Hello Sherrill. I’ve never met an author who thinks in rhyme. How interesting! Can you give us an example of thinking in rhyme?
I have been writing poetry for years, and whenever I want to “put a feeling into words” or think of a plot for a children’s story, my mind immediately starts translating these feelings or stories into rhyming lines. I love the sound and cadence of words, and enjoy fitting them neatly within a poetic stanza. Here’s a short fun poem about writing – how my mind “thinks” in verse (I suppose most authors can relate!):
Words, words, words, words,
Fill my mind like a flock of birds:
Flying, dipping, soaring, twirling,
Keeping my mind always whirling;
Singing, chirping in my heart,
Helping all my feelings start.
Bound within my heart they rage;
Gliding, diving in a cage.
Winging, darting everywhere,
For there is no way to share.
Until, finally, my heart is loosed:
I put them on a page to roost.
…Sherrill S. Cannon
Fantastic! I love it. The way you express yourself seems so natural. Okay, tell us about your children’s books.
I love this illustrated page. (My illustrator for both books, KJ and her team of illustrators at Kalpart, is awesome.) Here are a few lines from the story:
And kneeling before Him, with a sack full of toys,
He offered his heart to this dearest of boys.
He leaned toward the Christ Child and blew Him a kiss
And promised to Jesus what would be his gift:
Each year on Christ’s birthday, he’d deliver his toys
To all children everywhere, good girls and boys…
Peter and the Whimper-Whineys was released 04/09/2010. Peter is a small rabbit who does nothing but whine and cry. Here are the opening lines:
In a house in the forest all covered with vines,
Lived a very small rabbit who did nothing but whine.
He'd whine and he'd cry from morning till night,
And nothing that anyone did would be right.
He'd cry and he'd whine, and he'd whine and he'd cry,
Till his mother said, "Peter, I want you to try
To stop all that whining and unpleasant noise.
Go take a nap, or go play with your toys;
If you can't stop that whining, I very much fear
That the old Whimper-Whineys will look for you here.
You'll go live with them in a land far away,
Where you'll join them in whining and crying all day."
What a great idea for a book! Wow! I wish I could have had this one to read to my children when they were young. Where did you get your inspiration for your novels?
Santa’s Birthday Gift was written in response to a granddaughter’s question. After I read to her the story of the Nativity, she looked at me and asked, “But where’s Santa?”
Peter and the Whimper-Whineys is a rhymed version of a story my mother used to tell, not only to her children and grandchildren but to lots of her elementary school students. I often wonder if one of her former students might recognize the story…at least the main character!
Isn’t it something the way our family inspires us in our writing! I found that to be true as I write my novels. Our life experiences can influence us a great deal. What do your grandchildren think about your writing?
My grandchildren love all my stories – and I use them to help me decide which to submit next! The last vote was to submit The Magic Word, so that is now under contract for release in early 2011, and is the story of a little girl who learns to say “Please”. The runner-up was, My Finger-Paint Print, so that one is now with my agent and is a story of a child who paints a finger-paint print in school which ends up in an art gallery. I have four more waiting for another voting session!
Now that’s what I call real support. Your grandchildren even have a say about which one is the most fun to listen to. Okay, now it’s time to tell us something about the real you that we’ll never forget.
I grew up in the Willard Hotel in the center of Washington DC, a block from the White House (my Dad was the manager) and there are lots of things about living there that “Eloise” never thought of – including learning to ride my small two-wheeled bicycle down the 5th floor corridor (watching out for guests coming out of their rooms, of course), sliding down the brass banister to get to the coffee shop, commandeering the elevator when the operator wasn’t looking and taking astonished guests for a ride, and practicing my roller-skating on the ballroom floor (which was a lovely wooden polished floor that my poor father had to have refinished!)
What a fantastic story! I can picture you on your bicycle pedaling down the hall and sliding down banisters. I can imagine you taking the patrons on a ride in the elevator. Do you know what? You’ll have to write a poem about it and have plenty of pictures to go with it. Now we know the real you: a mischievous Ballroom Skater who thinks in rhyme!