You’re Never Too Old or Too Late to Follow Your Dreams with Author PJ McIlvaine

PJ McIlvaine has been published in The New York Times and Newsday. PJ is also a regular contributor for the Children’s Book Insider newsletter, and a co-host of #PBPitch, a Twitter pitch party for picture book creators.

PJ has written across ages and genres, including a screenplay for Showtime which became the movie My Horrible Year. Her picture book, Dragon Roar, releases on Oct. 19, 2021 through MacLaren-Cochrane Publishing, Inc, which specializes in books for readers with dyslexia.

You’ve had quite a career in writing, including writing a movie for Showtime (which earned a daytime Emmy nomination, very cool). What has that been like and why did you switch to kidlit? 

Well, it’s like being on a roller coaster without a harness or safety belt. Sometimes you have to hang on and hope when the rides over, you haven’t broken every bone in your body. I consider myself a Jill of all genres when it comes to writing: I started out writing short stories, then poems, song lyrics, then eventually novels and screenplays but nothing in the kid-lit arena. Then my mother died (I was her caretaker for years), and I was now a grandma. I read picture books to the babies, and I realized hmmm, this was something I could write. So then I immersed myself fully in picture books, and soon graduated to middle grade and young adult. I have a good feel for kid lit—I cut my teeth on Nancy Drew and Trixie Belden growing up. So given where I was in my life, it was a natural evolution.   

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