Today I’d like to welcome the very first childrens’ author to my blog! Can you believe it? I am very excited to say that he is also the first male author to grace my site. I think you’ll all be pleased and impressed.I was. This is my new writer-pal, Hank LeGrand. Hank already has three childrens books out and an exciting YA on the way!
I grew up out in the country along with six sisters and two brothers. Stories were a big part of my life growing up and–with that many siblings–there was never a shortage of imaginative-storytelling, book readings, or just simply being an avid listener. I enlisted in the military in 1969, and was honourably discharged in 1971 from the United States Army’s infantry division. I’m a Vietnam Veteran and was awarded two Bronze Stars.
Welcome to my blog Hank! I’m thrilled to be hosting a childrens author! You write write amazing stories for children. What drew you to that genre?
What drew me to writing children and young/adult books goes way back to my childhood. My first story was titled Little Moe’s Christmas. I enjoyed stories of this genre when I was growing up. I’ve always had an imagination but wasn’t quite sure how to harness it. Growing up in the country gave me more than enough time to daydream. When I walked—especially in the late evening—to my neighbors to play or go sled riding, trudging through snow – covered fields was just so enchanting. Seeing all the sparkling colored lights off in the distance, and the moon-lit sky shimmering off the snow – covered hills was enough to stir anyone’s imagination.
I can picture that walk! It sounds peaceful. Where do you find your muse or inspiration for your stories today?
I find my inspiration by looking around (e.g.). I purchased an ornamental wishing well for my front yard, and the next thing I knew I had written my other story titled, Under The Wishing Well—the story about a house cat who gets accidentally locked outside at dusk. Well, I happen to have such a cat, her friend Baxter (my dog), and Chippy–the chipmunk–who decided to dig his hole under my wishing well.
I love it. Thank makes me smile. Of course, on top of your delightful childrens’ titles, you have a YA out now as well. I know many writers have a tough time finding a teen voice. Tell us about Rampage and how you managed to create a truly authentic young adult voice.
I thought up my young/adult novel one day when I was going for a ride. I’ve always enjoyed action/adventure, westerns, and young/adult books. Anyway, on one of the back roads I saw several horses grazing peacefully in their pasture…well, once again my imagination started racing. I placed myself (fictionally) on the golden palomino standing there. So when I returned home I started typing, and the end results is titled, Rampage—my first young/adult novel.
It sounds like you’re never short on ideas. When did you catch the “writing bug” and what was the journey to publication like for you?
I caught the writing bug when I turned forty – seven, and haven’t looked back. I could never have imagined that I’d ever, one day, write anything worth while…let alone a book, and I know for a fact that if I can write one anyone can. As far as my searching for publication it was a long one. I was told that if you didn’t get at least fifty rejection letters a person wasn’t trying hard enough. Well…after I received my hundred and fiftieth—from publishers and agents– I felt I must be getting close. It took me six years to get my children’s book titled, Paddle Tail published—the story about the adorable little beaver born without a tail. Paddle Tail’s second book in the series titled, Paddle Tail’s First Winter Adventure soon followed—I’m working on the third book titled, Paddle Tail’s First Day at School. Dawn is working with me on The Giant Oak Tree—another children’s title.
Do you have any words of advice for those unpublished writers out there (like me lol) who are feeling less than optimistic?
My word to any writer is simple. “You don’t know what you can do until you do it.” Don’t give up. You can do anything you put you mind to, and don’t let rejections slow you down. Read into the rejection letters…It will make you an even better writer.
Those are definitely words to live by. Thank you so much for stopping by and sharing with us!