Becky reads to some cowpokes

You’re in for a treat this Monday morning folks: author Rebecca Janni has returned to The Writing Cave to talk about her new picture book EVERY COWGIRL NEEDS DANCING BOOTS.

How did the experience differ with your second book? Anything surprise you?

Well, just like the first book, I was a wreck handing over that manuscript . . . what would my agent and editor think? Would Nellie Sue’s adventures continue? I held my breath, crossed my fingers, and said a prayer.

And again, when that yes came, there was still plenty of revising and editing to do. This time around, there was a little more interaction with illustrator Lynne Avril during the process. I adore her. She has a great sense of humor, amazing creativity, and a lovely spirit.

I guess what surprises me most of all . . . each time . . . is the magic, like artwork that captures the character of my dreams or the mysterious timing of it all. My father was battling brain cancer when I saw Lynne’s final artwork. There is a page where Nellie Sue’s dad scoops her up to dance with him. That image took my breath away, reminded me of twirling in his arms or dancing on his shoes. I knew then and there that the book would be dedicated to my dad, and I had the chance to tell him before he passed away.

I was so sorry to hear about that; I’m glad you got to tell him. What’s next for Nellie Sue and her trusty Beauty?

I’m glad you asked! EVERY COWGIRL LOVES A RODEO is scheduled for release in May of 2012. The story is done, and I’ve already seen first sketches. Lynne might be painting final art right this minute! It’s set at the county fair, and Nellie Sue is hoping for first place at the bicycle rodeo. But competition is tough, and she’ll have to beat the reigning rodeo king, AJ Pickett. My editor calls this story “a love letter to county fairs” – and I just love that!

It is county fair season, which makes me crave a funnel cake! Anyway, now that you’ve done some author events, is there a story or memory that stands out?

Well, I had a blast at the University Book and Supply store in Cedar Falls, IA recently. The event organizers built a campfire out of jumbo blocks and we added flames made of red and orange tissue paper. We roasted marshmallows on pretzel sticks and sang songs around the campfire. The big surprise came at the end, when four girls from the Cedar Falls HS dance team showed up to teach us all a new line dance. So much fun!

That does sound like fun! I’m guessing the fun will continue with your upcoming picture book JAMMY DANCE?

Your timing is perfect, Sarah! Just today, a friend told me that JAMMY DANCE is posted on for pre-order. It’s scheduled to launch on Valentine’s Day, and I predict a pajama party!

I wrote JAMMY DANCE when my oldest two were just toddlers, one and three years old. After baths, they would run around the house all naked and slippery doing what they called “the Di-dee dance!” Well, boy, were they hard to catch. It took parental teamwork to wrestle tangles out of hair and wiggly bodies into jammies. For me, this story is a slice of life. I love Tracy Dockray’s illustrations. I’m amazed at the movement in them. Her pictures dance! Oh, and the dog. I LOVE this dog! Everything he does makes me laugh, from swiping the kids’ dolls to slurping out of the toilet. He’s fantastic!

That sounds delightfully chaotic 🙂 Since we talked cheese last time, do you have a favorite flavor of ice cream?

I LOVE ice cream. Period. Really, pick a favorite? Okay, wait, I know. My all time favorite ice cream is Dad’s homemade. No skimping on vanilla, cream and sugar. Licking it off the ladle and catching a hint of salt. Mmmm, the best!

That sounds delicious! (July is National Ice Cream Month by the way, everyone go eat lots) Thanks so much for stopping by, Becky, and we’re looking forward to more of Nellie Sue’s adventures and dances with jammies. For more information, visit Becky at her website.


I was pretty discouraged this weekend and wrote a post about taking deep breaths and making time for dreams in busy lives, blah blah blah, kind of a downer. But then I came inside from chores on Saturday and found a wonderful, sparkling, adorable surprise:

That’s right, Nellie Sue is back in a new adventure from book club buddy Rebecca Janni! EVERY COWGIRL NEEDS DANCING BOOTS is available June 9, just in time for summer with your own cowgirl.

Nothing gets me out of a funk like a great book, and the fact that it’s from one of the nicest people I know is a major bonus. So do yourself a favor and let Nellie Sue brighten your day.

What books have raised your spirits lately?