Interview with J. Aday Kennedy

Hello Friends,

You have met some of Jessica Aday Kennedy’s characters in Klutzy Kantor and Marta’s Gargantuan Wings. Now I want to introduce this talented writer to you. J. Aday lives in Texas in the USA, and the clever little song she wrote to accompany Klutzy Kantor, “Go Me!” sounds like something a Texan would write. With her sense of humor and her desire to make life easier for children, she has chose the perfect career. “Go, J. Aday!”

J. Aday and I are both member’s of Lea Schizas’ critique group for children’s writers: The GradingPens.

J. Aday, Do you have a time management system?

I start each day by writing a list of tasks I need to complete. I just check them off as I finish them. I write specific long term & short term goals on a calendar with dates to complete them. I’m horribly scatter brained and will work on a dozen things and not complete even one. I’ve got to make myself “todo” and goal deadlines to get anything accomplished.

Your system must work really well, because I know you get a lot done.

Since your full time job is writing and you don’t have a boss, how do you stay focused and produce work consistently?

I’m my own boss. I’m very demanding {worse than any “real” boss that I’ve ever had}. I give myself a strict writing schedule and set definite goals. When I don’t reach my goals or complete my “todo’s” I kick my own butt [not an easy task for a quadriplegic lol]

Speaking of your being a quadriplegic, I’ve noticed that your typing has gotten much cleaner over the years, and though it might be difficult for you, you always participate vigorously in both the submission and critique segments of our critique group.

What traits do your books share?

Each is geared to attract reluctant readers. They combine humor with a lesson. All of them try to encourage children to find what makes them different, special, and/or talented.

For example, in Klutzy Kantor, Kantor Pegasus is a total klutz. He uses his brain instead of brawn to battle a leprechaun, because he’s very smart. In Marta’s Gargantuan Wings, Marta has huge wings and buck teeth. A bird bullies her, because of her appearance. Her cheeky monkey friend defends her in a comical fashion. Those are the only stories that are published.

They are fun books, beautifully illustrated. And I know you have a few more in the works with Guardian Angel Publishing.

When did you begin writing for publication and what has been the key to your success?

I began to write for publication in early 2006. I started taking one class after another on writing. I’ve taken 17 since 2006. In the early days I wrote inspirational and Christian articles for adults. I read the type of essays and articles I wanted to write. (When I switched gears and started writing for kids I read children’s books).

What is your favorite children’s book from your childhood?
It depends on the age level.  Fudge by Judy Blume for middle grade

Who are your favorite authors?

Avi, Judy Blume, Beverly Cleary, Barbara Park, John Erickson, Max Elliot.

A great list; some of them are my favorites, too.

Who has been influential in your writing and in your desire to become a writer for children?

Lea Schizas oversees several writing groups in her Muse It Up Group and holds the Free Muse Online Writing Conference. These have opened doors for me, taught me the tricks of the trade, and supplied me with a strong support system.

I feel the same way about Lea and the teams she puts together for the Muse Conference. I’ve learned a lot there, and most especially, I’m glad I’ve made friends through the Conference.


Would you like to explain the unusual names of the girls in your family?
My sisters are named Tomorrow, Yestraday, & Taday. My mother was a flower child. Not really. They didn’t have flower children in Texas. My mom heard the name Tamora and liked it. She named my oldest sister Tomorrow. My dad   was a jokester. When my next sister was born he thought it would be  funny to name her Yestraday. It carried on through the rest  of us. My mom’s name is Ada.  Her name is in all of ours, but not Tomorrow’s.

I think I know where you get your terrific sense of humor.

I would like to direct our readers to Guardian Angel Publishing:  http://www.guardianangelpublishing.com/default.htm

And your new blog:   http://brainfartexplosion.blogspot.com/

Jessica new blog, Brain Fart Explosion, doesn’t pull any punches. She tells it like it is.

Don’t pay attention to Jessica’s grammar disclaimer. Let’s call them typos.

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20 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Bill Kirk
    Mar 30, 2011 @ 16:37:32

    Very inciteful interview. I can definitely relate to Jessica’s time management comments—without my planner and to do lists, my day would be toast. And even with them, I can be very easily distracted. About the family names—they are terrific. I thought we were being cleaver by having three W names and three D names in our family. Tip of the hat to your mom and dad, Jessica.

    Reply

    • Barbara Bockman
      Mar 31, 2011 @ 01:06:57

      Thanks, Bill, for stopping in to read the interview with J. Aday.

