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Interview with Bridget Heos, author of picture book ‘Mustache Baby’

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Bridget Heos is the author of Mustache Baby, illustrated by Joy Ang, (Houghton Mifflin, 2013) and more than 60 nonfiction books for children. She lives in Kansas City with her husband and four children.

For what age audience do you write?

I write for babies up through high school, mainly picture books and nonfiction. Tell us about your latest book. It's a picture book about Baby Billy, who is born with a mustache, and his family, who must wait to see whether it is a good guy or bad guy mustache.

Henry: That is a hilarious image. But, of course, all babies start off pure and good!

What do you hope readers will get from reading that book?

I think it's a story the whole family will enjoy. Babies will like the pictures, toddlers will be able to retell the story based on the pictures, and big kids and parents will think it's funny, too. If it's one of those books that gets the whole family together to read, that would be a dream come true.

What aspect of writing do you find most challenging?

It's that point where you're in the thick of things. You can't see the layout of the story, and everything looks like a big mess. You're trying to keep track of too many things at once in hopes of organizing things. I used to waitress and this was called being "in the weeds." You just have to work your way out of it. The truth is, I kind of like this situation. It's only hard because I tend to get obsessed with working my way out of it. As a mom, I can't do that. I have an hour here, a half day there, a full day sometimes. But that's good. It puts things in perspective.

Henry: Sounds like someone enjoys the drama of being “in the weeds”. Are you an adrenaline junkie?

What is a powerful lesson you've learned from being a writer?

I've learned to see real life in terms of stories. Instead of thinking, "Oh no, this is a disaster!" I can now think, "this must be the middle of the story. We have to work our way through to the happy ending." That's been a wonderful shift in perspective.

Henry: How handy to be able to switch to third-person omniscient in real life! That is a useful way of looking at a situation. And if someone is a jerk, you can think about them being a literary antagonist. Who gets their just desserts in the end.

Read the rest of the interview at Henry's blog on KidLit, Sci-fi & Fantasy.

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