Today, straight from the Halloween Pumpkin Patch, we welcome Jennifer Cole Judd and one of her little pumpkin pickers. Being born on Halloween, Jennifer has an innate sense of which will make the best “Jack O’ Lantern.”
#1. What is your “favorite” spooky poem from the collection?
SOO hard to pick a favorite! I was recently asked this question and hadn’t had a chance to really give it thought, so the first two poems that popped in my head that I was particularly fond of were “The Highland Train” by Laura Wynkoop and “Haunted” by William Shakespeery. But I also adore “Rise and Shine,” “The Corner,” “Beneath the Stairs,” “The Swamp Witch,” and “A Monster in My Bathroom”…I could go on and on. It is really hard to decide on a favorite. Interestingly, my kids all have their favorites, and they are all different! It’s fun to see how the poems in this book appeal to different readers.
#2. Where did your inspiration come from for your particular poems?
A few, like “Voices,” “Spooky Jack,” and “Coming Home After Trick-or-Treating” are from my own experiences as a kid (I’d rather not comment on what happened to my jack-o-lantern…let’s just say I’ve gotten pretty good at making pumpkin pie ). Frankenstein asked me to write “My Date with Mummy.” And I could tell you what inspired “The Goblin Parade,” but it may be wiser not to—I want your readers to sleep peacefully at night!
#3. How does feedback from the other poets affect your final decision?
Feedback from our critique group is invaluable—almost every poem in Eyeball was read and critiqued by my fellow poets. They catch bumps in the rhythm, point out places where images could be stronger or meaning could be clearer. There are times I might decide to keep my original wording, rather than make revisions suggested from critiques, but most often their feedback inspires me to make changes. And when several of them are noticing the same things in a poem, I know exactly where to go back and revise. I’m a better writer because of them!
#4. How long have you been a rhymer?
You know, I still have a scrap of paper of a poem I wrote when I was six, in rhyme. You may find this hard to believe, but it was actually about Halloween. The last lines were “Ghosts and witches/And Halloween itches/And goblins short and stout—/That’s what Halloween is all about!” Hmm, wondering if I should have submitted that one to Eyeball? J
#5. Do you write varied forms of poetry for children?
I try—I enjoy learning about new forms, and I’ve tried my hand at several of them, like haiku and cinquain. I definitely gravitate toward the defined, more common metrical patterns, such as those in quatrains and couplets. But, to be honest, I mostly just end up writing what I hear in my head, and I often don’t intentionally ascribe to a pre-set form.
#6. How are you personally promoting your group’s debut book?
This week, I’m excited to be able to speak to the 3rd graders at a local elementary school on poetry and this new collection, and I have a few other events coming down the pipeline for October that will be in my local area (see below). Online, Laura Wynkoop and I started a Facebook fan page for An Eyeball in My Garden, and that’s been a really useful tool for posting updates and links to reviews, as well as highlighting some of the fun poems in the book. Our wonderful illustrator, Johan Olander, has even posted some artwork that didn’t make the book, but is wonderfully creepy!
A new project that I and other writers of Eyeball have been working on is an Eyeball blog, which will have loads of fun stuff, including Eyeball announcements, giveaways, and other spooky activities. Readers and lovers of spooky things will definitely want to check that out—it’s set to launch soon, and we will announce the launch on our fan page on Facebook, our personal websites, etc., so stay tuned!
Also, Laura and I have been fortunate to have opportunities to represent the Eyeball group in interviews about the book on blogs, websites, and children’s publications. Links and announcements about those interviews will be posted on our fan page and our blog, as well as all Eyeball writers’ interviews, events, etc., as they are coming up.
#7. Do you plan to do any book signings? If so, where can fans find you?
Yes! There are a few events in the works. One for the calendar is a signing scheduled for October 30th at the local Barnes and Noble in Lewisville, Texas, in conjunction with another local elementary fall book fair. We are planning a booth with fun spooky activities and treats, and drawings for prizes, as well as readings from the book. SO excited about this! All y’all in the Dallas/Ft. Worth area in Texas, c’mon down—it should be a ton of spooky fun!
Next week, the purr-fectly splendid
Edna Cabcabin Moran will visit.