Hello, Creatives! I am back with another Behind the Page interview. This time we have Amber Hendricks stopping by with a DOUBLE COVER REVEAL for the books BUTTERFLIES SOAR and WILDFLOWERS GROW illustrated by Gavin Scott. The first two books in the Little Nature Explorer board book series (Amicus Ink).

Born and raised in the Midwest, Amber Hendricks grew up reading everything she could get her hands on- including the morning cereal boxes. That passion melded into writing as well, and by the age of 11 she was writing and binding her own “books”. Amber has worn many hats in her life, but she has always circled back to her love of writing stories for kids. Amber currently resides in Missouri with her husband, two children, and a German Shepherd named Caoimhe (Kee-va), who thinks she is a person, too.

One book release is exciting and nerve-wracking enough, how does it feeling having both BUTTERFLIES SOAR and WILDFLOWERS GROW releasing in March 2022?

Thank you so much for having me! I’m so excited to share the covers for Butterflies Soar and Wildflowers Grow with all of you. Gavin Scott’s illustrations are gorgeous, soft, and dreamy. I feel so lucky to have been paired with him for these books. Having two books release is absolutely thrilling! Both Butterflies and Wildflowers were initially set to release in the spring of 2021 but were delayed due to Covid. I am both nervous and excited (nervicited?) to finally share them with little readers. 

I bet that release date extension did help with those nervicited feelings. Which of the Little Nature Explorer Book did you write first, and what was the inspiration behind it?

I wrote Butterflies Soar first with Wildflowers Grow following a year later. Both started as entries in Vivian Kirkfield’s wonderful 50 Precious Words contest. There was something so appealing and challenging in coming up with a complete story in so few words.

A 50 Precious words success story! It’s interesting that each book started as an entry. I adore Vivian Kirkfield and her 50 Precious Words contest. I know there are two fall-themed titles in the series as well. Many writers dream of writing a series. When pitching the Little Nature Explorer Books, did you have all of them written? Or did you pitch just one?

It wasn’t until after I wrote the entry for what would become Wildflowers Grow that I pitched the idea to my editor. After an R&R (revise and resubmit), she asked if I could come up with two additional stories to flesh out a four-book series. Of course, I said yes! I was thrilled to be given such an opportunity, and I’m thankful to my CPs who were so great about looking at multiple drafts.

That is so interesting. So in your case, having more than one written worked in your favor. Many writers who dream of having a series are often told not to put the cart before the horse because many editors acquire them as a stand-alone. But board books are so short that I guess it doesn’t hurt to write the second in the series. Your previously published titles are picture books, what prompted the transition to writing a board book series?

 I’ve always loved the lyrical nature of words but found writing a several hundred-word rhyming story to be tough. So while it wasn’t a conscious thought to write a board book manuscript, Vivian’s contest allowed me to explore the possibility, while at the same time challenging me to hone my craft. I’m just glad that my editor saw something in those early drafts and encouraged me to keep reaching!

A great editor is worth their weight in gold, probably more so! You had worked with Amicus Ink before with Extraordinary Ordinary Ella. Was the experience working together on a board book series different in any way? 

I feel so privileged to work with the team at Amicus Ink again. The biggest difference between Extraordinary Ordinary Ella and the board books was adjusting to writing new manuscripts on a deadline! For both projects, my editor was patient and encouraging and always ready to answer questions or clarify notes as I developed the two additional manuscripts for the Little Nature Explorers series. I look forward to hopefully working with them again!

Diving into craft for a moment, sparse text may sound easy, you’re writing fewer words, but that means every word carries more weight. Did you run into any tricky word choices or phrases that were tough to crack?

Absolutely. Not only does every word count, but in rhyming you have to be mindful of keeping perfect rhymes and meter. In the original text for Butterflies Soar, I used the word chrysalides. My editor pointed out that chrysalides wasn’t the easiest word to pronounce and may be unfamiliar to some readers. She was right, and I ended up rewriting the whole stanza. For the better!

Similarly, Wildflowers Grow started out as Wildflowers Thrive. Again, my editor felt the word pairing might be difficult to read aloud and again, she was spot on. (Thank goodness for editors!) Finding a good replacement for thrive was tougher than I thought, but I’m thrilled with the end result!

Was there a piece of writing advice that really helped you when working on BUTTERFLIES SOAR or WILDFLOWERS GROW or both?

Writing can be a difficult challenge sometimes, especially when you’re sure you don’t have what it takes to pull off a revision. Not only did Vivian Kirkfield’s contest inspire me, but something Vivian once said has always stuck with me. She said, you only fail if you stop trying. So even though it seems impossible, keep trying!

Thank you for stopping by and giving us a look behind the page, but before you go, what snack fueled you while working on this series? 

Definitely popcorn. I LOVE it!

Thank you for reading this Behind the Page Interview and cover reveal with Amber Hendricks. Make sure to grab your copies when they release in spring 2022 or request it from your local library. If you love them, write a review. Reviews are a free and priceless way to support authors and illustrators. If you’re not already following Amber, check her out on Twitter at @ashayhen, on Instagram at @henamber, or on her website This Just Read

If you enjoyed this interview, make sure to comment, share, or subscribe to the blog (so that you are alerted each time I post new content). If you missed last months interview with Jennifer Harris about picture book BIOs you can check it out HERE. Next month I am posting about my #PBchat mentorship experience with Dev Petty. You’ll definitely want to check that one out. Until then, take care and stay creative!

Do you have an upcoming book release or cover reveal. Behind the Page would love to have you. Connect with us though our contact page.



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