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April 21, 2017
Q & A with author Jennifer Lee Kouo
by Wendy Dean

This month’s Featured Author, Marylander, Jennifer Lee Kouo

Jennifer Lee Kouo is a first-time author whom, when not penning her next children's book, is working on her PhD at the University of Maryland, College Park - The Omnibus PublishingWe caught up with our newest children’s book author and asked her the questions our fans sent in. Here are her answers to some of your most burning questions!

Which writer inspires you? Currently, my favorite children’s book is “The Day the Crayons Quit” by first-time author Drew Daywalt, which is whimsically illustrated by Oliver Jeffers! The story is immensely fun to read out loud and I never tire of reading it! I absolutely adore the dynamic storyline and the wittiness of the dialogue.

Do you write full-time or part-time? I write any-time!

Who designed your book cover? book cover image of Paint me the Sky children's bookThe wonderfully and magically talented Stephanie Parks, of course! I know I am a writer, but words really can’t describe how elated I am to have her illustrate and bring this story to life! Thanks also to Wendy Dean for bringing us together and allowing us to collaborate on this story!

Do you think that the cover plays an important part in the buying process? Absolutely! They say, “Never judge a book by its cover.” But I know when I am in a bookstore I am drawn to the covers of books. Covers of books are an enticing invitation to potential readers to draw them closer, open up that cover, and crack the spine a bit.

Give us insight into your main character. What does she do that is so special? Piper is loosely based off of my father, who is an avid collector of action figures and baseball cards, and based off of me, who he passed that pastime on to (I have a closet bursting with my collection of clothes and shoes). Piper is on a harrowing mission to complete her collection, which already includes dolls, flower petals, leaves, ribbons, shoes, and even dust bunnies, by collecting the sky. Throughout the story she is relentlessly attempting to capture the constantly evolving elements of the sky, but she eventually gets discouraged. You will have to read the story to find out what happens at the end!

What advice would you give to aspiring writers? Revel in the journey of writing, ruminating on, and constantly perfecting your writing piece. Surround yourself with other writers and others who will constantly spur you to continue writing and getting your work published. Writing is such an immensely powerful medium. So invest the time to make sure that what you deliver to the world is a true representation of yourself and that you stand wholeheartedly behind it.

What are you working on at the minute? I am currently working of completing my Ph.D. at the University of Maryland at College Park and am completing my dissertation on intervention research for young children with Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD). But when there is an occasional opportunity to relinquish myself from the all-consuming research, I am searching for the draft of my second children’s book, which is floating around somewhere on my laptop.

How do you think you’ve evolved creatively? I believe I have come more attuned to nature and life in general. Practicing yoga and attempting to maintain a balanced lifestyle has really allowed me to appreciate the nuances of this world, and that in turn has influenced my creativity. Of course, there is also Instagram and Pinterest! 

image of flier for author event Want to learn more? Join us Saturday, April 22nd at Red Canoe Cafe to meet Jennifer in person. Grab some lunch, attend a book signing and engage in a little #KidLit chat! Click on the flier, left, to view full size. We look forward to meeting you there!


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