Jena McNealy and I met through Society of Young Inklings where she does administrative work and gets to work with young writers! We talked over google chat and I found out some amazing things about Jena including that she is a night owl, went to Italy recently to celebrate her birthday, and just wrote her first children’s book! ~ Polly McCann, Managing Editor
I know you are an Preschool teacher, what do you love about teaching?
I love the energy and enthusiasm preschoolers bring to the classroom. I love watching them play and explore new things. And I love the things they say!
What is your writing space or creative space like?
Honestly, it’s my messy kitchen table. I am most creative late at night after everyone else is asleep.
What was your fave book when you were a kid?
I loved the Bailey School Kids Books and the Amelia Bedelia Books
And your fave movie?
I loved all Disney movies - hard to pick a favorite. I also really liked the Sound of Music.
What is one of your favorite Childhood memories?
I was fortunate enough to grow up on a ranch. I loved playing outdoors with my cousins. We were always together playing, swimming at our pond, mud sledding or playing with animals - cats, dogs, lizards, cows, pigs, sheep - you name it.
Things you were proud of as a kid?
Performing at dance recitals. I was a very shy child so this was a huge accomplishment!
Tell me how did you get involved in writing for kids?
In college I started working for an organization called Society of Young Inklings teaching creative writing after school classes. My students inspired me to write. In fact, the inspiration for one of my books was the result of a lesson plan I created about plotting a story. I asked the kids what kinds of things could happen to the character and the story was born.
Thanks, Jena. We are so excited about your book TINKA AND THE TOAD coming out in 2019. It’s funny, whimsical and a delight. We love the world you built for these fairy folk and especially how Tinka learns that friends make for a stronger recipe. We feel the same way. We are so glad you are one of our new authors and a new friend!