Bio Talking Points:
- Jacqueline has worked with children from a young age. Her first job at the age of 15, as a daycare center caregiver, encouraged her passion for entertaining and educating children.
- Jacqueline received a degree in Writing from Valdosta State University. She wrote for local magazines as well as the University paper. She currently freelances for multiple publications and is now a successful Children’s Author.
- Privately, Jacqueline is wife to Matthew (an Air Traffic Controller) and mother to Marshall (born in 2013) and June (born in 2015).
A Busy Mother who Followed Her Dreams, How Other Parents Can Do the Same
Parenthood is filled with busy schedules and hectic days. We aim to put the wants and needs of our children first, in doing so, we place our dreams on the back-burner. Jacqueline is (some what) successful in juggling parenthood with fulfilling her wish to publish a children’s book. She wants to encourage other parents to do the same, to follow their wildest dreams.
Making Preschoolers Laugh Out Loud With A Relatable Picture Book
I love picture books that have these great underlying messages, I really do, but not all the time. Think about yourself, after a long day of work, do you come home and relax with a “lesson” style book? No way! You relax with an entertaining tv show or funny book. I wanted the same for children. This book allows them to laugh and not take life so seriously, now THAT is a hard lesson to learn.
The Many Factors that Encouraged Jacqueline Leigh to Publish a Picture Book With a Female Lead
Have you ever noticed that picture books with female leads portray them in a bigger than life role? We have a scientist, an astronaut, a math whiz, a princess. These are all great aspirations, but I wanted to create a relatable female lead. I want all girls to know that they can still be great in their everyday lives. Faye is determined and willful, but she is those things in the comfort of her home. She is magnificent and care free, she doesn’t let her blunders slow her down. She does this all while carrying a cup of milk, something that happens in our everyday lives.
How did you become interested in writing for Children?
I adored writing as a little girl. In fact, I wrote my first book in the second grade. It didn’t amount to much, other than a prized collectible for my mother. I jumped into the art of professional writing in college, where I majored in Journalism and Creative Writing.
Tell me about your book, how did you come up with the idea?
I used my everyday surroundings. My daughter wanted a cup of milk and ended up spilling it everywhere, instead of cleaning up the mess, I sat by the puddle and wrote my first draft.
What research did you do for this book?
Believe it or not, I had my kids spill milk all over the house. I wanted to see what items caused them to spill the milk and what the milk looked like as it splashed out of the cup. It’s funny, the illustrator had to do a ton of test drawings for spilled milk and milk splashes before we got the look just right.
Is there a message in The Spill that you’d like readers to grasp?
Be resilient. Laugh at yourself. Don’t take the messes of life too seriously.
Who is the illustrator of The Spill and how did you choose him/her?
Erika Wilson illustrated the book. Her and I are writers together at Her View From Home and I was shocked when I saw her portfolio. Her work is bright, colorful, bold and brilliant. I had to pick an illustrator that could make the hallway of a home look beautiful, that’s a hard task!
What books and authors encouraged you to write?
Rachel Bright, author of Love Monster, was a huge inspiration to me. What an adorable book, if you haven’t read this one, pick it up now! Her writing technique is witty and charming. I find myself laughing a lot while reading her books. The other big inspiration was I Want My Hat Back written by Jon Klassen. Wow. What a lovely book. It’s simple, sweet and hilarious. We read this book in our house at least once a week!
What’s a typical working day like for you? Where and when do you write?
Many authors write to the sound of classical music, or if they’re lucky, complete silence. My background noise tends to be the soft cries of a 1 year old and the constant chatter of a 3 year old. I squeeze in writing during nap time and bedtime. I was brave enough to put my desk in the playroom, talk about juggling right? Once in a while, I can toss some legos in front of the kids and get down to work. It’s important for my children to see me working, I want them to value working parents as well as stay at home parents, they get to see the best and worst of both worlds.
How do you juggle the demands that come with being a wife, a mother of young children and a successful author?
That’s just it, I juggle. First and foremost, I’m a wife. Secondly, I’m a mother. Once my daily obligations are met for my husband and children, I can write freely and without guilt. It’s crazy to think that I am a first-time author with a 1 year old and 3 year old, but they are my inspiration. My ideas stem from their daily happenings, it’s a blend of chaos in my life. In fact, I’m writing the answer to this question while sitting in the preschool parking lot, waiting on my son. My daughter (strapped in her car seat behind me) is very disapproving of this process.
What advice would you give other busy parents, looking to fulfill their own dreams?
Whatever your dream may be, it’s never too late to see them through. Life is so incredibly short, it’s time to put yourself out there. You may fail, and that’s okay, it’s a stepping stone to better avenues. Or hey, you may succeed and have a life of great achievements ahead of you. I myself have no clue if this book or career will succeed, but at least I’ve taught my children to put faith in themselves and to take a chance with their wildest dreams.
What are you working on now?
I have a mystery series for ages 4yo – 10yo in the works. It will be a picture book and unique to the genre of mystery series. The books will be intriguing for children yet funny for parents. My goal is to have the first of the series published by the end of 2019.