What a treat to be able to feature an author interview with B.J. Lee today! Her recent picture book, THERE WAS AN OLD GATOR WHO SWALLOWED A MOTH, was reviewed HERE this week.
BIO: B.J. Lee, a former librarian at The Boston Conservatory at Berklee, has turned to writing full-time. She writes poetry, picture books, and is working on a verse novel. She lives in Florida with her husband, Malcolm Deeley, and their toy poodle, Bijoux.
Lindsay: Great to connect with you, B.J.! What were the biggest challenges and the most exciting moments you encountered in the journey of your new book There Was an Old Gator Who Swallowed a Moth —from conceptualizing the idea to writing the story through to seeing it published and sharing it with the world?
B.J. Lee: I’d say the biggest challenge in writing this picture book was in finding good rhyming words to match the animals. For example, Manatee/sanity; Panther/answer (this one was originally written with a lisp “It wathn’t the anther to thwallow a panther”) which I later edited to the slant rhyme “panther/answer”. There were some Florida/southern animals I wanted to include but couldn’t because I couldn’t find rhymes such as the Flamingo.
The most exciting moments were getting my acceptance email and sharing the book with children.
Lindsay: Those cleverly-crafted rhymes really do stand out! Your bio mentions that you are a former librarian of The Boston Conservatory at Berklee. What connections do you see between the written word and music—do you see glimpses of those connections in your new book?
B.J. Lee: I think my classical musical training is one of the main reasons I have an affinity for poetry and rhyming (when it comes to writing picture books). I also think the ability to keep a beat translates into good meter when writing poetry and rhymers. Charles Ghinga has called my poetry “mellifluous” (thank you, Charles!),” which means “musical,” so yes, I do think there is some connection.
Thank you so much for joining us today and sharing your thoughts, B.J.!
You can find more about B.J. Lee and connect with her at the following links: