Now that April Fool’s Day is over, I should probably introduce this as my post on April 1st…
Recently I had the extraordinary opportunity to interview author Ima Twitt, two time Caldecott finalist and one of the least known powerhouse authors out there in kids publishing. Ms. Twitt actually spent several years as a ghost writer for some of the biggest publishing houses, which may help explain why you haven’t heard of her. Despite her popularity with kids and parents, many people in the business have simply overlooked her talent. However, roughly five years ago she managed to turn the heads of store owners with the breakout book, Peas Up My Nose. And with some aggressive marketing and friends in the business to lean on, Ms Twitt managed to carve a little more space for herself on the American bookshelf, kids’ section.
Her next two books opened a few more doors, with evocative titles like Donuts Are Round and Grapefruits Are Round, Too, But Don’t Have Holes. But her most beloved stories–and the one for which she has earned her highest honors–have been the delicious tales of Miss Burnadette Toast of The Marmalade Mystery Series for middle graders. Like Ms. Twitt herself, Burnadette is a little rough on the outside, but behind her dark and (dare I say?) crusty exterior, readers who love her know that she’s as sweet as pure-milled biscuit dough.
But enough from me. Here is what Ms. Twitt had to say to my questions last week:
1. You have been compared to writers as diverse as Dr. Suess and Shakespeare. Who has influenced you most in your writing? Now that’s silly, isn’t it? Comparing me to Dr. Suess and Bill Shakespeare when I am clearly both female and alive, while they are male and dead. Still, considering their impact on books today, I am honored to be with them metaphorically in the Who’s Who of American Authors. Of course, in reality, more than anything else, I think I have been influenced by all those books I was forced to read as a kid.
2. What inspired you to create Burnadette and the Marmalade Mystery Series? Actually, I was sitting on a bus in my hometown of Gables, Florida, when a lady next dressed in real nice pink cashmere just started yelling, MARMALADE!!! Then she ran off the bus. So, that really got my attention. Later in the day, when I was putting in my contacts, I started to wonder why….And the only thing I could think of was, ‘Hey, now THAT’S a mystery.’ And also, if you really want to know, my car loan was inspiring as well.
3. What’s next for you? Anything exciting your readers can look for? Well, that’s a great question. I don’t know, I try to be spontaneous in my writing, but right now I’m really interested in a follow up book to Peas Up My Nose. I was thinking, why limit peas to just one orifice? Why not Peas in My Bellybutton? I just feel like peas are such a diverse plant family, with black and brown and white and red all coexisting together, in one big happy pea soup…I mean, I just see peas as the wisest of the vegetables, and there is just so much fodder there for thought. But then again, we mustn’t overlook jalapenos! I hear they’re are really hot right now, and just imagine all the fun I could have with jalapenos up my nose!!! lol.
Happy April 1st to you all today! If you’re not done being silly, why not check out my Olivia post from weeks past: If Olivia Comes to Visit. Or check out Janie’s post on a light-hearted picture book worthy of special attention, All We Like Sheep.