Author Interviews are a fun way to learn about authors and their books. Interviews can give us insight into the author’s writing process. Author interviews help readers to better understand how and why their stories were written. This week I would like you to meet Leslie Eva Taylor author of I’m Fishing with Pop-Pop Today. Rosie wants to fish with her pop-pop. Pop-Pop does everything for her—baits the hook, casts the line, and even catches her fish. She finally tells him, “Pop-Pop, can we both fish today?” Will Rosie get to fish with Pop-Pop? Will Rosie catch her own fish?
Author Leslie Eva Tayloe
Book Titles I’m Fishing with Pop-Pop Today (Austin Macauley Publishers,
Illustrator: Austin Macauley Team, October 31, 2022).
Save the Trees (Brandylane/BelleIsleBooks, Illustrator Lintang
Pandu Pratiwi, June, 2023.
Short Summary of my book(s):
My first picture book, I’m Fishing with Pop-Pop Today, illustrated by the Austin Macauley Team, and published by Austin Macauley Publishers is about Rosie who wants to fish with her pop-pop. Pop-Pop does everything for her—baits the hook, casts the line, and even catches her fish. She finally tells him, “Pop-Pop, can we both fish today?” After that, Rosie catches her big fish.
My second book, Save the Trees, Illustrated by Lintang Pandu Pratiwi, and published by Brandylane/Belle Isle Books, will be released in the summer of 2023. It’s a story about Ronnie who loves trees and finds out that invasive plants and vines have taken over his town’s trees. Ronnie and his friend Leona set out to save the trees.
Social Media Twitter: @LeslieTayloe, IG: LeslieEvaTayloe
Leslie Eva Tayloe earned a Bachelor’s degree in Criminal Justice from the University of Nevada and a Master’s Degree in Human Resource Management from the University of Maryland. She retired from the federal government in an analyst position and then became a substitute teacher for elementary school children. Leslie and her partner, Michael, live on a small farm in Virginia with two cats and a dog named Frankie. With a combined family, Leslie and Michael have five adult children and eight grandchildren.
When did you realize that you wanted to be a children’s book author?
I’ve always loved to write. Growing up, I moved every couple of years because of my dad’s job, so I kept in touch with family and friends through letter writing. The more letters I wrote, the more letters I received. Opening the mailbox and finding letters written to me was so exciting. Even today I put pen to paper, and I still get excited about opening the mailbox.
In middle school and high school, I dreamed of writing a book, but I never wrote more than the first chapter. I had a lot of first chapters lying around my bedroom. Then after college, I worked full-time, commuted a couple of hours a day to work, and raised a family. There was no time to write. It wasn’t until I retired that I became serious about my writing. After I signed two traditional/hybrid contracts, that’s when it hit me—I’m a children’s book author.
What is your favorite part of being a children’s book author?
My favorite part of being an author is creating stories. I have a composition book full of ideas, but putting them down on paper that’s a challenge. And I love a challenge because it keeps me motivated.
What inspired this book?
I wrote I’m Fishing with Pop-Pop Today after Michael and I purchased 74-acres—a small farm with a 2-acre pond. We stock the pond with fish, so when the grandkids visit, they can fish. One day, our grandson went fishing with us and Michael did everything for him—baited the line, cast, and caught the fish. Our grandson finally asked, “Pop-Pop, can we both fish today?” The situation was very funny. So, I created I’m Fishing with Pop-Pop Today from that sentence. The character was originally a little boy, but then I changed it to a little girl since there weren’t many books about little girls fishing with their Pop-Pop. It’s a fun fishing story. Easy to read with lots of repetition and grandparent/child relationship.
Your second book?
I wrote Save the Trees after we moved to our 74-acre small farm. The story is fictional, but I wrote back matter, which explains the obstacles we faced in dealing with invasive vines and plants. Our property has over 25 species of trees, and we noticed invasive plants had overtaken a lot of the trees. Brandylane/Belle Isle Books Publisher is doing a wonderful job in telling my story. The book is scheduled to be released in June 2023.
How long did it take you to write this book?
I wrote my first book in about four months. It was quick. I’ve slowed down my writing and have learned so much about writing picture books since I wrote the story three years ago. My second book took much longer to write because I joined several critique groups. Revisions take time and make the process longer but more thorough.
What part of the book was the most fun to write?
Both books were fun to write. In my first book, I wrote a lot of repetition. The part where Rosie tells her Pop-Pop what she wants was the most fun for me. Rosie repeats, “I can do it!” It reminds me of that day on our pond with our grandson. In my second book, I really enjoyed writing the entire story, including the back matter. It allowed me to give readers an insight into what Michael and I experienced with invasive plants.
What advice would you give a writer working on their first book?
I think it’s important to have a writing routine. After a long walk, I usually get to my desk by 8:00 am. I work on my social media for about 30 minutes and then I write, edit a story, or take some type of training webinar. Join a few critique groups. I belonged to four critique groups at one time, and although it was wonderful receiving feedback from 16 people, it was a lot of work. So now I belong to two groups which allow me more time to write. I also suggest finding yourself a developmental editor in your genre. Join an organization like SCBWI, 12 x 12 Challenge, or Children’s Book Insider.
What are you working on now?
I write everyday so writing five or six stories at one time is not unusual for me. Not all the stories will make it through my process, but it helps me keep a fresh mind when jumping from one story to the next. Currently, I’m learning about non-fiction and hope to write a non-fiction picture book.
I have been fishing a number of times. Personally, I do not like putting the bait on the hookI would be happy to have Pop-Pop help me, but reading a great picture book about fishing is my cup of tea!
It is not too early to start thinking about holiday events that require gift giving. Books make wonderful gifts. If you know a child who loves fishing, you definitely want to check out this book.
I am so glad you’re here and so grateful that I can share my writing journey with you.
I’m looking forward to helping you as a children’s book writer in any way that I can. Speaking of helping — please leave a comment below and let me know what questions you have about picture book writing. This will help me to tailor my posts to your needs.
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I am booking author visits for 2022 – 2023. I can tailor any visit to your needs. Let’s talk!
One last request …
If you love picture books as much as I do, you can really help this author by leaving a book review on Amazon. You can leave a review for Gertie Saves the Day here or Two Wins for Wiley here. Reviews can be as easy as 2-3 sentences and should take about 30 seconds to leave and would make a huge difference for me. Need help? Click here.