Saturday, November 28, 2020

DUDLEY'S DAY AT HOME by Karen Kaufman Orloff

"What does Dudley do all day while we're away?" a little boy named Sam wonders. Mom explains that Dudley does ordinary dog things: he eats, he naps, guards the house, and plays. But in Sam's  mind, Dudley's day at home  is anything but ordinary. Fun pictures by illustrator Renee Andriani depict Dudley cooking up pancakes, playing games with the cat next door, and an array of other silly things. Hmm...is this really what Dudley was doing all day?

I interviewed Karen Kaufman Orloff, author of  DUDLEY'S DAY AT HOME, and listed my top five questions.

1. What inspired this story?

Our dog, Bailey, most likely!  Bailey passed away a few years ago, but she was the most fun, loving pet. She always seemed more like a person to me than a dog. So, I often wondered what she did when we were out and she was hanging out by herself at home. Of course, I let my  imagination run wild!

2. What is the longest time you have worked on a story before you submitted it? The shortest time?

That’s a little hard to say, because I’ve written so many stories – both novels and picture books (many are still unpublished) that I think I’ve forgotten!  I will say that I never submit anything to an agent or publisher until I run it by my writer’s group and get their input. That’s invaluable. Then I tend to keep rewriting over and over until I love it. So to try to answer your question, the longest time could be a year or more, and the shortest time is probably more like a couple of weeks.

3. Did you study English in college? If so, do you find that helpful in your writing?

I did. I started out as a journalism
 major, but found  
I didn't  have the  temperament  to become an  ace 
reporter. So  I switched  to English at my college,
Hofstra University. I took several creative writing 
classes and   always  enjoyed  them. I even took a screen-writing class.                                                                     
I  also learned  a good deal about the publishing
business because, as it happened, Hofstra had a
brand  new publishing  studies  program  at  the  
time, which  became  my "concentration"  within the English Department. I had always loved writing, and studying publishing, editing, and creative writing in school made my dream of being a real writer one day more possible.

4. What is your best advice or suggestions for newbie authors doing school visits?

I love doing school visits because I love interacting with the kids. I personally enjoy smaller groups for that reason. So that’s one thing I would suggest to authors just starting out. Try to keep the groups small, if possible, so you can really talk to the kids, answer questions, ask them questions, etc.  

Also, have a general idea of what your presentation will consist of, but know that sometimes, depending on the group you’re talking to, it can morph into something else.  And finally, keep it light! Kids love humor, so try to be funny, personable, and interesting.  When you’re not sure what to say or if you still have time left in your presentation –wing it!  Have the kids ask questions. They always come up with great ones.

5. Do you have any parting writing advice?

Really, the best advice I can give is not to be critical of yourself
when you are writing a story. The first drafts (or second or third, etc.) are usually terrible, but it doesn't matter. Just get the story down and then go back and rewrite like crazy. 

Rewriting is so important because it will polish your story. The goal is to make it SEEM like it came right out of your head that way, but you'll know you worked on it like crazy many times. It's kind of like Fred Astaire, I guess. He made it look so easy, but you can imagine all the hours of practice it must have taken him to do a dance. 

Karen Kaufman Orloff is the author of many children's picture books, including the award-winning I WANNA series (I WANNA IGUANA, I WANNA NEW ROOM, I WANNA GO HOME). Some of her more recent books include SOME DAYS; GOODNIGHT, LITTLE BOT and MILES OF SMILES. DUDLEY'S DAY AT HOME is her 12th book. 

Karen lives in the Hudson Valley with her family and enjoys visiting schools and libraries. Her books are available at your local booksellers.
                                                                                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                                                                              


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