To launch our book series, I wanted to spend some time introducing our readers to our authors and illustrators. First up is Maud Lavin who has been with the press since about January 2, 2011, one day after we launched. Maud had just finished her latest book Push Comes to Shove: New Images of Aggressive Women. “Women need aggression and need to use it consciously, Lavin writes.” “With Push comes to Shove, she explores the crucial questions of how to manifest aggression, how it to represent it and how to keep open a cultural space for it.” -an excerpt from her book and review.
I have known Maud since 2001 where we met at SAIC, I was in grad school at the time and fell under her whimsical spell. She has taught me so much about work and life and over the years we have become great friends. She and I first worked together professionally on The Business of Holidays published in 2003, . We have supported each other though book release parties, tea parties, and with anything else that life throws our way. Maud was awarded the highly regarded “Outstanding Teacher of the Year” award last year at SAIC and will continue to inspire young writers to chase their passions. Her list of accomplishments is one to envy.
1. What inspired you to write (or illustrate) a children’s book?
–I’ve written 6 books for adults, either as author or co-author, but Pushie, Jr. is my first children’s book. It came about when Alyson Beaton, publisher of Grow Books Press, invited me to write one. I loved the idea and spent some time then reading different authors who were experienced children’s book writers on how to write a children’s book. They had good suggestions like don’t be preachy with kids and tell them what to do, instead make a good story and show them. It was a really fun writing challenge to write Pushie, Jr. I liked adding in humor too. I worked hard and I enjoyed it.
2. What was your favorite book as a kid?and why?
–I loved the Wizard of Oz series, the whole series, because it was so full of fantasy and adventure and friendship. Also because it starred a little girl, Dorothy.
3. What do you love best about Chicago?
–I love all the friendly neighborhoods, the lakefront, and how there are trees everywhere. OK, that’s three things.
4. When did other people start to notice that you were good at writing?
–My mom encouraged me when I was little. As soon as I learned to read and write, I started writing little stories. Later on I also wrote plays and made my three younger brothers act in them along with me. Actually I think they had
fun too! Then we would perform them for my parents. We lived out in the country so we had to invent games and stories; it was pretty in the country but there wasn’t a lot to do. So we made stuff up.
5. What kind of encouragement helped you along your road to doing what you do now? For instance was there a pivotal moment in your life that you think led you to doing what you do?
When I was in college, I sent in an article I wrote to a magazine in New York City, and they accepted it for publication! I didn’t really expect it; I didn’t know anyone at the magazine and it was my first try (although I did write for the school paper so I had some experience). It was very exciting when they accepted it, edited it, and paid me. And great to see it appear in the magazine.
Thank you Maud!