Laurie Jacobs lives in Swampscott, Massachusetts with her husband, Steven, her daughters Hannah and Sarah, and standard poodles, Max and Teddy. Her son Zachary and his fiance Liza are frequent visitors along with their cats, Ophelia and Dynamite. She has published short stories in Cricket Magazine and picture books with Boyds Mills Press and Flashlight Press. Before she wrote for children, she worked as a lawyer. When she is not writing, she likes to garden, to cook, to read, and to think up stories. Besides writing for children, she also writes for adults. She earned an MFA in Creative Writing (Fiction) from Lesley University in January 2012.
Questions for Laurie
When did you start writing?
When I was young I told stories to my cousins and my little brother. When I grew up, I still made up stories, but kept them in my head. It wasn’t until I had children of my own that I decided to start putting my stories on paper. I took a course on writing for children with Ned Delaney at Salem State College and discovered my passion for writing. I have files full of stories that have yet to be published and a list of story ideas on my computer for stories I have yet to tell.
Where do you get your story ideas?
I don’t know! Some ideas come from words, others from images. Some of my stories begin with a question. What if two very different creatures became friends? What if their other friends didn’t understand this strange friendship? That was the background for my first book. My idea for my second book began with my desire to tell a story that included all the holidays in the Jewish year. So I began with a goal instead of a story idea. It took me a long time to discover Ruthie. For my third book, I got the idea right after giving my daughters a bath. That was a long time ago. Again, it took a long time to get the story right!
So how long does it take for you to write a story?
It takes me a long, long time to take an idea and turn it into a story. Each story I write, even the very short stories, gets revised many times. I don't think I've ever written a sentence down and thought it was perfect from the start.
Any writing secrets you want to share?
Yes--my writing group: Pat Bridgman, Pat Collins, Chris Doyle, Chris Jones, Donna McArdle, Valerie McCaffrey, Lennie Strohmeier and Linda Teitel. Your encouragement, support and insightful advice have kept me writing. Thank you!