J.E. Kraft has persevered through several learning struggles since her early childhood battling ADHD and dyslexia. Her passion for story-telling and her tenacious spirit kept her motivated to continue her writing career, and now she is releasing her debut children’s novel, Like Kats & Dawgs. This story is also mirrored from her struggles in adulthood with a powerful story through a childlike lens in the form of family pets. We were lucky enough to sit down with her and discuss her creative process and what is next for the author.
1. Do you believe in writer’s block?
It’s very real. Think about it: plants don’t bloom all the time. Everyone has seasons. For me, the secret is to write anyway. I don’t have to feel great about it. It’s not going to always be easy just because it is sometimes. In some ways, having learning difficulties has been helpful. School didn’t come easy to me. I managed to get A’s eventually, but I always had to work hard. The same thing applies to writing. It can be work and still turn out good. I think the secret is to write anyway. The season will change eventually, and there will be sparks and ideas blooming out of everywhere. Until then, I keep going.
2. What’s been the most difficult part about writing Like Kats and Dawgs?
If I’m being honest, this one was delightful to write. I kept thinking about how my own children would enjoy it. It came together easy from outline to editing. The hard part was getting around to it. I have so many ideas I want to write and like everyone, I’m busy. There’s no end to the demands on my time.
3. Do you hope to visit these characters again someday?
I have a lot of characters still to visit and that’s my biggest hesitation. I left Kit and Doodle at a place that could be easily picked up if I wanted to, but I don’t have any plans to at the moment. I have a dozen other friends whose stories are waiting to be put to paper.
4. Who has been your favorite character to write? Why?
Doodle was a blast to write. It was so much fun channeling puppy energy and enthusiasm. All that cute and fluff just flowed all over the page. I also really liked putting animal body language into the story while also giving the pup a voice that kids, especially, could connect with
5. Where does your writing career go after your children’s novel Like Kats and Dawgs?
Definitely more writing. I’m currently working on a sequel to my adult vampire novel and trying to decide which of my ideas to write next. So far, my process has been to get an idea and marinade in it for several years before starting on it. That said, I have a queue of ideas. The two I consider most both have protagonists around the age of twelve and a more serious bend. One is a sci-fi story about a kid born by accident on an interstellar research vessel and the difficulty he causes an alien first contact. The other is a story about a boy with a mom who has bipolar disorder and his journey during her treatment.
Like Kats and Dawgs is available now in paperback, hardback, and e-reader formats. Order your copy here at City Limits Publishing or on Amazon Kindle!