Stephanie J. Blake
I've always known that I'd be a writer.
Creative Writing came to me naturally when I was in junior high. I wrote a ton of poetry. Most of it was angst-filled and heart-wrenching about my first high school love. I never showed my writing to anyone.
I took a playwriting class my 2nd year of college, and got serious about submitting my poetry to magazines and literary journals. Had a few publications. I got my BA degree in English. My minor was Technical Writing. I come from a long line of teachers and educators.
My father said, "What on earth will you do with an English degree if you aren't going to teach?"
I got a job in telecom. For seven (boring) years, I wrote employee handbooks, policies & procedure manuals, training materials. I drafted proposals and benefits summaries.
It wasn't until I was a stay-home mom of three, in 2005, that I started writing stories for kids. I was inspired by something one of my babies said.
"Mama, if I were a baby kangaroo, I could ride around in your pocket all day."
I wrote a picture book about baby animals. It came very close to being accepted at a small publisher.
I started writing lots of (mostly bad) picture book manuscripts. I wrote a novel. Then, I wrote another one. And another. Finally, I sold THE MARBLE QUEEN.
"Hey Dad, that's what I'm doing with an English degree (and $30,000 in student loans)."
I just sold my first picture book. It's also inspired by my children who are obsessed with zombies.
MY ROTTEN FRIEND will be out next year with Albert Whitman.