Frequently asked questions – from actual kids!

I have a dog.

Wow, that’s awesome!

How long does it take you to write a book?

Sometimes it takes me a few weeks, sometimes a few months. I write every day until the story sounds just the way I want it to sound. Sometimes after I finish a book, I’ll go back and rewrite some parts…or all of the parts! Every book is a different kind of challenge, and that’s what makes it fun.

Do you draw the pictures?

Nope, I’m not an illustrator. Know why?

Because this is my picture of a cat: 


This is my picture of a spaceship: 


I actually have no idea what this is a picture of:


See? That’s why I am forever in awe of the amazing illustrators who bring my words to life. To me, it’s magic!

Do you like hamburgers or cheeseburgers?

Is that a trick question or a regular question?

Regular question.

Cheeseburgers. Any other questions?

My favorite part was the zebra dancing.

Ooh, cool! How about a question?

Mine too, I liked that part too!


How do you come up with your ideas?

Ooh, good one! I get ideas everywhere. From things I see, from places I go, from my kids, from other kids, from my friends, from my cat (she doesn’t know she gives me ideas but she does).

So….um…my brother….well….one time…a long time ago…I forgot.

That’s okay!

Do you like writing for kids?

More than anything in the world.

Frequently asked questions – from actual grownups!

Did you always want to be a writer?

Nope. First I wanted to be a dancer. Then a choreographer. Then an actress. Then a career counselor. Then a Spanish translator. Then I’m pretty sure I started that loop all over again. But somewhere along the way, I started writing kids’ plays, which turned into writing kids’ books, which turned into writing kids’ TV shows, and after a while, I thought – this writing this is really working for me. I haven’t stopped writing since.

Where do you get your ideas?

Hey, the kids asked me this too! But I will elaborate a bit. My own kids are currently 5 and 8, so pretty much any conversation we have leads to, “Hey, that would make a good book!” But also, ideas just come out of the blue. Six years ago, we were walking around a camping store and my husband pointed to a stuffed moose and said to our 1-year old, “Just remember, a moose doesn’t moo.” Book idea!

How is writing for TV different from writing books?

TV writing is fast-paced. For most shows, I have about a week to write a script, then another week to rewrite the script based on everything they told me was wrong with the first script. (I’m kidding! Sort of). Creatively, I typically know the show and the characters very well, so my challenge is to bring something interesting and new to an established world. With books, it starts with me and a blank screen. It’s my idea, my choice to rhyme or not, my approach to how and when to get it done and then send the final manuscript to my agent and await her response with baited breath (thank goodness she’s quick!). As for hearing beloved television characters saying the lines I wrote, or hearing a group of kindergarteners giggle as I read my book to them – there’s no difference there – it’s all super awesome.

I want to write a children’s book. What should I do?

Write one! Children’s books are not that long! Write a page a day and before you know it, you’ll have…well probably a hot mess of a book. But that’s okay! Because now you will be editing, which in my opinion is infinity times better than that pesky making stuff up from scratch nightmare. Edit and edit until you’re sick of looking at it anymore and are happy and confident with the finished product. Then buy a copy of the Children’s Writers and Illustrator’s Market and decide when and where and to whom you should send your manuscript. Good luck!

All materials © 2020 Jennifer Hamburg. Web site by Websy Daisy.