By Indykids Staff

Q&A

Poet Kathy Price published her first children’s book, The Bourbon Street Musicians, in 2002. It is an award-winning picture book about four old, wrinkly animals who become friends and set off on a journey to New Orleans, making music along the way. Ms. Price sat down with IndyKids to discuss the making of her book — and tricks of the trade.

How long have you been writing?
About 15 years, but mainly poetry.

How did The Bourbon Street Musicians come about?
I wanted to write a book for adults, but as a poet I had never written a story! I decided to experiment with exercises specifically for children’s writers. At the end of the week, to my amazement, I’d completed a first draft of The Bourbon Street Musicians! Unfortunately, I had written my story on a typewriter, and had only one copy. By accident, I threw out the first copy. I rewrote the story, but then my cleaning lady threw out the second version! When I realized this second version of the story was gone, I said “EEEK!” But I wrote it for the third time — on a computer.

Do you have background in music?
I am a musician. I play the guitar, recorder, drums and piano, and I teach music to kids. Though I grew up in California, both my parents were from Louisiana and I grew up listening to musicians like Otis Redding. In some ways my book is a tribute to African-American musicians.

Do you have any tricks that help you come up with ideas?
When I’m trying to brainstorm, I make spider webs. I put the word I want to describe in a circle and write words that relate to it. I draw lines between all the words to make the spider web.

Do you still want to write a book for adults?
Sure. But now I’m working on a novel for older kids, and I’m enjoying it!