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  • Writer's pictureLittle Thoughts Press

Interview: Abby N. Wooldridge


A photograph of Little Thoughts Press Issue Four: Autumnatopoeia with a sneak peek of the poem "Weather's Trick, Witch's Treat" by Abby N. Wooldridge. A white page with black text.

 

Abby N. Wooldridge is a pediatric speech-language pathologist, wife, and mother of two incredible kids. She loves reading and writing and has dreamed of being an author her entire life. Her first poem was published on April Fool’s Day (no joke!) in Imperfect II: Poems About Perspective, an Anthology for Middle Schoolers. Connect with Abby on Twitter @ANWBooks, or visit her website to see more of her work at abbywooldridge.com.

 

Little Thoughts Press: In addition to writing, you work as a pediatric speech-language pathologist. That is so cool! In what ways does working with children in this capacity influence or inform the way in which you write for kids?


Abby N. Wooldridge: I love working with kids! They help me see the world in a new way, and they teach me things every day. I've definitely gotten a lot of picture book ideas from the kids I've worked with, too! I talk to a lot of them about having a growth mindset and not giving up. The path to publication is full of rejections, but I hope to use my journey to show kids that they can achieve their goals if they don't give up.



Little Thoughts Press: Issue 4: Autumnatopoeia celebrates the sounds of the fall season. What is your favorite onomatopoeia? And what is your favorite thing about autumn?


Abby N. Wooldridge: I LOVE the Autumnatopoeia issue because it combines two things I love: onomatopoeia and fall! I love hay rides, apple cider, sweater weather, and pumpkin patches. The way the dark clouds contrast with the bright blue sky and the changing colors of the leaves. The crisp cool air. The smells of the season. But my favorite thing about fall is that magical feeling in the air: the promise of new possibilities. My favorite onomatopoeia is "crackle." I love leaves that crunch and crackle under my feet, bonfires that crackle and pop, and sweet treats that crinkle and crackle when they're opened. It's cozy and exciting all at the same time.



Little Thoughts Press: What initially drew you to writing kid-lit and what do you find most challenging and rewarding about writing for a young audience?


Abby N. Wooldridge: I never went anywhere without a book in my hands growing up, and I've always wanted to be an author. One of my favorite memories that made me realize it was time to pursue my dream happened a few years into my career as a speech pathologist. I asked the little boy I was working with what he wanted to be when he grew up. He told me and then said, "What do you want to be when you grow up, Miss Abby?" "An author," I said, without missing a beat. I want to write books that help kids love reading as much as I do. The rejections along the way have definitely been a challenge, but reading my work to a child who loves it makes it all worthwhile.



Little Thoughts Press: Which kid-lit authors and books were your favorites growing up?


Abby N. Wooldridge: I loved Judy Blume, Joan Lowery Nixon, Lois Duncan, and Beverly Cleary.



Little Thoughts Press: And what about today? Any kid-lit writers you love and want to shout out?


Abby N. Wooldridge: I have loved being a part of the kid-lit community. There are so many amazing creators out there, and I have learned so much from all of them. I've loved being a part of 12x12, Haiku communities, critique trains, Twitter chats, and writing contests. One of the coolest things ever is being able to read my critique partners' stories before they are published. I cannot wait for their books to be out in the world!



Little Thoughts Press: What advice would you give to young writers?


Abby N. Wooldridge: Read and write as much as you can. Draw--even if you think you're bad at it. Silence your inner critic. Focus on fun. Share your work with friends who love to read and write, and celebrate your progress.



Little Thoughts Press: Is there anything else you wish I had asked? Any upcoming projects, publications, or other news you'd like to share?


Abby N. Wooldridge: No new publishing news to share right now, but I do have several submissions out and continue to be hopeful. I also recently won an honorable mention in the humor category of Susanna Leonard Hill's holiday villain contest. I was super excited about that! In terms of other things to share, I would say one of the best lessons I've learned is to share my writing with others. I've written so many stories that have never seen the light of day because of the fear that they're not good enough, but finding critique partners to trade work with has been a game changer. I learn so much from them, and they challenge me to be a better writer. In case it inspires anyone else who's on the fence about sharing their work, here's the verse that inspired me:


Farmers who wait for perfect weather never plant.

If they watch every cloud, they never harvest.

--Ecclesiastes 11:4










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