Pam Calvert has been writing books and stories for children for over ten years. She likes to write fairy-tales, math adventures, middle grade novels, and multicultural stories–all with a humorous twist. She has five picture books — three with Charlesbridge Publishing and two with Marshall Cavendish. The first one entitled, Multiplying Menace: The Revenge of Rumpelstiltskin, was launched in February 2006. She’s also written many mysteries, including one entitled, Clue School: Mystery at the Ballpark. For more info, visit her website.
Let the conversation begin!
How many words do you write each day?
Well, I can’t write every day since I’m doing a lot of other things right now—mainly school visits and promotion (and laundry and cleaning the house!) But when I sit down, I usually write at least 2000 words. I try to carve out two to three days a week for writing. At the moment, I’m lucky to get in one day, but this is in the heart of school visit season. It’ll settle down soon.
Are you an outliner or a seat-of-the-pants writer?
I outline! Otherwise, the writing process is like a dream—who knows where that story will go! YIPES!
When are you the most productive?
Morning and afternoon. I like to spend time with my family when they’re at home at night.
What do you do to recharge your creative batteries?
I run. There’s nothing like a seven mile run to help me write my next scene.
What book was the easiest to write? Hardest?
Gosh, I don’t know. They’re all hard to write. The easiest book I’ve written was an early reader for five year olds. Once I got the idea, I wrote it in 20 minutes and I knew it was good. Sold instantly. But nothing usually comes that easy. Even picture books are hard. The hardest part is getting that amazing idea that will sell.
What initially drew you to writing?
I’ve always loved to write even though I wasn’t always good at it. I remember being excited about writing a story for my sixth grade English class. I usually put off homework but not that assignment. My story was entitled, ALIEN MICE INVADE THE EARTH—I knew I’d get an A for sure. My teacher didn’t agree. She gave me a C. So, I gave up writing until sixteen years later I started a running club newsletter and won awards. Then I submitted my articles to running magazines, got paid and haven’t looked back.
Are your characters completely fictional?
They’re mostly fictional—at least their personalities, but I will base their features off of real people. For picture books, well, that’s left up to the illustrator.
Where do you get your ideas?
They come from anywhere—my childhood, from people giving me ideas (people love to share!), from articles, from historical sites, and one even came from a dream. I woke up with the idea of turning things into frogs and that’s why there’s so many in MULTIPLYING MENACE DIVIDES.
What advice would you give young writers?
Never give up! Because when you’re getting a ton of rejections, it will be hard to keep going. I almost gave up about ten different times, but God always had something or someone to give me encouragement to keep writing and submitting. Prayer helps too.