Well, she doesn't REALLY want to be a nun. At least I don't think she does. She's just played one on stage. And she is a superior mother even if not a Mother Superior. I just think that picture is so funny I had to up here.
But musical star is just one of the many things Kim has done and continues to do. Seriously, I don't think I have ever met someone who uses such a high percentage of waking hours as Kim. I actually suspect that she does not sleep, but I can't swear to it. She writes very funny books, works as a graphic artist, performs in musical theater productions, SHE TAP DANCES, does school visits, and, the thing that REALLY knocks my socks off: she HOME SCHOOLS! I barely HOME LAUNDRY, let alone do lesson plans.
I got to know Kim a number of years ago via our on-line writing group. And she and I even get to see one another in the flesh once in a while, since she often trucks up to Maine with her family, and may stop in Massachusetts on the way up, or visit me in New Hampshire. Here is our writing group's blog. And here is Kim's blog. And here's Kim's site, which links to all sorts of other things that you couldn't even begin to think about.
Kim's first children's book as author is just out and what I love about this story and everything else I have had the pleasure of reading of Kim's, is that this book is so totally original. Like Kim. One of a kind. In fact, she even has a blog for her book!
So let me shut up already, and let Kim speak for herself!
Tell us about the moment when you realized that writing children's books was your destiny. Did you
always have it in the back of your mind to do this or did something jolt you into the realization?
It's funny, because earlier in my life I never really thought of myself as a writer, although my teachers always spotted it. Somehow I ended up as a graphic artist, but if you read my old report cards, it was always my writing they praised. And it was books that I craved, not art supplies! Still do. Like many writers, I tried this and that before I settled into my niche. I dabbled in poetry, (more accurately termed light verse, which I still think is fun), and even romance writing, if you can believe it. But I don't like romance novels, so -- although I had a bit of facility and even had some success in contests -- well... I just don't care for the genre although the sex scenes were fun to write.
Now I can't remember exactly what settled me into children's writing. I do remember that I was at a library once where they held the romance writer's meetings. I ended up leaving the meeting and going to check out an armload of children's books. I had a toddler at that point, and found I really enjoyed reading HIS books.
You juggle an awful lot of activities, jobs, and talents. Lay claim to all of them. Then tell us the name of your vitamins, or fess up: you really have a clone, right?
I'll tell you my vitamins first: Vitamins S & C (sugar & caffeine.) Tsk tsk.
My activities include working at a newspaper a couple of days a week, freelance graphic art, amateur theater, singing (a former swing band and a current "praise" band at my church), songwriting then the mood strikes -- about twice per decade. My secret sin is tap dancing, which I took up at the age of 44 for a show about a tap class. Free lessons for almost a year to do that show. Who wouldn't jump at that? (Well, I mean, what theater geek wouldn't jump at that?!) I let my tap shoes gather dust too much. That's the REAL sin.
And then there's the book writing and homeschooling, which I think I bored people with on Kerry's blog on Tuesday. Haha! (The homeschooling, not the book writing! What could be boring about book writing?!) I hang with a group who refer to ourselves as the "heathen homeschoolers" because we don't homeschool for religious reasons. Just feisty maverick types, I guess.
In addition to everything else, you home school! Has that experience colored how you approach writing
for kids? is there a unit on writing kids' books you teach your own kids?
My younger son claims he hated my poetry unit, but everyone else in our homeschool coop said they liked it -- so there! (One mom told me her son said, "Mrs. Norman makes it not boring." High praise!!) But my son claims to hate poetry in general, so I guess it's nothing personal. I've learned a lot and refreshed me memory about great writers and poets while teaching them. Have also had fun devising my own lesson plans.
Oddly enough, I have taught my kids very little of the mechanics of writing. I write and speak MOSTLY grammatically, and so do my kids. So I don't see any point in boring them with the name of a particular clause. I think that takes the fun out of language. My older son struggled with both reading and writing when he was little, back before I started homeschooling. I'm not saying that homeschooling fixed that. I think he just had to have time to absorb things that came more quickly to others. But once he got it, off he went! Suddenly he started writing novels at 14 or so. I was so astonished by that development that I tried not to interfere. Didn't want to break something that felt so fragile!!
Imagine you could create the perfect experience that would combine both your singing and song writing
talents, plus your talent as an author. What would it be?
Oh gosh, wouldn't that be fun? To write a musical and make MOI the star?! (And don't forget, there would be lots of tap dance breaks in the middle of the songs!) But it could never happen. Number one, I'm a little old to be Shirley Temple. (More like Norma Desmond!) And number two, writing and producing a whole play, not to mention a musical, would take me until the rest of my days! My home theater is sponsoring a one-act playwriting competition right now. Several people have asked me if I'm going to submit something, but I just don't consider myself a playwright. It's a whole 'nother skill-set.
You have your first book just out and one to follow before too long. Any hints as to what you are working
on now? PB? MG? Or--what would you LIKE to work on?
I do have something I simply MUST get back to before summer's end. A humorous rhyming picture book for which you suggested a marvelous title yourself, Barb! (Babies Schmabies.) One of my editors has seen it and thinks it has potential, but would like me to work further on it before she tries to take it to acquisitions. And there are always dozens of other half-finished or need-to-be-revised stories in all my notebooks!
If you really could be a "pet-for-hire" as the family members are in Jack of All Tails are, what
kind of pet would you be? Personally, I would be a lap dog.
Oh what a fun question! I think I'd be a cat, because cats aren't expected to DO anything for anyone. Plus they're small so they can creep into shadowy nooks and crannies. My kitty who died recently used to tickle me with all the places he found to hide.
Can I pay you to compose a song to, ahem, address the "pleasure" of book reviews? And while you are
thinking about that, and before you tell me how much it will cost, how come you can sing so well, and I
can't carry a tune to save my life? Tell me, Huh?
Oh I wouldn't say that, Barb! With a little wine in you, I'll bet you sing like lark! I do make one snide reference to reviewers in my Santa Baby parody, but I'm looking for just the right inspiration to write a whole SONG about mean reviewers. I'm betting I'll be PLENTY inspired as soon as my first bad review comes in for Jack!!
Thanks for having me over, Barb. It's always fun to party with you!!
And the fact of the matter is, Kim, is that I don't get enough of a chance to party with YOU. So I have to settle for the on-line stuff.
Thanks much for stopping by! See ya this summer, I hope.
Check out Kim's other interviews: