Martha Brockenbrough was nice enough to stop by and talk about Love, Santa (the world’s cutest picture book). ETA: this interview was done when we thought the book was coming out this year; the answers haven’t changed.
What’s the Twitter pitch for Love, Santa?
The book you need when your kids are ready for the truth about Santa.
What is the collaboration like between you and the illustrator?
I absolutely love Lee White, who is illustrating the book. He is inventive, thoughtful, and so gifted with the paintbrush. I’d loved his work from the moment I saw it many years ago, and have literally wept tears of joy when I’ve seen the art he is creating for this book.
What was the inspiration for Love, Santa?
When my daughter was in third grade, she asked me for THE TRUTH about Santa. We were sharing a letter journal back and forth at the time, and I wrote her a response that became wildly popular online. I didn’t think of it as a potential picture book at the time. Picture books are about characters. There’s a story arc. It’s not just a mom’s letter to her child. But after a conversation with my friend Samantha Berger, a brilliant author of many wonderful picture books, the right idea emerged. This book has the same heart and spirit as that original letter, but is an even more satisfying and child-appropriate read.
You write books for different audiences—which is the easiest?
I desperately want to write every book I am working on, and that makes the work both easy and difficult. Easy, because not doing it makes me miserable. And hard, because there is just so much want each book to do for the world. In general, adults are an easier audience than children, because adults will often pretend to be impressed so they don’t have to be embarrassed for not liking or understanding something. Younger readers, especially the youngest, will happily look at a dead bug rather than listen to your boring story. It’s humbling and challenging.
Can you share the first few lines of text?
“When Lucy was five, she wrote Santa a letter.”
What were your favorite 2015 releases?
This was a really great year for YA books. I particularly loved INFANDOUS by Elana K Arnold and BONE GAP by Laura Ruby. But I write this as the year is just half over, and my TBR pile is towering, and I hate the idea of leaving books off. I love that we are still publishing new books.
What 2016 releases are you most excited for?
I have no idea. Truly. I have been immersed in work and reading and can’t wait to have my face melt in surprise and wonder that there are such good writers in the world.
(Martha did later email to say she’s excited to re-read Up to this Pointe by Jennifer Longo, which is out in January. )