Welcome to Through the Prairie Garden Gate Hope Lim! It is my pleasure to share your upcoming book Mommy’s Hometown with my readers.
Share your inspiration for Mommy’s Hometown.
MOMMY’S HOMETOWN was inspired by real-life experiences. Since moving to America, I have periodically visited my parents in Korea, and am struck by the continual changes that have slowly altered my hometown. When I became a mother, I took my kids and husband to the river where I used to play as a child. While watching them play and catch minnows and crawfish in the river, I was overtaken by a sense of nostalgia for the time and scenes from my childhood, for everything around the river had changed so much. In the distance, glimpses of mountains brought me back to a time that is long gone. At that moment, I wanted to write something that captured the passage of time and changes that took place. That became the seed for MOMMY’S HOMETOWN.
On our way home from the river, my husband asked if I would still come back to the river or my hometown if my parents weren’t here anymore. I thought about the question and realized that the presence of my parents and their love, which have stayed the same throughout the years of change, are what makes my hometown so special. Like the old river that runs through the city unchanged, my parents’ presence and love are steadfast. So that sentiment became the theme of MOMMY’S HOMETOWN.
Did you have a critique group (literary agent or editor) who helped and supported your vision for this story?
I have to say all of them, critique groups, my agent, and my editor helped me with each revision.
My editor, Kate Fletcher, really helped me to focus on the mother-child connection in this story. At first, I was too ambitious trying to weave a different layer into the story, such as Grandma’s steady presence in parallel with the old river. Then following my editor’s advice and focusing on the mother and child connection flushed out the extra elements and made the story as it is now. I am very thankful for Kate for her vision and support.
What are some activities and events you are doing (or plan to do) to launch and promote your book?
I am doing lots of blog tours for Mommy’s Hometown, and my writing group, Soaring20s, is supporting all the writers and their books coming out this year.
When did you become interested in writing children’s literature?
Two things came together. First, I kept a daily journal of my children when they were younger. It was filled with my observations of their daily activities, funny things they said, and my thoughts on parenting. Second, I was constantly reading to my children, all different types of books. I was drawn to the power of picture books, where a single word or illustration can convey deep emotions. The power of picture books and my observations on my kids came together to inspire me to write my own books and share them with the world.
Time for eight fun rapid-fire questions.
Describe yourself in five words.
Optimistic, creative, thoughtful, sensitive, and idealistic.
What item displayed on your desk gives you inspiration?
Stacks of books I want to read.
What is your favorite childhood memory?
Climbing the mountains behind my parent’s house and catching dragonflies.
Sunrise or sunset?
Sunset. Only because I see it more often and I love the colors.
When are you most productive?
At night when the house is quiet, and I am the only one who is awake.
Riding bikes or jogging?
Jogging. I run every day!
What surprises you?
People who are not kind.
Favorite place to be.
A place with people who have known me for years.
And now for some writing advice from Hope:
My general advice is read and write and read and write. Reading nourishes your mind and writing strengthens your ability and helps you find your own voice. Writing is hard but we all know what it is like to experience that rare Ah Ha moment that makes our story sing. That blissful moment makes us feel alive and can come to us when we spend lots of time with our stories by writing and reading and thinking about them.
One specific piece of advice is to make a dummy to see the pacing of your story and how the page turns will work. Making a dummy is my favorite stage because I can envision it as a final product and often draw rough sketches along with text.
Thank you, Hope. The kidlit community looks forward to celebrating the release of Mommy’s Hometown on April 12th. It’s always a pleasure to feature you and your writing.
For more information about Hope and her books visit her website.