my inspiration comes through them. The light bulb turns on, but turning that thought into a story can prove difficult. It does seem the stronger I feel about something, the easier it is to write about it.
Q6) If you don’t mind sharing, when did you write your first book?
My first book was written in 2013 and it was a mother/daughter collaboration. It has not been published at this time, but I think it will be my next project.
Q7) What do you like to do when you’re not writing?
I have been a Registered Nurse since 2000 and delivered babies for the next 12 years including four of my own. There is nothing like spending time with my family and enjoying life. I am also a student in a Masters of Nursing Sciences program and will graduate in 2017.
Q8) What is your favorite book?
This is such a tough question! I love books! I love the feeling of reading books with my kids in my lap and the emotional connection or conversation a story can create. If I really have to pick one book, it would be The Shack, written by William P. Young. This book brought me to my knees. The emotions I felt throughout this story had me in tears and it inspired me to reach out to people. When I read this book, my younger brother was battling P.T.S.D. after his deployment in Afghanistan. I really felt he had lost his way and I gave him this book to read. It made a big impact on him as well. I purchased several used copies and donated them to a local Veteran’s office in honor of my brother. It is my hope that it brought peace to others just as it had for me.
Q9) What do your family and friends think of your writing?
I have been blessed with very supportive family and friends that root for me in all I do. They read my stories, give me their honest opinions and offer helpful feedback. My children loved being a part of the making MOMSTER. My daughter can rap the entire MOMSTER story by memory and they are very proud of me.
Q10) What was one of the most surprising things you learned in creating your books?
The surprisingly large amount of self-doubt. As a young girl, I knew that I wanted to be a nurse and have four kids. I did just that. It was no big deal and there was no doubt that I could do it and do it well. When I started officially writing and sharing my stories, I felt very vulnerable. Reverting back to childhood would be a good way to describe it. You really do go “out on a limb” when you publish independently. It is associated with a considerable cost and you just pray it’s a good investment and you must have thick skin.
Q11) What do you hate most about the writing process?
Writing stories are fun for me and when you collaborate with an illustrator and see your words come to life, it’s quite exhilarating. Holding my book for this first time was similar to that of a newborn baby. I stared and touched and it even smelled great. The marketing of it however, is so much work. So much more than I ever anticipated. Not sure I’d say “hate” but it does not fall into the “fun” part.
Q12) How many books have you written? Which is your favorite?
I have written eight children’s stories. My favorite is the first one that my mother and I collaborated on. We worked on it for six months and had so much fun together. I hope to share it someday.
Q13) Do you have any suggestions to help us become better writers? If so, what are they?
My best suggestion is to, just start. I have an “idea book” that is filled with many different thoughts and possible story lines. Making time to sit down and develop these into more than a few words will result in a story. I forget things quickly, so writing my thoughts down immediately saves me a lot of frustration.
Q14) Do you get feedback from your readers much? How and what kinds of things do they say?
Reviews are very important to authors and I value each and every one. So far, most of my feedback has been very positive. MOMSTER is a book that not only does the child enjoy but parents can relate to. I’ve had parents thank me for giving their child a different perspective and that it’s nice to know the challenge of parenting is shared by many.
Q15) What is your preferred reading audience?
This is easy. I love reading to kids grades K-5. They are the best audience and appreciate that you’re even in their classroom.
Q16) What do you think makes a good story?
Humor, of course. Writing stories that makes children and parents laugh together strengthens bonds and makes learning fun.
Q17) Where can we find your books?
Q18) Will you give us an excerpt from of your favorite works?
I gently hugged my angry MOMSTER, cautious, she looked crazy-
I whispered in her pointy ear, “I’m sorry for being so lazy.”
“I should’ve come when you asked, instead I chose to ignore-
Plus, I know that we’ve discussed this a million times before.”
Q19) Where can we find your book?
MOMSTER is available on Amazon at this LINK.
Q20) How can we learn more about your books?
Here is a book trailer that you might enjoy.
About Laura Kimball:
Laura Jensen-Kimball is the mother of four children and married to Jeff. She was inspired to write after her youngest child was diagnosed with a speech delay. Books were a common tool used in improving his speech. Laura creates books with a touch of humor she feels both parent and child will enjoy. Living in Norwalk, Iowa, she is also a Registered Nurse currently pursuing her Masters Degree in Nursing Sciences. This is Laura’s first published book, but hopes her other stories are published soon- Check out Laura’s website at Wackystackbooks.com.
MOMSTER was awarded a Readers Favorites Five Star Badge and eLit awarded MOMSTER’s Ebook with a Silver rating, Best Children’s Book all ages, 2016.