Three Questions With Tracy Newman

In each installment of "Three Questions With," we ask a different PJ Library author or illustrator questions about their work, their process, and interests. This month we're chatting with Tracy Newman, author of Shabbat HiccupsUncle Eli's Wedding, and Shabbat Is Coming!

In June, we sent Tracy Newman's newest book, Shabbat Hiccups, to some subscribers in our 4-5 year old age group. We talked to Tracy about the inspiration for the book, quick fixes for hiccups, and advice for aspiring writers.

What inspired Shabbat Hiccups?

I was initially inspired to write Shabbat Hiccups because I wanted to write an havdalah story with a twist. From my experience being a mother of young children, I know that many evening traditions are often more challenging with kids who really want (or need) to go to sleep at that time. Playing on that idea, I thought that having the hiccups might be a fun complication for a family to manage.

Do you have a really good hiccup remedy you can share with us?

I enjoyed researching many different and interesting hiccup remedies as I wrote The Shabbat Hiccups. The one I rely on the most, which didn't make it into the book, is drinking upside-down and backwards from a glass of water. If anyone wanted to share their favorites with me, I would love to hear what other people find to be the most useful.

Do you have any advice for aspiring young writers or poets?

My advice to young writers and poets would be not to give up. So much of success in writing comes from persistence. It is very easy to get discouraged since the publishing world involves so much rejection, but I think that having the ability to keep writing and submitting is vital. Having a group (or even a couple) of writing friends is also enormously helpful both for feedback and input on how to improve your writing but also for moral support when (or if) those rejections come. 

Tracy Newman's writing inspiration comes primarily from her daily adventures raising her children. For Tracy, early morning wakeups, bath time, and car trips are an abundant source of story ideas. In addition, Tracy can often be heard making up off-key rhyming songs to encourage her children to get dressed, eat their dinner, or clean up after themselves. Since she was young, Tracy has loved words and writing. She was declared Class Poet in second grade and has always been proud of that title.