Thursday, November 29, 2007

Lori Z. Scott...Kids Who Grew Up to Write for Kids

A Kid Who Grew Up to Write for Kids: Lori Z. Scott

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Happy Birthday, Lori! (Way back when) 

Lori Scott achieved two of her childhood ambitions--to be a teacher and a writer.  Her illustrator for her book, a guy named Stacy Curtis, at least got Lori's  Meghan Rose into the form of a cartoon character, so the characters she wrote about are in cartoon-form (she wanted to be a cartoonist, too.)

The first book was released in July of 2007 from Standard Publishing (ages 4-8) with several more coming out this next year. While Lori now has books for the children, she also has written tons of devotionals for moms and writes articles, too.

Lori's books are delightful and she has sent TWO copies of Meghan Rose on Stage! for a drawing. I will select two winners (from the U.S. only) from comments left here. Be sure to include in your comment what Lori's favorite indulgences are. Some early reader will love this book.

Let's find out about Lori as a child:

 

Childhood Ambition:

Growing up, I wanted to be a teacher (classroom or music), an artist (specifically a cartoonist), or maybe a writer.

Fondest Memory:

I have so many fond memories, but I’ll narrow it down!

First, I remember laughter. After dinner, our family used to sit around the table telling jokes. My dad’s a hoot, so we had a grand time! My sisters and I also put on performances (music or skits) peppered with a large dose of humor. (Part of our living room was upraised, and it served as our stage.)

Second, I remember playing. I played Scrabble for hours with my grandparents, card games with relatives, volleyball with my dad, and space monsters on the monkey bars with my friends.

Finally, I remember love. My parents always supported and encouraged me to follow my interests and dreams AND they always made me feel unique and wonderful. As one singer put it, love was in our house, and our house was full.

Proudest Moment:

As an adult, my proudest moment was giving birth to my children. As a child, my proudest moment would have to be…hmmm…being born. No, honestly, I have had so many blessings in my life, it would take too long to list them all.

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Lori as the Bride

Biggest Challenge as a Child or Teen:

You’ll probably find this hard to believe, but I don’t view challenges in a negative light. For me, most challenges came in the form of music or sports competition, and those, of course, I embraced with fierce determination. Whenever I stepped on the court or picked up my instrument, I did so with the conviction that I was the best player in the room…whether or not I actually was! LOL. Even the intense training helped me become a highly disciplined person.

I suppose I faced my biggest challenge when I was almost out of the teen years. I was diagnosed with juvenile diabetes. But, as I said, even the challenge of living with a chronic disease proved to be a blessing. I faced the disease with the same fierce determination and discipline I developed growing up. Because of that, diabetes helped me develop compassion, understanding, and a healthy dose of humility.

My First Job:

In college, I worked in the college post office. My first out of college job was as an elementary teacher.

Childhood Indulgence:

I LOVED ice cream and reading comic books.

Favorite Outfit as a Child:

In Kindergarten I owned a pair of bell-bottomed Raggedy Ann jeans. I loved them because they could stand up on their own, which reminded me of the Dr. Seuss story, “What Was I Scared Of?” about a pair of scary, pale blue pants with nobody inside them.

Favorite Childhood Movie:

The Aristocats. I still remember watching it in the movie theater.

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Yep, I caught that fish all by myself!

Favorite Childhood Book:

Where the Wild Things Are by Maurice Sendak

Favorite Chapter Books of Childhood:

Nancy Drew mysteries (my dad used to deliver newspapers to the author when he was a kid—just thought I’d throw that tidbit in there…) and, later on, The Hobbit

Favorite Childhood Teacher Who Inspired You:

Besides my mom and dad, who were both teachers? Probably Mr. Debes. He was my band director, and he rocked. His passion motivated him to work hard…and inspired his students to follow suit.

Favorite Childhood Activity:

Drawing. Though I never took formal art lessons, I devoured those “How to Draw” books. I still love to doodle. In fact, I can draw with both hands at the same time! (It’s a cool trick kids love.)

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These are my babies now, but when I grow up they will be real!

Childhood Hero:

Batman (I loved that show! POW! CRASH!) My real life heroes would be my parents, and I always held a special fondness for my Grandma Wright.

Any other Childhood Tidbits:

  • I grew up with three sisters. Our television only got two channels—maybe three on a good day—so we spent a lot of time playing together. They are still my favorite people, and I used the names of their children for characters in the Meghan Rose books.
  • My mom said I had an imaginary dog that sat on top of the refrigerator, although I don’t remember it. However, my own daughter has a roomful of imaginary friends, so it’s possible! My character Meghan Rose carries that same strong imagination with her.
  • In second grade, I colored the entire surface of my desk at school. My teacher didn’t appreciate my stunning artwork and made me clean all the desks in the room. That’s just the type of thing my character Meghan Rose might do…and the exact thing Mrs. Arnold (Meghan Rose’s teacher) would do.
  • In high school, I wrote “The Adventures of Super Cat” cartoon up and down the margins of my science notebook. Super Cat still inspires me…he turned up in my winning MOPS entry, in my first children’s short story publication, and in the Meghan Rose series. Maybe someday my illustrator, Stacy Curtis, will make Super Cat (and the villainous Poultry Gang) into a comic book series! Wouldn’t that be something?
  • As a kid, I was always making up lame jokes. In the Meghan Rose series, my character Ryan reflects that joking side of me. I also make up the jokes on my web site and explain to kids how they can make up their own jokes.
  • I love fun words! My dad used to recite “Jabberwocky” to us, as well as other crazy songs and rhymes. You see some of that word play reflected in the jump rope chants Meghan Rose makes up.

