Larry Brooks, Eve Heidi Bine-Stock, Sharron L. McElmeel

My interview with Larry Brooks, author of Story Engineering, airs today at 1 PM and again Monday, Jan. 2nd at 8 AM.  Listen live at to hear Larry discuss the six core competencies fiction writers need and how screenwriting principles can help novelists structure their books.  After Jan. 2nd, this interview will be added to the KRUU archives.

Larry Brooks

Like Larry, author Eve Heidi Bine-Stock has applied screenwriting principles to a seemingly dissimilar genre.  Her book How to Write a Children’s Picture Book: Volume I Structure demonstrates how classic children’s picture books, like The Very Hungry Caterpillar, reflect screenwriting paradigms.  Eve includes detailed analyses of over two dozen classic picture books and even provides a graph of each book’s  structure.  The other books in this series are Volume II: Word, Sentence, Scene, Story and Volume III: Figures of Speech.  Each of these books is a great resource for picture book writers.

During her recent interview on KRUU, prolific author Sharron L. McElmeel provided great tips for people who want to nurture children’s love of reading and also for authors or educators who want to make the most of author school visits.  You can listen to Sharron’s interview here.  Her photo’s below.


Bruce Hopkins


When picture book author Jeanette Hopkins visited Fairfield recently to record a Writers Voices interview with me on KRUU, she brought along her husband, Bruce, and his book, When Foxes Wore Red Vests: Finding My Sense of Place. Instantly I was intrigued by this book’s cover; it’s a gray-and-red tinted collage of squirrel skin, wood beads, Bruce’s sketches of birds, and a photograph of his grandfather perched on a car’s running board while scrubbing its roof.

Inside the book Bruce explores his Catskill Mountains youth by interspersing his own thoughtful essays and poems among family photos and evocative pencil drawings made by his late brother Barry. The mix works well. Readers come away not only with an awed appreciation of Bruce’s sense of place but also with a desire to bask in place themselves.

Chatting with Bruce, I learned that both the cover of his book and its contents were drawn from detailed journals he’s kept through the years.  Click here to hear more about Bruce’s writing process and how he and Jeanette nurture children’s love of nature.

Jeanette Hopkins, Stormy Mochal, and Wendy Cavanaugh


Here’s Wendy Cavanaugh signing a copy of Pumpkin in the Sky, a colorful, fun picture/cookbook about baking pies.  Wendy wrote, illustrated, designed, and self-published this picture book to teach people that baking scrumptious pumpkin pies needn’t be a chore. Handle the dough, mix the pumpkin with your fingers, don’t bother chilling the butter–and you’ll still have a great pie, Wendy insists.

Wendy earned her B.A. from the University of Washington and completed graduate work there in Art History. While participating in Princeton University’s Teacher Education Program, she created a French café with fifth and sixth graders and helped them make crepes and éclairs.  She also teaches Transcendental Meditation.

Wendy’s one of three guests I’ll interview on Friday, November 18 at 1 PM on KRUU’s Writers Voices radio show.  The show will be rebroadcast Monday, November 21 at 8 AM and can be live streamed or downloaded (after the initial broadcast) from the archives of KRUU or from Writers Voices.

Jeanette Hopkins, who authored the picture book The Juggler (Ice Cube Press, 2011), will also be on the show.  So will that book’s illustrator, Stormy Mochal.  Stormy co-owns the Outside the Lines Art Gallery in Dubuque, and Jeanette is an educator and past member of the Iowa Writing Project’s Advisory Board.  The Juggler is an exuberant, rhymed picture book about a young French farmer who longs to juggle pot-bellied boars.  Jeanette’s whimsical text and Stormy’s exultant collage illustrations will enchant children while reinforcing counting skills.

Listen in to hear my conversation with these three delightful women!


Wendy Henrichs Signs Books

About 50 friends and young fans of picture book author Wendy Henrichs turned out tonight for her book signing in the At Home Store in Fairfield, Iowa.


Here’s Wendy with Britt Deerberg and Lori Dawson, her critique buddies.

I Am Tama, Lucky Cat and When Anju Loved Being an Elephant are the two new picture books Wendy read.  Both came out this year!  I reviewed these books for Writers Voices.


Wendy handed out cookies she’d made to extend the fun.


Elephants for Anju and Lucky Cats for Tama.


She shared preliminary illustration sketches, too.  Wendy’s “first real gig” was a smashing success!  Thanks, Rosie, for supporting writers in the At Home Store!


Here’s a photo of me with Rosie. You can hear my interview with Wendy on KRUU.