Today, we get to share exciting news about one of our own staff members. Jennifer Rumberger, Administrative Assistant – Congregation Ministries / Stewardship Ministries, recently had her children’s book, Ducklings on the Move, published and released as an eBook by MeeGenius. Ducklings on the Move is Jennifer’s first published book, and we asked her to share a few thoughts about the writing process and her passion for storytelling.
Can you tell us about the story? Where did the inspiration for it originate?
Ducklings on the Move follows the journey of a duck family, as the ducklings take the first trip from their nest to the pond. Waddling along, they encounter a variety of animals, each a different color. While teaching children about different colors and animals, it also provides a unique look at nature from the eyes of the young ducklings, as they experience the world for the first time.
The inspiration for this story came from the countless times I have seen ducklings following their mama in a straight line. It was fun to imagine what they might be thinking as they waddle along.
When you started writing this book, what was your biggest challenge and/or biggest surprise, what did you have to learn?
I wrote the first draft, of many, in August of 2010. For me and many writers, revision is a huge step in the writing process and this book was the first for me to totally experience that. The final version of this manuscript is heads and tails above where it started. It even has a different title! I don’t think I will ever be done learning all there is to know about writing.
How did you overcome the challenges and surprises? Did you receive help or support from others along the way?
The children’s writing community is very close-knit. I have wonderful critique partners, both online and in person. I’m also a member of the Michigan chapter of SCBWI, the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators. We are an active group that provides resources for writers and also sponsors conferences, workshops and meet-ups.
When did you first know that you wanted to pursue writing?
I have always enjoyed writing, but decided almost five years ago that I wanted to write for children and pursue that dream seriously.
What genre do you tend to fall into? What is it about that genre that resonates with you?
I started out writing magazine stories/articles for children’s magazines, but now focus solely on picture books (ages 0-8) and middle grade novels (ages 8-12). I love watching kids read and love to see them spending time with books. If something I write can make a child happy, then I have succeeded.
What does it take to pursue writing as a part-time or even full-time venture? Can you talk about the sacrifices, obstacles, habits, etc.
Being a serious writer is hard! It takes perseverance, hard-work, and a tough skin. And lots of practice! The hardest part for me is finding the time to write. But, getting into the habit of writing on the type of schedule that fits my life is the best thing I can do for myself. Not very many writers are able to write full-time every day.
What lessons did you learn from writing this book that would help others considering writing in this genre? The most important message I’ve learned is that writing needs to be something I’m passionate about, or all the time and effort put into it will feel wasted. Being able to share stories with children, whether or not they share my values and faith, is important to me. Finding quality books for children, especially boys, can be a challenge and that is a challenge I hope to make easier for parents.
How did it feel when your book finally launched?
It was a surreal feeling. Seeing something tangible that I helped to create that is out for all to see and read is amazing.
Thank you, Jennifer, for sharing your experience with us. How can folks connect with you? Where can they find the book?
I have a website and blog www.jenniferrumberger.com where I share middle grade and picture book recommendations for parents and kids. By sharing books I feel are appropriate, I hope to be able to help parents and teachers who may be searching for books for a particular child or class.
Ducklings on the Move is an eBook published by MeeGenius. It was released March 21. For those that would like to read it, first download the MeeGenius app which is free. The book’s specific link is http://www.meegenius.com/store/book/126056867a5552e342031378f2070d81.