Last year I stumbled on author Jodi Kendall’s blog post How I Got My Agent (and a 2-Book Deal!) . It gave me the hope I so desperately needed as a writer because Jodi explained that, in seven years, she had queried agents with six different manuscripts, receiving over one hundred rejection letters.
And then what happened?
On the eve of her second book release, I’m thrilled to have Jodi Kendall as the inaugural 5 Questions interview!
5 Questions…with Jodi Kendall
- For The Unlikely Story of a Pig In The City, roughly how long was it from when you first came up with the idea until the day it hit store shelves? About 4 years.
- What was the biggest obstacle you encountered on your road to getting published? Rejections are hard of course, but learning how to write is really, really hard. Trying lots of different styles/genres, listening to feedback, choosing to grow, and getting my butt in the chair and just doing the work (all while having other jobs and juggling kids/family) was hard. It’s still hard! But I love it.
- What is something that has surprised you since becoming a published author? I always knew it’d be amazing to hear from young readers, but receiving their notes and artwork and listening them share their thoughts on my books is always surprisingly wonderful. It’s the best part of my job.
- What is one piece of advice you would give to writers who are trying to get published? Join the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrator’s (SCBWI) immediately!
- On the eve of your second book coming out, have you noticed any differences this time around than before your first book was released? The excitement is still high, but I’m much calmer this time around. This past year has taught me a lot about managing expectations and embracing gratitude and why I write the books I write. So I’m not nearly as nervous!
I want to thank Jodi for participating in 5 Questions and I also want to thank her for her recent Instagram post where she bravely opened up about her battle with anxiety. As Jodi said, “Talking more openly about our experiences can help normalize them.”
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🗣MENTAL HEALTH CHAT Over the last few weeks several people have reached out to me on social media about anxiety. I’m not a medical professional, but I’ve been publicly open(ish? openly guarded?) about my own experiences with anxiety. In an industry conversation the other day, someone said, “It would be great to see more authors talk about their own experiences with mental health” which got me thinking. How much should I talk about my anxiety? What will people think of me? Is it bad for my career to talk about these things? Am I a brand or person on social media? But this morning I was reflecting on authenticity. I really don’t want to portray myself in some artificially-constructed social media world. Doesn’t that type of online experience create isolation versus community? I’d rather be real than some avatar? And all those mental health stigmas out there…. Talking more openly about our experiences can help normalize them. If you also battle anxiety on a daily basis, I hope my story makes you feel less alone. So, here’s the deal. I have an anxiety disorder. I’ve had it for as long as I can remember but was “diagnosed” in college. Sometimes my unchecked anxiety can lead to panic attacks. I don’t have them that often –– at one point in my life, I didn’t have a panic attack for over a decade –– but when I do, they terrify me. If you’ve had a panic attack before, maybe you can relate. People can have varied levels of anxiety about different things. Anxiety isn’t all the same (don’t make assumptions). Over the years with professional guidance, I’ve gained a better understanding of my personal triggers and management techniques. There are seasons in my life when I’ve been more successful at this than others. I’m a work-in-progress. Life throws you curveballs and you deal with them. So I have to give myself grace for when I fall short in self-care and remind myself to try the best I can. Maybe you need that same grace and reminder today. 👉Professional Therapy. To me, this is the most important element in my life right now. I see a therapist every week to help me better understand my anxiety triggers, to help manage/control my worries (continued in comments👇)