Interview with Jalen's Big City Life Writer & Traditionally Published
Dorothy H. Price
Hello Readers, Writers, and Bookish Friends,
I reached out to Dorothy for an interview as we recently became Instagram friends, and then I noticed we are also part of SCBWI Carolinas. I'm new to North Carolina and am hoping to make new writer friends here. She said YES! I'm so excited to introduce her and her children's books to you.
And here we go...
Your older sister gave you a writing journal one year for your birthday. What does it look like?
My sister did give me my first journal for my 11th birthday, and I still have it. It’s blue with gray artwork on the front.
Has your sister or any other family member become a character in your books?
Not my sister, but my mother and my daughter were the inspiration behind my first picture book, Nana’s Favorite Things. They both loved that book! My dad and my nieces were the inspiration behind two other picture books that haven’t been published.
Picture Books are one of the toughest books to write. How do you do it? What’s your secret to getting it right?
Picture books are extremely hard to write. I started writing picture books at the end of 2008, and I’m still learning new tips and tricks almost 15 years later. The good thing is, I am a waaay better picture book writer than when I first started.
And that’s only because I didn’t quit. I kept learning.
Diversity in books is a hot topic. Do you think the writing industry is doing enough to get these books out there? How can the writing community help?
The publishing industry is doing something. Is it enough? No.
While I’m happy the needle is moving, we’re nowhere close to an equitable publishing industry for diverse
and/or marginalized writers.
In order to truly get there, we need the writing community who doesn’t identify as “diverse” or “marginalized” to speak up and out when blatant and subtle injustices occur.
That’s how the writing community can truly help.
You have a chapter book series out. What’s the funniest thing that happened to you while trying to get this series published?
One of the funniest things that happened after the book was published, was my author copies going to the wrong address. The person who received them messaged me from my website and Instagram. I ended up having tons of connections with the entire family, including someone who is also a children’s author!
Who is your muse?
I honestly don’t have one person, place, or thing. But a good night’s sleep and my dreams give me tons of creative ideas.
Is there a special mentor or teacher in your past who helped you become the writer you are today?
Definitely, my SCBWI Carolinas critique group partners over the years have helped me become the writer I am today.
If I gave you a megaphone and the whole world would listen…What one sentence would you shout?
Anything is possible, as long as you believe!
What would you tell your younger self-writer? What would make the writing process easier if you knew it back then?
I would tell my beginner KidLit writer self that all of the things you’re writing as goals in your journal will happen. Some goals will take longer than others, but they will happen.
How do you stay grounded in a crazy world when you are trying to write for children?
Two words. My children. I have two of them, and they always keep me very grounded.
Why do you write for kids?
I honestly discovered the answer to this not that long ago, but I really loved books with illustrations as a kid. I loved flipping each page to see the different pictures. But I’d forgotten about that until I started writing adult fiction in my 20s. It was not working at all. Something clicked one day as I started writing a children’s story, and that was that!
What is your advice to someone querying their books?
Don’t quit. Don’t quit. Don’t quit.
And then back to that megaphone shout-out: Anything is possible, as long as you believe!
Where will fans get to meet you next?
What is the YAP program, and what is your involvement in it?
The YAP is a youth writing program I started in 2011 and stands for Young Authors Program. It was initially for elementary school students. I hope to start it up again soon, with middle and high school students this time.
What is the cutest thing a kid has said to you about your books?
At my first book reading last month, a little boy said that Jalen looked like him, and he was very clear that that was a good thing!
If you could be a superhero - even one you make up - what would you be? What would you wear? And who would you save?
I don’t know if this qualifies as a true “superhero” or not, but I would definitely be The Incredible Hulk. I would wear green since the Hulk turns green and save anyone who’s in need of help.
What time do you get up, and what do you eat for breakfast?
I wake at 5:25 a.m. M-F so I can write before everyone is up.
I try to sleep until 8 on weekends. I typically don’t eat breakfast M-F. I usually drink hot tea to get the day started.
What’s up next?
I am busy working on the next four books in the Jalen’s Big City Life series.
I am also working on another picture book that’s yet to be announced, and trying to finish my middle-grade novel that keeps getting pushed due to other projects.
WOW, Dorothy --- you are on a roll.
What a great interview. Thanks for sharing your writer's ways and the path you are on to keep being published and putting your creative self out into the world.
To connect with Dorothy and learn more about her new books, go here:
If you are interested in SCBWI, click here:
If you would like to be interviewed, please email me - you will find my email on the right side of this blog.
You can Write! You are supported. We writers stick together.