Happy December!

     I am writing from my book tour bus.  We are going across the country in a beautiful "star" coach that is arranged by my publisher.   We have 24 stops starting in New York State and finishing in Washington State.   I have our bunny who is the main character in my book, THE ANIMALS' SANTA aboard.  His name is Little Snowshoe, and although he is a domesticated bunny, one half dwarf and one half dutch, he looks like a Showshoe hare in that his coloring is similar, pure white with black tips to his ears and a darkening on top of his little bunny nose!  He is a boy, because I wanted to reflect my character.  He is sweet but can be grumpy and is definitely mischievous like my character.  Today he had the run of the bus, but he can't be left alone for a minute or he will chew our computer cords.  He is smart enough to know if there is an opportunity to do so!  He loves to climb  onto our laps and explore any chewing opportunities.   He has lots of delicious smelling hay and a few treats like just for bunnies dried papaya and fresh basil leaves.  He also has chewable rabbit toys made of wood, bark and rope.
     While not at my signings, I am pondering the book I will start in January.  I have one idea about a Gingerbread Baby Band that is also a fox love story.   I love the Gingerbread Baby's personality of pep and creativity.  My other idea is about a Wooly Mammoth, but I need to work on the plot.  I go to sleep thinking that I will wake up with a good idea.   When I speak at the booksignings, I answer my most asked question.  How do you get ideas for books?  It's somewhat like looking for shooting stars.  First you have to be looking upward into the heavens at night.  It must be clear.  Some nights are just right for this activity because earth is passing through a comet's tail or meteor showers are predicted, like the Perseus meteor shower in August.   Sometimes, though quite out of the blue I've seen a huge, bright meteor that lights up the sky and leaves a florescent white/yellow/green trail.  That?s how it is with book ideas.
     Sometimes I am excited by an incident involving my pet animals, or I am intrigued by a fun fact involving animal biology.   A few of my stories are a version of a story I?ve loved since childhood, and I wanted to illustrate them my way, like THE GINGERBREAD MAN.   I never liked that the mischievous little guy was eaten be a fox, so I switched things around in my story.  I often work on ideas when I'm running practice runs, they are often three hours long.  My daughter thinks ideas get juggled around and fall into place like a jigsaw puzzle.  That's stretching it, but no doubt I have gotten some good ideas running.  My husband Joe, plays the double bass in the Boston Symphony, and I have honed many an idea listening to music.  I rarely get ideas watching TV, movies or on the computer, I think those forms capture too much of my attention.
     Good luck with your story ideas, and embellishing the things of this world that fascinate you with stories.

     Your  friend, Jan Brett