Exclusive Interview with
Michelle Medlock Adams
When did you start writing?
When I was in first grade, Mrs. True made an announcement that would forever change my life.
“We’re having a poetry contest this week,” she said, “so use today and tomorrow to come up with your best poem.”
We had just studied the various types of poems, and I decided I really liked the ones that rhymed. In fact, I had checked out every book of rhyming poetry I could find from our school library, and I’d read them all—twice.
As my classmates wrote about their parents, grandparents, aunts and uncles, brothers and sisters, I carefully crafted the words to my poem: “I Love Penny.”
Penny was my 7-year-old wiener dog and my best friend in the whole world.
My poem went a little something like this: “Penny is my very best friend. I’ll love her to the very end. She’s a very special wiener dog. I love her though she smells like a hog…”
OK, so I wasn’t exactly a first grade Dr. Seuss, but my poem was good enough to earn first prize. (I guess the other first grade poets must’ve been really bad.) At any rate, I won a few sparkly pencils and the honor of going first in the lunch line that afternoon. Mrs. True also displayed my poem in the front of the room for all to see. I stared at my winning poem all afternoon, and in my mind, I was already coming up with a follow-up rhyme.
That’s the day I became a writer.
I wanted to write all the time, and so I did. I wrote during recess while other kids played tag and climbed on the monkey bars. I completely fell in love with words.
What makes writing your passion?
Creating stories for children—stories that teach, entertain, encourage and inspire—it’s a noble calling. It’s a calling I don’t take for granted. I truly love what I do.
How long have you been writing?
Since I was in first grade...but professionally since I graduated from Indiana University with a journalism degree. That's when I secured my first job in the industry as a newspaper reporter.
What was the feeling when you published your first book?
I felt so excited, accomplished, and a little bit nervous. I remember going to Barnes & Noble and seeing my picture book, "Conversations On the Ark" on the endcap. I took lots of pictures, and yes, I cried a few tears of joy.
What’s the story behind your choice of characters?
For my book, "Dachshund Through the Snow"...
I’ve been a dog lover for as long as I can remember. So, after writing and publishing more than 100 books, it only makes sense that I’d finally write a story about my favorite breed of dog — the dachshund. (I grew up with a shorthaired red miniature doxie named Penny. And, since then, I’ve loved Max, Maddie Anne, Freckles, Miller, and our current cutie Mollie Mae.)
But, “Dachshund Through the Snow” was inspired by Miller, our longhaired miniature dachshund who loved to dig and dig and dig! He is in heaven but his memory lives on through Crosby in my book, "Dachshund Through the Snow".
What annoys you the most in pursuing a writing career?
I think it's the "Hurry up and wait" timeline that goes along with publishing. We stress and work and sweat to meet our editorial deadlines, only to encounter delays at the printer or to discover our books are stuck on a ship somewhere...it's just part of it. Over the years, I've learned to trust the process and believe they are simply "divine delays."
How do you get over the “writer’s block”?
Write something every single day. I always have several projects going so if I'm not "feeling it" on one of them, I'll simply switch to a different writing project, and that will often "unblock" my creative flow.
We all know the writer’s path is never easy, what makes you keep going? What advice would you give to new authors?
This isn't proper English but "I can't not write." I love what I do. I love to write. I love to teach writing. I love to brainstorm new book ideas and celebrate book launches with my writing colleagues and friends. I can't imagine life without writing...it's not just what I do, it's part of who I am.
Never give up! Believe in the call. Keep learning. Keep getting better. Keep creating stories that make a difference.