The Backstory: LITTLE RED AND THE BIG BAD EDITOR
I am thrilled to welcome Rebecca Kraft Rector to the blog today with her latest picture book, LITTLE RED AND THE BIG BAD EDITOR (Aladdin, 2022) with illustrations by Shanda McCloskey. You don't want to miss this clever take on a classic tale.
Welcome to The Backstory and thank you for joining us and sharing the inspiration behind LITTLE RED AND THE BIG BAD EDITOR.
First off, please tell us a little bit about your story.
The Big Bad Wolf is so distracted by Little Red’s poorly written thank you note to her grandmother that he keeps missing the chance to eat her!
This is such a fun take on a classic tale. I love the way you spun it as well as how it lends itself to classroom use. This will absolutely make its way into my classroom to introduce editing skills.
What’s the story behind the story? What was your inspiration? Where did the idea come from?
My first picture book SQUISH SQUASH SQUISHED was called a modern take on an old tale. When I wrote SQUISHED, I wasn’t thinking about that. This time, I wanted to intentionally write a modern version of an old folktale. I love wordplay, so I started playing with titles. I came up with Little Red WRITING Hood. I knew right away that Red would write a thank you letter to Granny and the Big Bad Wolf would want to correct all of Little Red’s writing mistakes.
What great inspiration! I love how that play on words sparked this story and what it developed into.
How did you approach going from this seed of an idea to what is now LITTLE RED AND THE BIG BAD EDITOR? Was it something undeniable you had to write immediately or did you need to sit with this idea and let it grow for a while before it found its way to the page?
I started writing immediately. That’s the way I need to write, otherwise the story sits in my head forever. And, of course, you can’t revise a blank page, so I need to get something on the page.
So true! I know for many that the first draft is the hardest part. Good for you for getting it down right away.
Where do you tend to find your inspiration or your sparks for ideas?
I get ideas from wordplay or from my environment—watching, listening, even tasting!
What books have been the most inspirational/impactful on your writing?
Folktales, of course. But also the many books that I read out loud in story times as a librarian. The rhythms of books like BROWN BEAR, BROWN BEAR and SILLY SALLY (who went to town, walking backwards, upside-down) echo in my head and influence my writing.
Reading, sharing, and being surrounded by books sounds like the perfect combination to be inspired. I bet you have more inspiration than time to write!
What are the must haves for your workspace? Tools? Inspiration? Reference materials?
Dark chocolate chips are essential. Something to write with—paper, pens, computer. Once I’ve got a draft, I often use colored pens or highlighters to show where the refrains and problems or complications are. Then I can see at a glance if there are too many, not enough, or if the pacing is off. I use tons of reference materials for my nonfiction writing, of course, but not for fiction.
Color coding is such a great strategy! And I love it for exactly what you explain, that ability to recognize strengths and problems at a glance. I think it is especially helpful for those of us writers who tend to be more visual. Thanks for sharing.
Any inspirational words of advice for aspiring authors?
Read, read, read, write, write, write, and don’t give up. It only takes one yes.
That elusive yes! You are right, it only takes one yes to kick start everything, and if you are not actively writing and submitting then you are preventing yourself the opportunity of hearing that yes. Get writing everyone!
Do you have any upcoming projects or news you would like to share with us?
I’m working on both picture book and middle grade projects.
I wish you the best of luck with these new projects and I can't wait to hear good news about more books coming from you.
Where can people connect more with you?
RebeccaKRector on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter
Readers check out Rebecca's LITTLE RED AND THE BIG BAD EDITOR (Aladdin, 2022) with illustrations by Shanda McCloskey. And while you are at it be sure to connect with her on social media and check out her website.
Rebecca, thank you so much for participating. I loved learning the story behind your story!
Rebecca is generously offering one winner (US only) a copy of LITTLE RED AND THE BIG BAD EDITOR.
Ways to enter:
1. Retweet my tweet about this blog post. Additional entry for tagging friends!
2. Leave a comment on this post.
3. Post about this interview on FB/Instagram and tell me in the comments that you did.
Each method earns an extra entry!
ABOUT REBECCA KRAFT RECTOR
I am the author of more than thirty fiction and nonfiction books for children. I’ve lived in Maryland, Georgia, Florida, and Virginia.
I’m a twin and the oldest of four children. For as long as I can remember, I loved reading and writing stories and poems. So, it’s no surprise that I became a librarian and writer. But I’ve also worked as a cleaner, babysitter, shampoo girl, filer, typist, reading and study skills teacher, and elementary school network manager.
I love animals, especially cats and horses. My cats Ollie and Opal keep me company while I write. I don’t care for coffee, so my writing is fueled by dark chocolate chips, often eaten on graham crackers.
ABOUT ANDREW HACKET
Andrew Hacket is a teacher by day, parent by night, and writer in the nooks and crannies of life. When it comes to his books, Andrew aims to create stories that tickle the funny bone and hug the heart of readers both young and old.
Andrew is the author of the early reader, CURLILOCKS AND THE THREE HARES (The Little Press, 2023) and the picture book, OLLIE, THE ACORN, AND THE MIGHTY IDEA (Page Street Kids, 2024). Additionally, his short story, THE TUNNEL, has been chosen for inclusion in the SCBWI anthology, The Haunted States of America.
Andrew lives in Massachusetts with his wife, three young children, and puppy, Gus.
Andrew is represented by Dan Cramer of Page Turner Literary.