Coffee & Conversation with Esther Hershenhorn!

Happy Friday, everyone!

Today we have an awesome, pre-conference interview with the lovely Esther Hershenhorn, who will be leading our March 31st “Rx for Children’s Book Creators:  Getting Your Stories Right” workshop!

And while Esther is getting settled in our cyber chair with her favorite coffeehouse beverage, a Skinny Caramel Latte, or a decaf/skim Misto with a shot of (fake) caramel if she doesn’t want the espresso is keeping her up . . . 

And her favorite snack, anything that combines dark chocolate, caramel and nuts (preferably cashews), and maybe even pretzels . . .

(This was as close as I could get with that snack! ;))

. . . let me send out another nag . . .er, reminder that the Critique and Portfolio Review Deadline is Wednesday, February 29, 2012! The thirty slots with HarperCollins Associate Editor Sarah Dotts Barley and Prospect Literary Agent Rachel Orr will be filled on a first come, first served basis, so get those submissions in now!

After you read this interview, of course. 🙂

Let’s begin! Esther, when did you decide to be a writer?

I decided when I was six that – someday – my name would be on the cover of a children’s book!

Nice! How long did your path to your first book sale take, and what were your biggest hurdles?

Suffice it to say, I am the Susan Lucci of Children’s Books and SCBWI’s Poster Child!

Hmm, I’m looking forward to hearing more on that at the workshop! Okay, what is your favorite writing how-to book, techniques, and websites that have helped you improve your craft or provide inspiration?

I recommend Cynthia Leitich Smith’s CYNSATIONS (, PW’s Children’s Bookshelf (every Thursday for free), Lee Wind’s SCBWI Marketing Blog and my very own TeachingAuthors to anyone and everyone who writes (or wants to write) for Children.

All great sites! And thanks for the free Thursday tip. 🙂

If you followed the career path you chose for yourself in high school, what would you be doing for a living now? 

Actually, I’m doing just what I’d hoped/planned/wished to do several lifetimes ago  – i.e. teaching and writing.  What I didn’t know then was that I’d eventually swap adult students for fifth-graders and Writing for Children with newspapers and magazines.

Okay, you’ve been locked in a bank vault with that guy from The Twilight Zone, so you finally have time to read!  What’s the first book you crack open?  (And don’t worry—no one stepped on your glasses.)

Sorry, but I MAKE time to read – just about – each and every day because that’s how I keep writing.  In daylight hours, I read children’s books; just before bedtime, I read my adult fare.

Ironically, the book that awaits me –  John Green’s The Fault in Our Stars – satisfies both time slots.

What book would you have loved to have authored?


The collection of 13 rhymed stories is intended to be read by two voices, with occasional parts to share.  The text is coded in double columns by color for the beginning reader.  Each story ends with a twist on the line, “You read to me, I’ll read to you.

I do indeed covet Hoberman’s talents to tell a tale in flawless rhyme.  But this particular book’s premise, inspired by Hoberman’s work with Literacy Volunteers of America, trumps all I’ve read in all it affirms and celebrates.  “Go forth and read, joyously, with each other!” it proclaims.

The book embodies everything I believe in:  reading, stories, friendship, joy.

Time for the lightning round—no more than four words per answer!

Do you . . .

Outline or wing it?  Wing it, THEN outline.

Talk about works-in-progress, or keep it zipped?  A little of both.

Sell by proposal or completed draft? A little of both.

Prefer writing rough drafts or editing? A little of both!

Dread marketing/blogging or love it? I HEART promoting/marketing.

Read Kindle or traditional books?  Traditional-children’s; Kindle-adults.

And finally, what’s your favorite:

Time to work?  Morning, first thing, still in my pj’s, with my first cup o’Maxwell House beside me.

Music to listen to while writing?  Anything that SOUNDS like the book I am writing.

Writing tool?  A pen.

Pair of shoes?  My Barney’s black ankle-strap flats.

Guiltiest pleasure?  Lying in the sun, or anywhere, really, reading a delicious book.

Line from a movie?  Hmmm….one isn’t coming to mind.

Awesome, thanks so much, Esther, for stopping by at letting us get to know you better before the workshop! I’m looking forward to meeting you and learning a ton. 🙂

Happy writing or drawing, everyone!


About Laura Bowers

Laura is a writer, runner, reader, runDisney addict, blogger/vlogger at Write, Run, Rejoice and Joyful Miles, mom of two college boys, excellent chili maker, and obsessive list keeper. She clearly likes run-on sentences and adverbs. She also still thinks Spice World was an awesome movie and feels no shame about that.
This entry was posted in Conference Information, Interviews: Authors. Bookmark the permalink.

3 Responses to Coffee & Conversation with Esther Hershenhorn!

  1. Ron Smith says:

    Thanks for the great interview. I had the good fortune to meet Esther once at an SCBWI event in Illinois called Prairie Writer’s Day.

    She’s a cool woman!

  2. ediehemingway says:

    I just saw Esther at the SCBWI conference in NYC and can’t wait to have her here in Maryland for our March 31st workshop! We have a real treat in store for us.

  3. Pingback: March Conference Report « As the Eraser Burns

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