Easy-to-read doesn’t mean easy to write! Alissa Thielges, author of our new Spot Wild Cats series, stopped by to talk about her writing process.
Q: Spot Wild Cats is a series for kids just learning to read. What challenges did you encounter writing at this low level?
AT: It’s hard to strike that perfect balance of fun and informative with so few words. There were times when I had a great fact, but it just didn’t fit with the rest of the text or for the age level.
Q: After writing this series, what’s your favorite wild cat?
AT: I’ve always thought tigers were pretty awesome, but lynx might be my new favorite. They’re so fluffy!
Q: When you only have about 100 words in the main text, how do you decide what to keep in and what to leave out?
AT: While researching, I thought about what makes each cat unique. I chose the Spot vocab words first and then structured the rest of the story, highlighting the interesting facts I found. All the cats have paws, legs, and jaws, but they use them in different ways. I focused on those differences, so the reader learns something new in each book.
Q: What was your favorite book that you read as a child?
AT: I loved the A to Z Mysteries series by Ron Roy. Those books really sparked my interest in reading. I also have fond memories of long reading sessions with The Adventures of the Bailey School Kids and Encyclopedia Brown. I guess I liked mysteries!
Q: When you’re not writing, what are your favorite things to do?
AT: Read of course! I also love a good game night. (I’m only slightly competitive.) When it’s nice out, I like to camp and explore nature with short hikes and bike rides.