Please welcome Lesa Cline-Ransome for today’s spotlight!
Lesa Cline-Ransome and James E. Ransome are a husband-wife team who have collaborated on many award-winning picture books for children. These include Satchel Paige, which was an ALA Best Book for Children and a Booklist Top Ten Sports Book for Youth, and Words Set Me Free: The Story of Young Frederick Douglass, which received starred reviews in Booklist and School Library Journal. The Quilt Alphabet was praised as “a blue-ribbon ABC book that combines bright, folksy oil paintings and lilting riddle-poems” in a starred review in Publishers Weekly and called “a feast for the eyes” in School Library Journal.
1. What is your favorite letter of the alphabet and why?
I’m going to have to go with the letter L. I wish I had some lofty reason, but I like that it is smack dab in the middle of the alphabet, and that it is the start of love, lyrical, letters and Lesa.
2. What do you want readers to know about your latest book?
Benny Goodman and Teddy Wilson is my first book written in lyrical verse and highlights the relationship of two talented musicians who were different racially, socially, culturally and geographically, yet through their love of music, they came together and gave the world amazing music.
3. As an author, how do you know when you have discovered an idea for your next book?
I have a file full of story ideas but the process differs for each book. Sometimes an idea comes when I am researching one book and stumble upon information i’d like to include in another book. Sometimes I search for something completely different from the previous book I wrote (Words Set me Free and Light in the Darkness). I look for ideas all around me–newspaper articles, questions I want answered, my passions, (Benny Goodman and Teddy Wilson, Quilt Alphabet, Satchel Paige) a love of history (Before There was Mozart), the lives of my children (Whale Trails, Before and Now) even obituaries or any story that celebrates the unknown heroes among us can serve as inspiration (Major Taylor, Champion Cyclist). When I start to hear lines in my head or start thinking about the story throughout my day, I know it’s time to start writing.
4. What was the catalyst for creating your latest book?
James is a huge fan of jazz and I am the daughter of jazz lovers. I grew up hearing many of the jazz greats. James and I were looking for a project to incorporate music so a jazz bio was a natural choice.
5. What’s next?
We will soon have two other projects that are jazz companion books to Benny and Teddy, one about another great Jazz musician and another about the saxophone.
More books by Lesa Cline-Ransome:
For more information, please visit her website.
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