Connie Nordhielm Wooldridge

When our third child Sean was growing up, he liked to know how things work, which my husband and I tried to encourage even when things got dangerous or destructive.  Stellar parents have their bad days, however, and when Sean was in middle school and I found his brand new bike in pieces all over the garage I shrieked, “You broke your brand new bike????” 

“It’s not broken,” he informed me.  “It’s apart.  There’s a difference.”

The years between the acceptance of my first picture book, Wicked Jack, in 1992 and my second, The Legend of Strap Buckner, in 1999 were a creative wasteland for me.  Ideas evaded me like the plague.  I read everything I could get my hands on to try to prime the literary pump, but nothing happened.

I decided I was a one-book wonder and that I needed to find a new career.  I would be an English professor.  I took eight undergraduate English courses and applied to a graduate English program.  I was rejected.  I decided that, since, two of our children were still living at home, I could call myself a full time mom for at least a little longer…but what then?

The strange thing was, that, all the while, I continued to answer the question “What do you do?” as I always had:  “I’m a children’s writer.”  And finally, an idea came, and then another, and then I was back in the game again.

I suppose you could say that, during those seven years, I wasn’t broken, I was just apart.  And Sean was right:  there’s a difference.