Lynne Jonell


Lynne Jonell joins LitPick for Six Minutes with an Author! Lynne's most recent book, The Sign of the Cat was released today, June 16th! Lynne is the author of picture several picture books including Mom Pie and Its My Birthday, Too!, chapter books Grasshopper Magic, Wild Water Magic, Lawn Mower Magic and Hamster Magic, and novels The Secret of Zoom, and the Emmy and the Rat Series.

How did you get started writing?

By being a reader. I remember vividly the first book I read on my own… it was The Tale of Benjamin Bunny by Beatrix Potter. I curled up behind the easy chair in my big sister’s bedroom, in a little corner space all my own, and at first I just looked at the pictures. Then I saw to my delight that I recognized words! I knew “A”, and I could sound out “an”, “and”, and “but.” When I couldn’t sound out a word, I asked my sister. I still remember arguing with her, saying “the” should be spelled “tha.”

Who influenced you?

When I was very small, my grandfather captivated me with stories he would tell. In third grade, I had a marvelous teacher who told me she thought I might be a writer someday.  And in sixth grade, I read A Wrinkle in Time by Madeleine L’Engle, and that book was such an experience for me that I decided then and there that I wanted to write books like that when I grew up.

Do you have a favorite book/subject/character/setting?

It’s hard to choose!  But if I limit myself to my current book, The Sign of the Cat, I’d have to say it’s a toss-up between Fia, the little white kitten with mismatched eyes, and Brig, the military tiger who is enthusiastic but very focused on chain-of-command.  I feel as if I should say that the boy Duncan is my favorite, since he’s the main character, but he is too much a part of me for me to stand outside and judge, somehow. 

What advice do you have for someone who wants to be an author?

First, read. Love books and stories and just enjoy reading what you like.

Second, write. Start to tell stories on paper. Try writing a story for your little brother or sister, or a friend, or for yourself at a younger age, and see how it turns out.

And third, rewrite. Set the story aside and come back to it a month or two later, and see if you can make it even better.

(When I was in school, I was very good at the first thing, did some of the second, and was terrible at the third. If I would have learned to rewrite when I was younger, I might have been published sooner!)

Where is your favorite place to write?

It changes depending on my mood.

I like my drawing table, my computer desk, an easy chair, the couch, the kitchen table, the dining room, coffee shops, the library, and outside in the summertime. Best of all, I like to get away to some lonely cabin or new setting where I won’t be disturbed at all (once I wrote in a castle in Scotland!).

What else would you like to tell us?

I would like to say, thank you for reading my books. I wrote them for you.

Lynne, thank you for spending six minutes with LitPick! It seems like it would be very inspirational to write in a castle!


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