Little Chicken's Big Christmas: Interview with Katie Davis & Jerry Davis

Today I welcome Katie and Jerry Davis to Kid Lit Frenzy to celebrate the release of Little Chicken's Big Christmas.  

I loved Little Chicken's Big Day and so excited to see that you have decided to do another Little Chicken book. What made you think of doing a Christmas story? And what prompted going the indie route? 

Katie: Both Jerry and I love Little Chicken of course, and I kept seeing him in my mind's eye with a Santa hat on. In mid-October I said to Jerry, in my typical WE-MUST-DO-THIS-AND-DO-THIS-NOW! sort of way, "Hey, honey, we should do a Christmas book with Little Chicken." I figured we could indie publish, double it as a marketing experiment, and help other authors at the same time. I felt it was a symbiotic opportunity because other writers could learn how to launch a book and learn from my mistakes, missteps, and successes, and for me to see if an effort like this would work.

If it does work, I'll repeat the process with both my upcoming spring release of my young adult novel, Dancing with the Devil (Diversion Books), and the next edition of my eBook, How to Promote Your Children's Book: Tips, Tricks, and Secrets to Create a Bestseller. I've re-written it with new content, a bunch of additional chapters and information. I'll announce when I'm launching both teams on all my social media platforms: my Site, Facebook, YouTube, Twitter, Google+, My Podcast and will again have limited signup times, just like this one.

Jerry: Why we went the indie route and the Christmas story is actually quite related. An indie book can be done quickly, and that worked for us in this case. It's a holiday book, so we had to get it out fast. A traditional publisher couldn't have done that in this time frame. What I love about Little Chicken is he has a lot of attitude. He'll go along with his mom's agenda, but his patience wears thin in about a nanosecond. And from a kid point of view, the holiday season involves all this adult craziness while kids are focused on the presents. So it was fun to imagine Little Chicken amid the holiday bustle. Impatient at times, but enjoying the traditions despite himself. And by discovering that Little Chicken's impatience comes from a purely loving and selfless place, we get to underscore the importance of giving and expressing love during the holiday season, no matter how crazy things get. That seemed like a good reason to do an indie book!

Do you and Jerry have any special ways of collaborating together on projects? Do you talk things through or work separately? 

Jerry: I think and process and process and think and edit and then process and think and edit. Then I speak. Katie's process is kind of the other way around. So we each have to bend a bit for the other.

Katie: That's Jerry's nice way of saying I speak before I think. 8-) I definitely leap and then look. Lucky for me Jerry's at the bottom of the crevasse holding the net!

Picture books can be a challenge. You have a limited number of words and pages to get the story just right. What techniques do you use/go through when writing a picture book? 

Jerry: Every word needs to earn its place. I've worked in animation for a long time, and the challenge is similar: making sure each word and gesture and image is working together to tell the story. It's an iterative process that requires a lot of revisions to keep it simple!

Katie: What he said. (That was me keeping it simple.)

Do you have any other projects that you are working on that you can share with us? 

Katie: Yes! I'm especially happy to share this with you because of Bridge to Books! I just sold my first young adult novel and am furiously working on that for my new editor. It's the book I mentioned above called Dancing with the Devil, and should be out the end of March or the beginning of April, 2014 from Diversion Books.

What has been the best letter/comment/question that you have ever received from a child/student? 

Katie: Two come to mind. One is funny and one, meaningful.

Funny: I was giving a presentation to a gym full of first and second graders. Finally, at the end of the program I told them it was Q&A time and that they could ask me anything they wanted. I got the usual "how do you come up with your ideas" kinds of questions, and then one little girl raised her hand and asked, "How do you play the trumpet?" Frankly, I had no answer to that because I don't play an instrument, nor was I speaking about music at the time!

Meaningful: "How can I be a writer when I grow up?" I love this question because it reveals a lot. It tells me that books mean something to this child, and that he or she knows that the job of writer is a possibility. It's also an opportunity to let them know that reading is important (and will get them somewhere) because the more you read the better you write.

What is your favorite independent bookstore and where is it? 

Katie: That's so not fair! There are too many awesome ones. After all, these are the people who love and champion books that need boosts. There's my local, Noka Joe's, in Katonah, NY. There's Vroman's and Children's Book World near you, and Hicklebee's, and I love the peeps at Copperfield's in Petaluma where my brother lives, there's my friend Elizabeth Bluemle's Flying Pig, up in VT. and RJ Julia's in Madison, CT... and there are so many more! No way to pick a fave.

What inspired you to start Brain Burps? 

Katie: In the welcome video on my site I go into that story a bit. The name was a mistake, actually. I wanted to create a blog that could cover anything under the umbrella of the craft and business of children's books so I called it Brain Burps About Books. I thought the phrase was brain BURPS. It's not "burps," it's another word that has to do with a bodily function but I didn't know that! But the name stuck. By the time I started the podcast people knew the name so for continuity, stayed with the name, Brain Burps About Books.

I know that you have done quite a few picture books. Have you ever thought of taking on the challenge of writing a book for 2nd and 3rd graders? (I think you have a great sense of humor and would really be able to create a wonderful story for that tough to write for audience.) 

Katie: Now I have!

Any questions that you wish I had asked?

Both: Yes! "Where can my readers get Little Chicken's Big Christmas?" 8-)

The link to get Little Chicken's Big Christmas is: 

If you don't have a Kindle, you can still get it because there's a free Kindle for Mac app available right on that page which you can download for your iPad, laptop, or desktop.

Plus, if you buy it between Dec 5-12 and submit your receipt to you will get a gift with every purchase: a downloadable Write Your Own Coloring Book version of the book!

We're having a different enticing promotion every week up through Christmas. You never know what you might get and nothing will be repeated, so you'll have to take advantage if you like what you see at the time!

Thanks for doing this and glad to celebrate Little Chicken. 

NO! Thank YOU, Alyson!! We so appreciate the support!

Stop by on Thursday for my review of Little Chicken's Big Christmas.