      Family names can be fun. One friend of mine gave each of her five children names that began with “C” and another named her five children after birds.

      Reply

  2. C.K. Volnek
    Mar 30, 2011 @ 16:44:33

    What a great interview. Inspirational, funny, insightful. Wonderful. Thanks for sharing your wonderful spirit! Many Accolades to you.
    C.K. Volnek

    Reply

  3. jack foster
    Mar 30, 2011 @ 20:14:21

    Great interview! The more I know about you Jes, the more I love you :o) I’m a list person too. Sometimes I add getting dressed on my list, just so I could check something off! God bless you both.

    Reply

    • Barbara Bockman
      Mar 31, 2011 @ 01:10:46

      Hi Jack,
      I sometimes put things on my lists that I have already accomplished. Well, after all, they were on the list in my head.

      BTW, I love the illustrations for Klutzy Kantor.

      Reply

  4. Margot Finke
    Mar 30, 2011 @ 20:41:19

    Great interview Barbara. Jessica is a terrific writer, and a marvelous example of courage and humor for all of us to emulate.

    Margot’s Magic Carpet – all my books on one page
    http://perfectmagiccarpet.blogspot.com/

    Reply

  5. J. Aday Kennedy
    Mar 30, 2011 @ 22:34:35

    Thanks everyone. Barbara has been key to my success. I rely on her insightful critiques for my editing.
    Your kind words are appreciated. I think I’ll have to add getting dressed to my to do list. lol
    Blessings,
    J. Aday Kennedy
    The Differently-Abled Writer & Speaker
    Children’s Author of Klutzy Kantor & Marta’s Gargantuan Wings
    http://www.jadaykennedy.com
    http://brainfartexplosion.blogspot.com

    Reply

  6. Nancy Stewart
    Mar 30, 2011 @ 22:36:45

    This was funny and uplifting to read. And right on target with to do lists and organization–a must for every writer. Good stuff.

    Reply

    • Barbara Bockman
      Mar 31, 2011 @ 01:17:31

      Hi Nancy,

      J. Aday is proof positive that an organized person can do many things and do them well. I’ll bet you’re another who’s well organized.

      Thanks for your comments.

      Reply

  7. Barbara Bockman
    Mar 31, 2011 @ 01:02:05

    I’m very glad all of you enjoyed the interview and got to learn a little something new about J. Aday. She’s full of surprises. You have to watch out for her practical jokes.

    Aday, it’s really not necessary for you to get dressed for us. Just describe something elegant–we’ll never know the difference.

    Reply

  8. Pat McDermott
    Mar 31, 2011 @ 06:25:42

    I love seeing how different folks manage time. I would have to put “make a to do list” on a to do list! Somehow I manage to accomplish my tasks for the day, though I often find three cats staring at me when it’s past their feeding time. Very enjoyable interview, ladies. Best of luck with your writing!

    Reply

  9. Pam
    Apr 02, 2011 @ 07:01:13

    Great interview ladies! I too love lists to organize myself and family. It does feel good to write something down so you can cross it off. I do that also!
    Jess, you have been an inspiration to me since I met you when we joined the Grading Pens. How long ago was that?
    Happy Writing and Blogging to you both!

    Reply

  10. Connie Arnold
    Apr 02, 2011 @ 22:57:15

    Thanks for sharing a most enjoyable interview!

    Reply

  11. queenofenglish
    Apr 08, 2011 @ 00:13:07

    Great interview of Aday. I haven’t known her for very long — she took a punctuation workshop with me in March, but I have come to admire her so much. As busy as she is, she offered to interview me on her blog site to help get the word out about Workshops with MM the Queen of English. She’s that kind of person– giving to others.

    MM the Queen of English
    queenofenglish.wordpress.com

    PS: I taught my very first workshop last October during the Muse Online Writers Conference. So, I guess Lea is responsible for the Queen as much as anyone else. 🙂

    Reply

  12. queenofenglish
    Apr 08, 2011 @ 00:19:53

    Barbara, thanks for stopping by Aday’s blog today. Yes, I live to punctuate. I was the kid in school who always got A’s for mechanics and B’s for the content of her papers. We all have our gifts.

    MM the Queen of English
    queenofenglish.wordpress.com

    Reply

  13. Barbara Bockman
    Apr 09, 2011 @ 00:11:46

    Hi Mariella,
    I also admire J. Aday’s spunk and her ability to do so much.
    I was in your Grammar class at the last Muse Conference. Thanks again for more instruction on apostrophes, etc.

    Reply

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