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The Picture Book Buzz

The Picture Book Buzz - Interview with Lynn Becker 2024

Lynn has been a reader and creator all her life. These days, you can find her writing picture books and children’s book reviews, hiking, gardening, and doing yoga.

Author photo of Lynn Becker on a hike.

After growing up in New York, Lynn spent many years in the Southern California desert with her husband, children, cats, dog, and lots and lots of chickens. She now lives in Colorado. The chickens stayed behind, but a few mythical beasties may have followed her to her new home…!


For additional information about Lynn, see our earlier interview (here) and visit her website at lynnbeckerbooks.com.

Book cover - Pirate ship with the arms of a kraken reaching up through the ocean below it.

Lynn's debut picture book, Monsters in the Briny, illustrated by Scott Brundage (Sleeping Bear Press), was named a Bank Street College Best Children’s Book of 2022.

   

Her newest board book, June Moon, releases  May 28th.

 

Welcome back Lynn,

 

Thanks so much for having me back on your wonderful blog, Maria!!

 

What is one of the most fun or unusual places where you’ve written a manuscript?

 

I do a lot of writing while walking, which is especially conducive to figuring out rhythm and rhyme. I also write on long car trips, on airplanes, or anywhere I happen to be, if an idea strikes.

 

But, truly, most of my writing is done on my laptop. When my kids were small in California, during their school day I wrote on an old desktop computer in a corner of my bedroom; once I got a laptop, I wrote in the (much sunnier) living room. I eventually inherited an office/studio space, which I loved, and now that I live in Colorado, my desk is in front of a window overlooking my back yard. There are usually two cats curled up nearby.

 

Sounds like the perfect place to write! What was your inspiration for June Moon?

Book cover - young child on a balcony looking at a large full moon.

I’ve always wanted to write a picture book about the moon, a fictional piece where the moon is a character.

 

Nine long years ago, my neighbors and I were dog-sitting for another neighbor, and I pulled the before-bed shift. Standing in the dark while Daisy sniffed and ran around, it was nice to also have the moon for company, and I watched in fascination as the clouds “played” with it.

 

One night, the story structure popped into my head, and it conjured all kinds of images and rhymes. I quickly added a child mirroring the fun activities of the moon and clouds, and I felt like I had the beginnings of a story.

 

What a great way for a story idea to start. How many drafts, or revisions, did June Moon take from idea spark to publication? How different was this from writing Monsters in the Briny?

 

Monsters in the Briny came to life pretty quickly (at least for me). The format was a sea shanty, so I wrote about a kraken. After a relatively few rounds with my amazing critique group, I brought it to a retreat where I was advised to include more sea monsters. This was followed by the inclusion of back matter suggested by my then-agent, and the manuscript was ready to go on submission. The whole process, from idea to acquisition, took about a year! [Wow!]

 

June Moon, on the other hand, went through a lot of iterations. The original drafts were much less grounded than the finished manuscript, with every possible “moon” rhyme coming into play. There was a baboon and a bassoon, and obviously a balloon, but while there was plenty of rhyme, there was no reason to the story. After a spot-on critique with an editor, I ended up toning down the random silliness and giving the story the gentle arc of a magical evening at the seashore followed by a soothing bedtime ritual that emphasized the sweet connection between moon and child.

 

Glad you overcame the dreaded "rhyme, but no reason" curse. What was the toughest aspect of writing June Moon? What was the most fun?

 

The toughest part was finding the story arc, one that made sense but kept the wonder and imaginative play that was in my early drafts.

 

The most fun was imagining the moon and clouds playing with the child and finding ways to make these possibilities rhyme!

 

Playful and rhyming! Boy, did you ever take on a big task. Did anything surprise or amaze you when you first got to see Nate Carvalho’s illustrations? What is your favorite spread?

 

Honestly, the entire book continues to surprise and amaze me every time I look at it. Nate not only captured the playful dynamic between the two characters, but she also emphasized and elevated the whimsy, used incredibly beautiful colors, and somehow kept the whole thing relatable for young readers.

Internal spread -  on left, a moon with music notes and a cloud shaped teddy floating in front on it. On the right, a child starting to snuggle into bed with his teddy.

Text © Lynn Becker, 2024. Image © Nate Carvalho, 2024.


It’s hard to pick a favorite because I love them all. The beach scenes, the joy of the bath scene, the sweet cuddle moment near the end. Whew, tough question! All of the above, please!

 

You mentioned whimsy and I had been immediately struck by the moon's cloud teddy. What's something you want your readers to know about or gain from June Moon? 

 

June Moon is a rhyming bedtime book, with a lilting rhythm that will hopefully lull young readers to sleep with their heads full of wonder.

 

I mostly read for escape, and a lot of what I write is to give kids a glimpse of the magic that lies just beyond what’s real. June Moon is about the power of imagination, and the way that there’s potential everywhere for fantasy play. The night sky is extremely awe-inspiring, but there’s always room for more magic!

 

 I LOVE that! I read for escape, too. Are there any projects you are working on now that you can share a tidbit with us?

 

Thanks for asking! I have an as-yet unannounced picture book coming out in Fall 2026 with Sleeping Bear, something of a companion to Monsters in the Briny, meaning there will be a song and some magical beings, along with a bit of perfect-for-fall creepiness.

 

Also, like most picture book writers, I have plenty of manuscripts in various stages of “done-ness!”

 

Ooh, enticing. I can't wait for the announcement. Congrats. Last question, what is the best advice you’ve ever gotten - whether it’s regarding writing/ illustrating or not?

 

I think that after taking plenty of classes on craft, going to workshops, and showing up with my peers in critique groups, the most important thing for me on my writing journey was understanding that I had to find—and learn to trust—my own voice as a writer. Of course, this meant writing all kinds of things that were not in my voice, but it was worth the time and effort.

 

And there’s always the wise old adage: “don’t give up and you will be published.” While it may take longer than you ever thought possible (as it did for me) or whether you find your voice more quickly than most, I have to believe this is true.

 

P.S.

Photo of Tongariro National Park, Alpine Crossing in New Zealand.  © 2024 Earth Trekkers

© 2024 Earth Trekkers.


Maria, I have an update on your question from last time, which was to name my favorite National Park—I still love Joshua Tree but was recently blown away by the amazing Yellowstone National Park in Wyoming. And I, also recently, visited Tongariro National Park in New Zealand (where I made the Alpine Crossing) which makes choosing even more difficult!

  

That area is so stunning! Wow. It makes me want to visit New Lealand even more. Thank you, Lynn, for stopping by to share about yourself and your newest board book.

Book cover - young child on a balcony looking at a large full moon.

Be sure to come back on Friday for the Perfect Picture Book #PPBF post on June Moon.


To find out more about Lynn Becker, or contact her:


If you're in the Colorado area, check out Lynn's upcoming events:


  • Saturday, June 1, at the Boulder Barnes & Noble, 2999 Pearl Street, Boulder, CO 11am-3pm.

Logo for the Lyons Lit Fest - stack of five books in a circle.
  • Saturday June 8, at the Lyons Lit Fair Author Fest, at the Lyons Community Library, 451 4th Ave, Lyons, CO, 11am to noon.

Second Star to the Right Bookstore Logo - Name and an open book with stars coming out of it.
  • A Storytime Takeover, for June Moon - Tuesday, June 18, 10am at Second Star to the Right, 1455 Pearl Street, Denver, CO (with help from Carolyn Combs).

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Maria Marshall

 Photograph © A. Marshall

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