I'm very excited to share this interview with you all! Savannah is an amazing and talented author that writes children's literature and early childhood education.
What inspired you to be an author?
Great question! I wanted to write books that drew readers in, something that brought readers to love reading and make them want to read over anything else (TV, baseball games, etc).
How many stories have you written?
If I include non-published, about eighty-five. Keep in mind, the first story I wrote (and oddly enough sold) was not until I was twenty-four years old.
Is writing your full time profession? If not, what else do you do and how do you manage both jobs?
No, although I wish I could write full time. I’m a medical social worker forty hours a week. My job can be incredibly draining so it’s often hard for me to write after work. I get a lot of writing done on the weekends, just not a lot of rest. Managing both can be a challenge, but I’ve made it work all these years, fairly well.
What is your writing process?
I actually have to remind myself to only work on one story at a time. I tend to want to have too many projects going at once. Sometimes it works and sometimes it doesn’t. Recently I was preparing my sweet romance manuscript for querying when I got a revision request on a picture book. So, I worked on both of those at the same time, because it was a must. You can’t miss opportunities like that.
As far as the process, I really just allow the story to develop organically and do what I need to do to make it work. The only thing that is necessary in the writing process for me is stopping at least one hour before I have to sleep, otherwise my mind is still racing with ideas and I won’t be able to sleep.
Why is research so important for writing?
Research makes a story authentic! Plus, I love research, it gives depth to a story and helps me learn about whatever I’m researching to add to my knowledge bank. Because if I am discussing the story I’m able to go beyond the story with possible information I didn’t need or was not able to include in the story.
What is the craziest thing you've had to research?
The timeline for toilets, from the outhouse to inside the house.
How do you create the world you are writing in?
I love to use graph paper and map out house floor plans and city or town plans. I also create boards on Pinterest. I have Pinterest boards for four of my stories so far.
How do you pull us in with amazing characters?
The best way to create amazing characters is to make them real, make them friends that you might have or want to have, or maybe you want to avoid. Character development is essential even if (for example a picture book with 400 words) the reader does not get to see all of the character.
What authors inspire you to write?
First, Kat Yeh. Her books are amazing!!! I discovered her at the library when I was randomly picking books from the middle grade section to read. The title, The Truth About Twinkie Pie caught my eye, and I’m forever grateful it did. Second, would have to go to the writer community on Twitter. There are SO MANY amazing writers (pre-published and published) who I've connected with and started or developed a friendship with. @StarlaLeAnne is amazing and I can’t wait for the world to read her books. And, I MUST mention @writeralys (Alys Murray) as her and I have recently connected and she has been so kind to me! I’m EXCITED for her book The Christmas Company (Hallmark Publishing) to release on October 16th. These woman help lift me up and that helps me write, drives me to write. (When you have women in your corner who understand the writing business and all the highs and lows, plus offer to help you on so many different levels it's the ultimate best thing.)
What steps do you take in drafting an outline?
Yikes, most of the time I don’t outline. Shhhh, haha. I usually find I will outline if I have an idea without a path or/and if I’m halfway through the story and it feels stuck.
What are your top five tips for aspiring authors?
Read, write, chocolate, read, write.
What are you currently working on?
I’m working on a middle grade revision for a story I started when I first began writing in 2004. I have not touched it since 2012 and I’m more than ready to get it in shape for submissions. I’m also outlining (because I’m struggling with the idea, see I do outline) for my second sweet romance manuscript.
Can you share an excerpt from one of your novels/projects?
Hmm…..let’s look at my current middle grade manuscript.
“Inside the space rested a chubby wrapped package. It was filthy, covered with dust and tiny black spots. I hoped it was not spider poop.”
Is there anything else you would like to share with us before you go?
Thank you for allowing me to talk about writing! It’s something I enjoy and makes me who I am today.
Savannah Hendricks writes stories from children's literature to adult fiction. Her stories have been included in numerous magazines such as Highlights High Five, Fantasy Scroll Magazine, Front Vision (???), Stories for Children Magazine, and Backlog Magazine.
She has worked as a nanny, and with special needs preschoolers. For the last 5 years Savannah has been a medical social worker. She holds degrees in early childhood education and criminal justice/criminology. She has been a member of the SCBWI since 2006.