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#GrowYourWriting Creator Interview: Author, Andrew Hacket

Welcome to the #GrowYourWriting Creator Interviews blog series in 2024. I’m thrilled to feature talented kidlit creators this year and spotlight their beautiful work and inspiring journeys. 

Today, I welcome Author, Andrew Hacket who welcomes not one but three picture books into the world in 2024!

You can connect with Andrew on X/TwitterInstagram, and his website.

Stay tuned to the end of the interview for your chance to win a 30 Minute Zoom “Ask Me Anything” or brainstorming session with Andrew.

1 – What inspired you to pursue a career in children’s literature, and when did you start creating?

Connecting with children has always been a strength of mine. It is something that comes naturally to me and the main reason I became an elementary school teacher. Through my time working with students I have read thousands of books. I love how a book can captivate and transport a child. The desire to be able to do this myself was one of the main reasons I decided to pursue children’s literature. Another motivating factor for me was to be an inspiration to my children and my students. Writing is hard and getting published is harder. This goal had no guarantee of success and plenty of lows along the way. I wanted my kids to see all of those and the hard work that went into accomplishing the end goal. If they can be even the tiniest bit motivated to strive for their own personal goals as a result of my example, then mission accomplished! While I had the dream of becoming a picture book author for most of my life, I only began taking steps towards learning the craft and actively creating in 2020.

2 – Can you share your kidlit journey thus far with our readers?  What writing/illustrating credentials, awards, contest wins, or other recognition would you like to share?

I am extremely fortunate to have 3 titles releasing this year. Ollie, the Acorn, and the Mighty Idea just released from Pagestreet Kids on April 9 with illustrations by Kaz Windness. Coming up next I have Curlilocks & the Three Hares releasing on May 1 from The Little Press with illustrations by Jan Dolby. After that, on May 28 I have Hope and the Sea releasing from WorthyKids with illustrations by Svetla Radivoeva. If that wasn’t enough, my haunted, middle-grade short story, The Tunnel, was selected for inclusion in the SCBWI and Henry Holt anthology, The Haunted States of America, which releases in July.

3 – What part of the process, from the first draft to submissions, do you find the most challenging, and how do you overcome that?

First drafts are always the hardest part of the process for me. I like to revise as I go and that can make letting the words flow really challenging. Fast drafting events like Mindy Alyse Weiss’ critique train and Hollie Wolverton’s First Draft Fridays have helped me in the past. Similarly, I will go through periods of time where I make a focused effort to write for 10-15 minutes daily. My PB Rising Stars pal, Trenise Ferreira’s success with this strategy is what prompted me to give it a try, although I am nowhere near as consistent as she was.

4 – Can you tell our readers more about your journey from ideas to publication?

Each book has had its own unique path to publication, but for the purpose of this question I will focus on Ollie, the Acorn, and the Mighty Idea.

Ollie was inspired by summer conversations with my children about the implications of swallowing a watermelon seed. My imagination then led me to wonder what would happen if you swallowed a different type of seed? Perhaps and acorn!

This idea merged with a preexisting idea about a small boy named Twig and all of the marvelous things he COULD do because of his size.

Drafting for this story went smoothly except for the ending. I tried very hard to not have Ollie eat his bully. Yes, I said it, he eats his bully. My alternatives felt forced and eventually my wife set me straight and said, “You know what needs to happen” which is how I ended up with the current version.

The publisher, Pagestreet Kids, and editor, Kayla Tostevin, showed an early interest in the story and asked for an R&R. We went back and forth a handful of times until all parties involved were satisfied. This included character name changes and a massive brainstorm list of titles.

I was pleasantly surprised when I was asked my input on illustrators. After seeing some of her work online, I suggested Kaz. I was delighted when I was told Kaz had signed on for the project. Kaz’ work is phenomenal and she brought this manuscript to life in a way I could never have imagined.

5 – What overall advice would you like to give aspiring kidlit creators to grow their writing?

My first advice is always to find their people. The highs and lows of this journey are always made better by having a crew of creators in your corner. Not only do they help you elevate your writing but they are there for emotional support and celebration, too! I also love kidlit contests as a means to experiment and push our craft. The small word count is the ideal place to try a different style or to go outside of your comfort zone in a bite-size piece. This is also a great place to make connections with other creators and begin building that support network I mentioned above.

6 – What’s next for you as a creator?

For now my focus is on promoting these three releases! I have blog features, bookstore events, and school visits lined up into the summer and am so excited to see these books in the hands of children. Looking further ahead, I hope that there are more books on the horizon, but we will just have to wait and see what the publishing companies have to say about that.

Are you participating in the #GrowYourWriting Challenge this year? Andrew has some advice to share on how to earn your CULTIVATE CONNECTIONS badge.

As I mentioned earlier, kidlit contests are a great way to build your network, especially if you are new to the community. Very often you can trade critiques with other participants. These can lead to long-term critique partners and groups. Also, read through the entries and engage with the participants in the comments. You never know who you will meet and you never know how those relationships will impact future you.

Guess What? It’s giveaway time! Andrew has graciously offered to giveaway a 30 Minute Zoom “Ask Me Anything” or brainstorming session.

To enter, leave a comment on this blog post below! The entry period closes on April 26 2024, at 12 am PST. One Winner will be announced on April 27, 2024.

1 Bonus entry is available for anyone who shares this post on X/Twitter, follows, and tags @AndrewCHacket and @C_Alemshah on X/Twitter.


  • Carrie Karnes-Fannin

    I learn something new from every one of Andrew’s interviews. I loved this tidbit: “eventually my wife set me straight and said, “You know what needs to happen” which is how I ended up with the current version.” Spouses can be the perfect writing resource – they’re very direct. lol. Thank you both for sharing this great post!

  • Mariana

    Thanks for sharing your experience, Andrew! I’m amazed about your 3 books releasing this year and I wish you the best. I like what you suggested about writing consistently 15 mins a day. I’ve never tried it and I’m looking to have more structure in my writing times, so I’ll give it a try. I also like what you mentioned about growing connections in the writing community, that’s such a good advice. Thanks for this interview!

  • Steena Hernandez

    What an inspiring interview! So excited to hear about all of your books! I’ve requested your three picture books at my library. Congrats on your MG short story too! Thanks for sharing, Andrew and Christine!

  • Stephanie

    Great interview and advice! Congratulations on your 3 books coming out, that’s an amazing accomplishment! I loved your advice for aspiring kitlit authors. Thank you for sharing!

  • Maritere R. Bellas

    Amazing interview! Thank you, Andrew, for sharing about your writing process and experience. So helpful for aspiring authors! Will order your books at my local library! Excited to read them all!
    Thank you, Christine!

  • Christine Alemshah

    Hello everyone! Thank you for taking part in Andrew’s giveaway!

    Andrew – It was a joy having you on my blog and sharing your journey and celebrations as you welcome your debut books into the world!

    It’s time to reveal the giveaway winner — Charmaine L Langlois

    Congratulations!!! I will be in touch to connect you with Andrew shortly!

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