Thursday, July 9, 2009

The Wait is Over!

I really got lucky when Nikki Shoemaker manned the table next to mine at a business fair. It was great to talk to her about creating kids’ books! (Me – writer. Nikki – illustrator.) When Nikki shared her experiences with What Wrong With Mud? I couldn’t wait to see the book. And now…drum roll please…I have! The book is finally out! And it is just as delightful as its illustrator. Kids will love this tale of pigs and ducks swapping placing and trying out each other’s lifestyles. Nikki’s charming illustrations bring the fun and funny story to life with plenty of action and personality. Now I’m waiting for Nikki’s next book! In the meantime, here’s an interview with Nikki, followed by some info about her virtual book tour and contest:

Q: Tell us about What’s Wrong with Mud?
A: What’s Wrong with Mud? written by Gillian Colley is my first published picture book. The story was judged and chosen along with 11 other stories to be entered into an online vote. To be honest, I am not sure how Rita Mills found out about me, but she contacted me and asked me to participate in illustrating one image to represent the story. The image and the story were posted online and subject to an online vote for two weeks. The story/image with the most votes was named the winner and would then go on to be completely illustrated and published. What’s Wrong with Mud? was the 2007 ABC Picture Book Competition winner.

Q: What were your favorite picture books when you were a kid?
A: Where the Wild Things Are, Pokey Little Puppy and The Elves and the Shoemaker (which was funny, because my married name ended up being Shoemaker!)

Q: What advice would you give other artists who are hoping to become illustrators?
A: Go to art school or take as many training courses from local colleges as you can. Learn to handle criticism because you cannot grow as an illustrator without it. NETWORK, NETWORK, NETWORK!

Q: What are you working on now?
A: I am currently working on three picture books now. Keep an eye for Lemur Troops & Critter Groups coming in fall of 2009 and it’s sequels Stork Musters & Critter Clusters and Pony Strings & Critter Things in the year 2010. I am also illustrating each month for Stories for Children Magazine, which is an online e-zine that has new issues each month. Go check it out at

Q: What do you do when you're not working on your art?
A: I spend most of my spare time with my pets and my husband. I have a day job as a graphic designer now, so after the 9 - 5 thing I come home spend some time with them and then head to the studio. I also try to fit in as much exercise as I can, bike riding, the gym, walking, etc.

Q: What's your greatest challenge as an artist/illustrator?
A: Right now, feeling comfortable about making the jump to being a full time freelancer. I am not yet confident in leaving the day job yet. It is a tough economy right now, and the decision has been the biggest challenge as of yet.

Thanks for stopping by the What’s Wrong with Mud? Virtual Book Tour.

Nikki is giving away 3 themed tote bags and there are 3 ways to enter to win!

Copy/paste the book tour schedule onto your blog and leave a comment on Nikki’s blog to let her know that you posted on or before Saturday, July 11.
Create your own blog post promoting What’s Wrong with Mud?
(You can contact Nikki for the Cover image and an interview to post if you want to)
Stop by each blog on the Book Tour and leave a comment on each including Nikki’s blog (on or before Saturday, July 11), to let her know to enter you into the drawing.

If you enjoyed the book tour and would like a autographed copy of What’s Wrong with Mud? please email Nikki Shoemaker, for more details.

Tour Schedule

Sunday, July 5 -
Nikki Shoemaker announcing the book tour

Monday, July 6 -
Rena Jones

Tuesday, July 7 - Crystalee Calderwood and Mandy Hedrick

Wednesday, July 8 - Wendy Martin and Roberta Baird

Thursday, July 9 - Carli Moua

Friday, July 10 - Diana R. Jenkins
Saturday, July 11 - Nikki Shoemaker wrapping up book tour and announcing winners.


Geri Kolesar said...

Thanks, Diana, for the invitation to read this blog tour entry! Love the title of the book -- after all, what IS wrong with mud? And I need to read any book illustrated by someone who loves one of my favorite kids' books -- the Pokey Little Puppy.

Beth Bence Reinke said...

Great interview, Diana. Nikki, I wish you the best with your decision about whether or not to switch to all freelancing. :o)

Rena Jones said...

One of my favorite books as a kid was The Pokey Little Puppy also. Nikki has amazing talent and I'm really looking forward to working with her more. Great interview!

Kerrie Logan Hollihan said...

Diana -- you did a great interview with Nikki!

Nikki -- congratulations on your first blog tour! Your illustrations in What's Wrong with Mud are darling.
I saw a guy literally up to his armpits in mud yesterday -- if only I'd had your book with me.....

dj said...

Thanks for stopping by the tour! Isn't Nikki so talented? I can't wait to see her next book!

Mandy said...

Another great stop on the tour! Thanks!

Nikki said...

THanks Diana, for interviewing me and participating in the blog book tour! I hope you had fun!

And thanks to everyone who commented here!
I really appreciate all the wonderful feedback and look forward to returning the favor to all of you soon!

Angela said...

Great interview! I've learned a lot about nikki through these interviews...and I've known her for quite a while now!