Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Meet Judy Cox

I became friends with award-winning author Judy Cox when I took a class she was teaching about Writing for Children. I was a newbie kid lit writer at the time, and Judy already had quite a few books published. We both lived in the same small town in Oregon, and discovered common interests in hiking, music, animals, and birdwatching. But then we both moved away - wah! I moved a couple hundred miles in one direction, and she in another. But we have kept in touch, and I value her friendship and advice. I've also been in awe of her continued success in her field.

Judy is currently the author of ten picture books, seven chapter books, and two middle grade novels, as well as approximately thirty short stories published in children's magazines such as Highlights and Cricket. Her books DON'T BE SILLY, MRS. MILLIE and PICK A PUMPKIN, MRS. MILLIE have both been named to Time magazine's list of top ten children's books. For a complete list of Judy's books and awards, please visit her website:

Judy, how did you get your start as a children's writer?

I got my start by making up stories to entertain my younger brothers and sisters. I started submitting stories and poems to magazines when I was in my teens, but I didn't get widely published until I was an adult.

Where do you find your inspiration for your books?

Inspiration is everywhere. It's really a matter of training yourself to recognize ideas, and to write them down before you forget them! Then it takes discipline to organize the ideas into a cohesive plot. For me, that's the challenge. I have plenty of great ideas that go nowhere.

Judy, besides writing humorous chapter books, you are a very talented picture book writer. Can you share any hints on how to develop and write a successful picture book?
The main thing to keep in mind is that picture book texts are like poetry - but I don't mean that they have to rhyme. Like poetry, picture books tell a story in a very concise manner. They use imagery and playful language. And above all - they must be fun to read aloud!
Your newest picture book is called CINCO DE MOUSE-O! (Love that title, by the way) Is it a sequel to ONE IS A FEAST FOR A MOUSE, which won an Anne Izard Storyteller's Choice Award?
Not a sequel exactly, but it does feature the same characters. I've just signed a contract for another book about Mouse, tentatively titled HAUNTED MOUSE. It's a Halloween book.

You've written about mice before, haven't you, Judy? Can you explain your fascination with these little creatures?

My dad's nickname for me is "Mouse" because I was tiny as an infant, so I identify with mice.

Of all the books you've written, do you have a favorite and why?

There's a special place in my heart for the two books in the Tails of Frederick and Ishbu series - the adventures of two rat brothers who escape from their cage in Miss Dove's fifth grade classroom in order to save the world. It was such fun writing the kind of middle grade fantasy adventure that I used to love as a child, books like MISS BIANCA by Margery Sharp.

Judy, I know you have some other creative talents also. Care to enlighten us?

I play bass guitar and sing. I play in a couple of different bands. Over the years, I've played many different styles of music - ranging from rock 'n roll to Celtic, from country to jazz. I also take Belly Dancing classes!

You are a talented lady, Judy! Any upcoming projects you can share with us?

I have a new picture book called CARMEN LEARNS ENGLISH coming out in the fall from Holiday House. It's illustrated by Angela Dominguez. I also have a new early chapter book in the works, and a new picture book about Mouse.

Thank you so much for stopping by Judy!
Book Giveaway!!

If you'd like to win a copy of Judy's newest picture book, CINCO DE MOUSE-O! you're in luck. We are giving away a copy with a new drawing. To enter, here's all you have to do:
Leave a comment on this post, or private email me at: linda (at) lindabenson (dot) net
For extra chances to win -
become a follower of this blog (also applies to current followers) +2
Repost about this contest and link to it. Let me know! +1
The contest will run until April 2, 2010. Book shipped to U.S. addresses only.
Good Luck, everyone, and look for Judy's adorable books in libraries and bookstores everywhere!


Anonymous said...

I LOVE the title!!

I am not following this blog. +2
I will retweet. +1 (@nkrell on Twitter.)

Linda Benson said...

Hi nkrell - In case you are rereading your comment, I did interpret you correctly and see that you are NOW following my blog. Welcome! and good luck!

Shelby Bach said...

What a fantastic interview, Linda!

This sounds like the perfect book for my two young cousins! (Also, I have been meaning to follow your blog for a while. :-D)

Anonymous said...

The title is soooooo cute! I can't wait to read it. Good luck. I will spread the word on my Facebook page and Twitter account.


Anonymous said...

Yes, thank you! I AM NOW FOLLOWING THIS BLOG. Can I delete my earlier comment?

Chantal said...

LOVE the interview. Thanks for sharing!

Janine said...

Thanks for the interview! Am following and will repost on twitter (if I can figure it out...) @janiclay.

Thanks for the contest!

Monica said...

Count me in! Judy, the book looks adorable--my preschool kiddos would LOVE this!! Cinco de Mayo is big here in Texas!

I just became a follower. +2