Hello and welcome to my new blog series, ‘#GrowYourWriting Creator Interviews’. My goal with this series is to shine a spotlight on kidlit creators and their fabulous projects and allow them to share their tips and tricks to grow your writing. Today I’d like to welcome our first participant, Children’s Author and Songwriter, Tara Trudel.
Tara, can you please tell us how the idea for FRACTURED came about and a little more about your process as songwriter for kid’s books?
FRACTURED combines my background in children’s songwriting, comedy, and music
for kidlit. I wanted to write a family music album that was structured like a sketch
comedy show with elements like comedic characters, callbacks, and an opening and
closing number. Once I started playing around with fairy tales, I realized I’d found the
perfect topic for this format. The songs also feature guest performances from some of
my favorite comedians. I wrote with their voices and performance styles in mind, which
was very funny inspiration.
When I write songs for other peoples’ books, I look for the heart of the story and the
best style of music to express it. I was a Musical Director for the Second City, and in
that job, I had to improvise on piano in any style or genre. That musical vocabulary
comes in handy when I’m working on books with different themes and emotions. I’ve
done everything from a dark, lush song for a YA fantasy romance to PB songs that were
beachy, bluesy, or bouncy. The lyrics are formed from the text and from a discussion
with the author where I learn more about their creative process. I feel very grateful so
many authors have trusted me with their books!
What inspired you to get involved in the world of children’s literature and when did you start creating?
I started my career teaching early childhood and elementary school music in Chicago. I
loved using picture books in my classes, and I created my own melodies and musical
activities to accompany them. I was especially inspired by Amy Krouse Rosenthal’s
work. A few years later, I was fortunate enough to meet Amy and collaborate with her
on a couple of projects, including a theme song for her picture book UNI THE
UNICORN. That process was so much fun and inspired me to get more involved in
I’ve often heard it said that in order to have a successful children’s book or project, that you have to know what is a the heart of your story. Can you share what inspired the heart of FRACTURED and what you hope children will learn or gain from listening and interacting with it?
At its core, FRACTURED is about being misunderstood, which is such a relatable
feeling for kids. Each song is sung by a different fairy tale character who shares a
unique point of view about the classic stories we think we know. As the album
progresses, the characters explore who gets to make and be in stories, and how they
can take control of their “ever after.” I hope children come away feeling empowered to
express themselves and create their own stories.
What part of the process from first draft to submissions did you find the most challenging?
I started writing the album during the pandemic. I have two young children whose
preschool was closed at the time, and it was difficult to find writing time. The songs were
largely written in tiny sessions – squeezing in an hour on the rare occasions they both
napped or singing voice memos into my phone when an idea struck. It was hard, but I
never gave up. If any parents of young kids are reading this, keep going! The progress
can be maddeningly slow, but even small bits of writing accumulate over time.
What is favorite part of the writing process?
Those little “Aha!” moments that pull you out of being stuck. There were a few songs on
the album that went through multiple full rewrites. It felt amazing when they finally
clicked into place!
What advice can you give to aspiring kidlit creators to grow their writing?
The most helpful thing for me was to dive into writing communities and find excellent
critique partners. When I started writing FRACTURED, my kidlit Book Club was working
through Scott Dikkers’ HOW TO WRITE FUNNY together. Our meetings were so fun
and motivational, and I don’t think I would have been able to keep pushing forward
There are some wonderful, free resources for kidlit creators to find these connections. I
recommend The PB Workshop Discord, MGHub, and Kidlit411. On social media, my
new favorite site for writers is Post.news, which has a small but growing kidlit
When it becomes available, where can our readers find FRACTURED for purchase?
FRACTURED: FAIRY TALES REMIXED comes out on May 5, 2023 everywhere you
stream or buy music: Spotify, Apple Music, iTunes, and probably some cool new
platform nobody’s heard of yet. The most helpful thing you can do is click my pre-save
link and mark as “want to listen” on your preferred music platforms. It takes 10 seconds
and makes a huge difference to indie musicians like me!
Guess What? It’s giveaway time! Tara has graciously offered to host a giveaway for our readers.
**A critique of a humor piece: a full PB MS, 10 pages of middle grade/YA, or a song.**
To enter, leave a comment on this blog post below and share one way you feel inspired to grow your writing in the next year! Entry period closes on April 24th at 12am PST. One Winner will be announced April 25th!
1 Bonus entry is available for anyone who shares this post on twitter and tags @Tara_Trudel and C_Alemshah.