Raven Howell is the author of several award-winning children’s books. She writes for magazines such as Highlights for Children, the Cricket magazines, and Story Monsters Ink. Raven is Creative and Publishing Advisor for Red Clover Reader, and a contributing author for Reading is Fundamental (SoCal). She enjoys visiting classrooms and schools with book presentations and writing workshops.
She finds the summer sun, a kind gesture, and a warm smile inspirational.
1. What was your favorite subject in school?
I remember like it was just yesterday, sitting in the window-lined kindergarten schoolroom at a small table while our teacher showed us the alphabet and how to form letters. I loved words and language right away, and always worked meticulously at penmanship, spelling, reading, vocabulary, and writing in general in subsequent years.
In middle school, I favored and excelled in Creative Writing. It was there my teacher encouraged me to continue to craft my poems.
2. Do you write more than one thing at a time?
I certainly do! I have been a full-time writer for many years and enjoy the variety of children’s writing projects I have going on at any given time.
Writing work that surrounds my desk on a daily basis involves poetry for magazines, for anthologies and for my children’s workshops, I write stories for Reading Gate, an educational organization involved with teaching language, I write a monthly column, The Book Bug and am a writer for Story Monsters Ink magazine, I write for Voice magazine, and I write my own manuscripts and send those out for submission.
I have ideas folders and poetry files, draft documents and finished projects organized on my Mac. Somehow I happily make it work.
3. Does anyone in your family read your books?
In my childhood home, we all enjoyed books, music, and the arts. My father was not only an avid reader, but a published author of several poetry compilations. He passed several years ago, but when he was with us, he’d read my poetry, share his honest opinion, and we’d swap ideas.
My mom, and especially my mother-in-law, are cheerleaders for my books as only moms can be. My oldest son will often critique my manuscripts and then he reads my books when they’re released. My sister, goddaughter, and my grandnephews and grandniece are my book readers, too!
4. Do you carry around a journal to note inspiration?
Before cell phones, taking my daily dawn hike into the mountains, where I’m often inspired and compose, I would have to remember the darn words. So, you can imagine, I’d repeat them over and over in my head in an attempt to memorize the verse, the storyline or whatever it was, when I felt like I had come up with something worthwhile. That was just the way it was. Then, when mobile phones became the norm, suddenly I had the ‘note app’! How great!
Now, I can be hiking under the fading starred sky while the sun bursts over the horizon and whip out my phone, and type.
5. What do you do when you feel stuck?
I can’t say I’ve ever experienced much of feeling stuck. If a project, a story, a poem is hitting a snag, I know it’s only an indication to shift my focus to another idea. I’m actually the opposite in the sense that I find sometimes I need to pull myself away from my writing work, and dip into illustrating, or arts & crafts, binge watch a show, binge read an author’s books, or cook and bake.
6. If you could spend a day with another popular author, who would you choose?
I know for certain I would enjoy a day with Father Goose, also known as Charles Ghigna. Charles is one of my favorite children’s poets, and he’s always been kind, friendly, and considerate in our correspondence. I would also hope that spending the day with him, I’d get to visit his writing office, which is described as having the feel of a tree house. How fun is that?!
7. Would you and your main character get along?
My new picture book, Keep Trucking, explains basic transportation and teaches kids about what those who handle trucks and tractors in our communities do and where they go.
I would definitely get along with the main character in the book since he finds Grandpa’s pickup truck his most favorite!
8. How do you celebrate when you finish a project?
Celebrate? Oh, that’s easy: I happy dance!
Thank you for your wonderful and insightful interview, Raven! Please follow Raven on all of her accounts and check out her picture book, Pinkies Up, in our bookshop!