WHEREVER YOU GO BY PAT ZIETLOW MILLER
1) Please provide a short excerpt of what your children’s book is about.
Wherever You Go is about all the paths you can take in life and finding joy in the journey.
2) What inspired you to write this book and why did you pick this genre?
I wrote this book as a love letter to my oldest daughter. It contains some of the things I want her to take with her as she leaves for college and moves further into the world.
3) How do the illustrations complement your book? What was important to you as an author?
Eliza Wheeler did a magnificent job with the illustrations. I couldn’t be more pleased. I think they make the book something you want to walk across the room to see. In picture books, words are only half the story. And, the illustrations are often what first catches a potential reader’s eye. So they have to be good.
4) All your books have very different themes and subject matters. How do these stories come to you and how do you know they will be well received?
I write about topics that interest me. Things I find curious or noteworthy or funny. I hope that if I write a story I’d like to read, others will find it appealing too. But I never know if what I write will be well received. All I can do is give a story everything I have, send it off into the world and then hope it will find its audience.
5) As a child, what books and/or authors influenced you the most and why?
I loved THE WESTING GAME and other books by Ellen Raskin. It was a great story set in Wisconsin, where I lived, and I just adored it. I read it many, many times.
6) What is the most fulfilling thing about being an author?
To know that kids and teachers and parents and booksellers and librarians are reading your book, and that sometimes they think enough of it that they reach out to you to tell you why it’s their favorite or how they used it in their classroom or to see what else you’re working on.
7) What do you hope children will take away with them after reading your book?
That life isn’t a straight line. It can take you on a lot of unexpected journeys – some fun and others not so much – but that no matter where you are, you have the ability to make choices and head toward where you’d really like to be.
8) What advice can you give to aspiring children’s picture book authors that you have learned over the years?
Success is a combination of writing skill, perseverance and luck. You can control two of these factors. And, if you focus on improving your skill and increasing your perseverance, luck often takes care of itself. You may have to recalibrate your definition of perseverance, though. I’ve heard writers say, “I’ve spent weeks on this manuscript and it keeps getting rejected!” If you wanted to be a professional athlete or musician or surgeon, you’d need to spend more than weeks honing your skills if you expected to be hired. The same is true with writing at a professional level. It may take years of practice and perseverance.
9) What are you working on now?
An early middle grade novel set in Wisconsin. Its plot involves Harry Houdini, Tony Bennett, basketball, cooking and the weather. Will it ever see the light of day? I’m not sure, but I’m working on making it as good as it can be.