Video Q&A With KidLit Author Cat Michaels
Want to know what other writers think? Check out our I Am A Writer series where we ask writers to share tips, experiences, and thoughts about what matters to them. Watch children’s book author Cat Michaels’ video response here!
When did you first realize that you wanted to be a writer?
I always wanted to write. It came natural to me. I started penning stories in fourth grade. Tales of the American Old West and girlish notions of old-timey ships sailing the high seas. I was hooked!
Where do you find your inspiration for characters?
Because I write children’s books for early readers, I base my stories on young readers I know. Typically family and friends. Big sister Tara, or Sweet T from Sweet T and the North Wind, is inspired by my niece. Both share characteristics of first-borns. Jenna, from Finding Fuzzy: A You-Decide Tale of a Lost Friend, is based on another niece. The real Jenna took her red Elmo from Sesame Street everywhere, so I made up a blue rabbit stuffy named Fuzzy for my book Jenna to love and plopped him into my story.
What’s the big challenge you face as a writer?
Writing is a roller coaster of ups and downs. “The road is bumpy. Writing is fraught with literary curves and technical potholes. Keep the pitfalls in stride and author onward.” I turn to family, friends, and my virtual support network of Kid Lit author colleagues to stay energized and to keep writing.
What book are you reading, and why did you select it?
Dystopian novels can be dark and depressing, but I read such glowing reviews of Emily St. John Mandel’s Station Eleven that I snagged an audio download. Love this tale about hope, Shakespeare, classical music, and Star Trek.
Do you listen to music when you write, and if so, what kind?
Speaking of music and Star Trek… I stream classical music and movie scores in the background as I work. Anything without words that might distract me. And when I need an extra push or want to celebrate, I pump up Michael Giacchino’s sound track from Star Trek to get to my happy place.
CAT MICHAELS started writing stories in fourth grade and hasn’t stopped since. After earning an M.S. degree in special education from the University of Kansas, she spent two decades helping students from kindergarten to college reach their potential. She also managed communication and training programs for an international high-tech company. After recession and downsizings, she returned to her education roots, serving at a community college as a writing coach to support students with Asperger’s syndrome and learning disabilities.
Cat spins tales of everyday life, with a twist of magic or twinge of mystery, that open young minds to new ways of looking at the world. She also co-administers the 3.1K-member Kid Literature Facebook community, a global group of authors and readers devoted to child literacy.
Cat and her family live in North Carolina where she designs pocket gardens, dabbles in all things digital, and writes.
What book are you reading right now?