Rebecca Janni is the author of EVERY COWGIRL NEEDS A HORSE, the adorable picture book released today from Dutton Children’s Books!

Becky, thank you so much for visiting The Writing Cave. How excited is everyone in your family that release day is finally here?

May I answer with a photo?

Oh, and those aren’t all my kids . . . though I would claim them!

I would say there’s some definite excitement there 🙂 Were you a cowgirl growing up?

I wasn’t a true cowgirl like my amazing illustrator, Lynne Avril, but a girl can always pretend. Growing up, I loved to ride in the back of Dad’s pick-up truck with braids in my hair and his cowboy hat on, snapping my fingers to Elvira or whatever eight-track tune floated out the back window. Dad’s wildest cowboy hat even had a rattlesnake skin band. He’d gone to Wyoming with some buddies, and they decided to try rattlesnake hunting. He served up rattlesnake stew and had the skin made into a band — rattle and all!

And I loved to go horse-riding Nellie Sue style. We lived close to Saylorville Lake, and I would often saddle up my bike and hit the trails.

Your dad sounds like he has some good stories as well! How does your writing process work?

Is there a process? No, I’m kidding. There is a process, but I’m not very disciplined right now. I use the back few pages of my journal as an idea pot. I jot down a few words or sentences about anything with story potential. When I have time to write, I use those ideas to get started. After that, the process is pretty textbook. Rough draft. Revise. Revise. Revise. I’m fortunate to have some gifted writer friends who are willing to offer their “compliments and suggestions” (as my daughter’s kindergarten teacher likes to call them).

What things are you doing to promote your book?

I have a couple of interviews lined up with local media and friendly bloggers (like you!), a handful of book signings, and a few school visits. Our family will soon be traveling to Asia to adopt a little deaf boy, so I have to be careful not to fill the calendar.

Oh wow, that’s awesome. It really is an exciting time for your family! Looking back on 2009, what were your three favorite reads last year?

Fairest of Them All by Jan Blazanin, Mia the Magnificent by Eileen Boggess, and The Snows by Sharelle Byars Moranville

Do you own an electronic reader? Do you have an opinion on ebooks?

I confess — I’m pretty attached to paper. Friends with ebooks tout their transportability — so many novels in one small carry-all — and that is tempting. But especially where picture books are concerned, it’s hard to let go of the whole experience . . . sitting in an easy chair, child in lap, paging through a beautifully bound book. Ahhh. Heaven. 

What advice do you have for aspiring authors?

Read. Read. Read.
Write. Write. Write.
Join SCBWI and plug into a local writers’ group.
And most of all, love the journey.
Savor what you read. Treasure what you write. Cherish the friendships made in those writers’ groups . . . I know I do.


Super good advice! There’s nothing like having a group of people going through the same thing. What are you working on next?

I have two picture books under contract. One’s the sequel to this first book, called Every Cowgirl Needs Dancing Boots. The second book, Jammy Dance, comes out with FSG. I just saw first sketches from illustrator Tracy Dockray, and they are darling!

Other works-in-progress, but not under contract, range from picture books (fiction and nonfiction) to middle grade to one ya novel. My oldest son keeps asking for a “boy” book, because I think he wants the next dedication.

I’m a cheese freak, so I have to ask: what’s your favorite cheese and why?

Oh wow. Well, I studied in France during college, so any good French cheese takes me back to a special time and place . . . Gruyere, Brie, Cambembert . . . c’est magnifique!

Thanks so much for taking time out of your unbelievably busy life, Becky! Congratulations on your debut picture book, EVERY COWGIRL NEEDS A HORSE and good luck with everything else. Learn more about Becky at her website.