How the books came to be:

I taught in the public schools for nine years, then retired so I could stay at home and raise my kids. It was during my time off of teaching that I came across an amateur science fiction/fantasy writing contest. I decided to enter.

It’s hard to describe how creating that first story felt. I suppose it mirrored how Alice felt in Wonderland after chasing the rabbit into a hole and falling into an enchanted world. It’s amazing to me that simple words, woven together in just the right way, can capture and hold a certain kind of magic.
At any rate, my story won second place. Encouraged by my success, I entered a MOPS International story writing contest…and WON! After that, I joined a writer’s group, started learning more about the publishing industry, and eventually landed a contract from Standard Publishing for my new children’s fiction series.

The Meghan Rose series is especially unique because I didn’t write the books with publication in mind. I wrote the books because my daughter asked me to write them. (When she was in first grade, we wanted an entertaining chapter book and a main character she could relate to. I also wanted God to figure into the equation. When I couldn’t find a book like that, my daughter told me to write it myself. So I did!)

Later, through various conversations with bookstore owners, other mothers, and editors, I found out there were a lot of mothers like me out there looking for a book like Meghan Rose on Stage. I took the next logical step and pitched the book series to editors at a writer’s conference.

And now the first two titles in that series—MEGHAN ROSE ON STAGE and MEGHAN ROSE HAS ANTS IN HER PANTS—are on the bookshelves. Two more are on the way later this year! The books are funny (I figure, if it doesn’t amuse me, why write it?) and bursting with energy. The main character, Meghan Rose, is a strong, out-spoken first grader. Her bubble-gum blowing, best buddy Ryan and silly, duck-loving pal Kayla help round out the cast.

So far, I’ve found that even though the stories are chapter books, most kids read them in one sitting because they just can’t stop!

 

Article by Lori Z. Scott online:

Shape Up Your Career: Nine Success Qualities

Other books and things about Lori:

Lori Z. Scott, author of Busy Moms’ Devotions To Go, has contributed to over a dozen books, including Real Moms and 2007 Eppie Award winning science fiction book, Infinite Space, Infinite God. A freelance writer and former first grade teacher, Lori has also published thirty-plus devotions, short stories, poems, articles, and puzzles for children, teens, and adults.

 

 

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Lori talking to a group of kids

 

Lori Z. Scott's Books:

Meghan Rose Has Ants in Her Pants 

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Meghan Rose on Stage! 

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  • Details of Meghan Rose on Stage!
  • Reading level: Ages 4-8
  • Paperback: 79 pages
  • Publisher: Standard Publishing Company (July 2, 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0784721033
  • ISBN-13: 978-0784721032
  • To win a copy (one of two) of Meghan Rose on Stage! leave a comment telling us what Lori's favorite indulgences as a child were (and name one of yours!) Check back here on Saturday for the winners.

    8 comments:

    Wendy said...

    Another great interview, Crystal!

    Lori reports that her childhood indulgences were ice cream and comic books (go, archie) but I love that she indulged her creative side with drawing.

    Karen said...

    What an inspiring interview! Diabetes as a challenge to be a better athlete? Wow! Pursuing writing and patiently finding her way to success! A reminder to all of us of the importance encouragement and love is to a child! May God's best find its way to her!

    Karina Fabian said...

    Wonderful interview, Lori!

    My sister has diabetes, too, and now she's the healthiest of our family. (She's a personal trainer.)

    I love the covers on the Meghan Rose books--such fun! I'm so happy to see your dreams coming true!

    Lori writes some wonderful adult-level stuff, too. Her story, "The Harvest" is one often praised in our anthology Infinite Space, Infinite God. (www.isigsf.com).

    Anonymous said...

    I loved watching you and your sisters grow and spread your wings. I have really enjoyed your published devotional and now will look for your Meghan books for my grandkids. Three are just at the right age! Thanks for writing. will be a nice Christmas gift.

    Pam Halter said...

    I have "Meghan Rose on Stage" and it's wonderful! Looking forward to "Ants in Her Pants."

    What a fun interview!

    Anonymous said...

    Ice cream and comic books. I agree with the ice cream because that's my indulgence!
    mopsmomof4[at]verizonDOTnet

    Doug Baker said...

    Lori,

    The way you describe your family is just as I remember you all. Picnics in your backyard are among my fondest childhood memories! And the eggnog at Christmas!

    I have the two books on order for my six year old's Christmas. I can't wait to hear her read them to me!

    Ann said...

    This is a good angle -- looking into a writer's childhood. Working with Lori for a season of Team Kids (Wednesday nights at church), I saw a creative teacher in action, and one with a grand love for children. I can vouch for her two-handed art ability also. She also encouraged me to write more and better. ~ Ann