Tuesday, February 26, 2013

The Jane Yolen Mid-List Author Honoree Profiles: Barbara Shook Hazen

In addition to the winner, Valiska Gregory, two honorees were named for the 2013 Jane Yolen Mid-List Author Award: Margo Lemieux and... Barbara Shook Hazen!

Barbara Shook Hazen at a bookstore appearance

I interviewed Barbara to find out more...

Lee: While it's all still fresh, tell me about finding out you are an Honor Winner for the Jane Yolen Mid-List Author Award!

Barbara: It was a surprise lightning strike of joy to get the call from Lin and Steve and, later, to talk to Jane, whom I have known, admired and deeply liked for a long time.

Lee: How do you see this recognition helping your career?

Barbara: I hope it’s a jumpstart after a confidence-squashing stall — not in keeping on writing, which is a big part of who I am and what I do, but in sending out and selling. (For a gaggle of reasons, long-term editors departed, and my agent died, and I didn’t see a number of publishing sea changes — among them, that an agent would be necessary for submission.

 And the award money! A happy help in some write way — either for improved equipment or plane fare to research an unlikely historical friendship that has itched my curiosity.

Lee: Well, now you've itched my curiosity, but I'll be patient and wait to read it in the book that you'll write about it and have published! Can you tell me about a project you want to get out in the world next?

Barbara: Projects actually — more in drawers than out in the world.

 I’ve finished but am still fiddling with two early chapter books touching on the environment: One, about a second grader who can’t come up with a proper subject for his school’s Earth Day Show and Tell; the other, a fantasy reversal of a true event where a boy took an alligator on a school bus.

I’ve also a first-draft picture – or perhaps chapter — book about how and why creative young people invented things children know and use like earmuffs, trampolines, cereal bowls and squirt guns. (My father and son are both patent holders.)

I’ve kept feet in familiar picture book water. I’ve a story about going to Grandmouse’s House and another about a trip to The Bear Market Bookstore. And I keep tweaking poems – poetry was how I got into children’s books — in City Cats, a quirky feline gallery; Alphabet Soup and Animal Cracker, a platter of edible fun, and Awful Beastly Children, an alphabet of misbehavior beginning with “Abigail, adept at lies” who “Always had alibis.”

Barbara sounds very busy with lots of projects - All of us at SCBWI wish her congratulations on her Jane Yolen Mid-List Author Honor and much success moving forward!

Barbara can be reached at bshazen (at) verizon (dot) net.

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