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The Picture Book Buzz

The Picture Book Buzz - Interview with Megan Woodward

As a child, Megan Woodward lived and traveled all over the world, but always felt at home with her head in a book. She also loved movies, especially old black and white talky ones (she was a strange child). Combining her love of the written word with her love of film, she got an MFA in screenwriting from UCLA, and has been working as a comedy screenwriter for over 10 years.

Author photo of Megan Woodward.

After becoming a mom, she rediscovered her long-lost love of children’s books and has since been pursuing a career in kid-lit. Megan loves all things funny, from puns to satire, from sarcasm to slapstick. Thus, all of her writing, whether for actual kids or grown-up kids, contains some element of humor.

Pfoto of Megan Woodward, dressed as a witch, casting a spell over a cauldron.

When she’s not busy writing or procrastinating from writing, she can be found cooking, dancing, laughing, singing, reading, or all five at once, which is a great way to either embarrass her kid or almost burn the house down. She lives in Portland, OR, where it rains entirely too much but never on her parade.


Megan’s debut picture book, This Book is Definitely Not Cursed, releases on June 25th.


Welcome Megan, thank you so much for stopping back by to talk about your newest book and writing.  

 

Tell us a little about yourself. (Where/when do you write? How long have you been writing? What is your favorite type of book to write?)

 

I don’t have a very regulated writing schedule. (Routine is not one of my strengths). I do most of it somewhere in the middle of the day between the hours of 10am-4pm— whenever I have time. But I also sometimes get up and write in the middle of the night because an idea is keeping me awake. I write while sitting on the couch. Yes, I know that seems very lazy, but I find that it’s more comfortable than working at a desk. However, it does sometimes make me sleepy. I have been writing since I took my first screenwriting class in undergrad, which was about 22 years ago. (Makes me feel old just saying that.) I later got an MFA in screenwriting from UCLA and spent many years working on screenplays. I only started writing children’s books about 7 years ago.

 

It's nice to "meet" you Megan. What is one of the most fun or unusual places where you’ve written a manuscript?

 

I don’t know that I’ve written a manuscript in a weird place. I do a lot of my writing in my head though, so that often happens, in the shower, in the car, or in bed at night.

 

Ha! What was your inspiration or spark of interest for This Book is Definitely Not Cursed?

Book cover - fuzzy creature standing on a stool looking at the title Surrounded by spiders, spooky eyes, and bats.

At the time, my son was really into The Book with No Pictures. He wanted me to read it over and over— (and I wanted to hide it.) Feeling a desperate need for something new in that category, I decided that I wanted to write something silly, meta, and interactive. But I didn’t know what to write about…. Then my son and I were discussing curses (he’s also into scary spooky stuff), and something just clicked in my head. A lightbulb went on. (Or whatever you want to call it). I was like: Yes! A book that’s cursed and makes you do funny things to reverse the curse!

 

So, is your son claiming part ownership[? How long did it take from the first draft to publication for This Book is Definitely Not Cursed?

  

I think I wrote the first draft somewhere around February or March of 2021. It then went to acquisitions at Simon and Schuster in September 2021— which was fast. But after that came the slow part. So in total, it’s been a little over 3 years.

 

That's not too bad. What's something you want your readers to know about This Book is Definitely Not Cursed?

 

It’s definitely NOT cursed. I promise!

 

Also, I’d love to share that I’ve written two more books to follow this one. This Book is Definitely Not an Advertisement and This Book is Definitely Confidential. They haven’t been acquired yet. So cross your fingers they will!

  

Good luck. Did anything surprise or amaze you when you first got to see Risa Rodil’s illustrations? What is your favorite spread?

Internal image - on the left, narrator with a longswirl of hair growing out its nose. On the right, the narrator wrapped in the nose hair, raising its forefinger into the air.

Text © Megan Woodward, 2024. Image © Risa Rodil, 2024.


I was so amazed by her different character sketches for the narrator. And also surprised that I was asked for my input! My favorite spread is the one with the nose hair reveal. I love the surprise on the narrator’s face.

 

 That would be a really bad curse! What was the hardest, or most challenging, part of writing This Book is Definitely Not Cursed?

 

For me, editing is always the hardest. I have trouble deciding what to cut. Or “killing my darlings.” Fortunately, I had help from my awesome editor!

 

Are there any new projects you are working on now that you can share a tidbit with us?

 

I always have so many I’m working on. I have a chapter book series called Tombmates out on submission, which is about a skeleton and a mummy who are opposites but have to learn to live together. I recently wrote a picture book manuscript called Shower Of Doom which is, of course, about a haunted shower, and I’m about halfway through my first middle grade novel titled, Super Stinky Feet Girl, which is about a girl whose superpower is her extremely stinky feet.

  

Interesting. We'll have to keep our eyes open for these books. Last question, what is your favorite National Park or Forest, regional park, or city park? Or the one you’re longing to visit. Why??

Photo of Crater Lake © NPS Photo/Kim Chamales

© NPS Photo/Kim Chamales


Oh gosh. I want to visit them all! I haven’t been to Yellowstone yet but am going to try to make it there this year or next. Here are some of my favorites that I HAVE visited: Crater Lake, Yosemite, Grand Canyon, and The Redwoods.

 

Thank you Megan for stopping by to share with us your newest picture book.

Book cover - fuzzy creature standing on a stool looking at the title Surrounded by spiders, spooky eyes, and bats.

Be sure to back on Friday for the Perfect Picture Book #PPBF post on This Book is Definitely Not Cursed.


To find out more about Megan Woodward, or to contact her:


If you're in the area, check out thess book events:

Green Bean Books

1600 NE Alberta St,

Portland, OR, 97211



Books Inc. Laurel Village

July 8, 5 pm

3515 California Street

San Francisco, CA 94118

Free - through EventBrite



The King's English Bookshop

July 26, 11:00 AM - 11:59 PM

1511 South 1500 East,

Salt Lake City, UT 84105

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Maria Marshall

 Photograph © A. Marshall

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