Kathie: Welcome to MG Book Village, Kathie! How does it feel to be on the other side of this interview process?
Me: Why, thank you, Kathie; I’m a HUGE fan of MG Book Village!!! I honestly didn’t think this day would ever come, so it’s beyond exciting for me.
Kathie: You have the honour of making your writing debut alongside author extraordinaire Colleen Nelson. Can you tell us a bit about IF YOU CAN DREAM IT, YOU CAN DO IT: How 25 inspiring individuals found their dream jobs that releases on October 25th from Pajama Press?
Me: Of course, thanks for asking! Colleen and I interviewed 25 individuals with very cool jobs and asked them how they ended up doing the work they love. We wanted our readers to see their training, what they actually did on an average day, and share advice for kids interested in pursuing similar work. With each profile, we also included helpful information such as spin-off jobs, pro-tips to help prepare for that type of work, and inspiring young people currently exploring similar career paths. Scot Ritchie did a fantastic job on the illustrations, and I’m thrilled with how the final book turned out.
Kathie: What sparked the idea for this book?
Me: Colleen and I started the monthly MG Lit Online Book Club two years ago, so we knew that we worked well together. When I mentioned one day that I had taken a course on writing nonfiction for children and had published a magazine article, she started to think more seriously about her idea to write a nonfiction book about kids figuring out what they wanted to do when they grew up. When she approached me with the idea of working together on a book to highlight a variety of dream jobs, I immediately said yes.
Kathie: How did you choose the individuals you included in the book?
Me: We spent a lot of time searching for people with a wide range of backgrounds and unique perspectives in their fields. For instance, I interviewed one of a handful of female smokejumpers in the United States, while Colleen interviewed a Canadian barber who caters his services to transgender clients. We wanted kids to pick up our book and see a world of possibilities.
Kathie: Tell us what it was like co-writing with Colleen?
Me: Working with a well-established author like Colleen was a godsend. I learned so much from her, and she was incredibly generous in answering all my questions. I’d never considered co-writing a book but discovered I loved having someone to bounce ideas off and working collaboratively. I experienced my share of imposter syndrome as an unpublished author working with someone well-established in the writing community. Still, I learned that I brought valuable skills, ideas, and perspectives to this project, and I’m so proud of the finished product.
Kathie: What do you hope young readers will take away from your book?
Me: My daughter is almost 19 and heading off to university in September (I dedicated this book to her as she sets off in search of her own dream job). She felt so much pressure to have her career path figured out before graduating from high school. I really want young readers to see that many of these successful individuals had no idea what they wanted to do at that point in their lives. Many “fell” into their dream jobs while on the road to someplace else. I hope kids are inspired to pursue their passions and work through the bumps in the road to get to a place where they are doing work they love.
Kathie: Where can we go to find out more about you and your writing?
Me: Colleen’s website is http://www.colleennelsonauthor.com/, and you can find her on Instagram at @colleennelsonauthor or Twitter at @colleennelson14. You can find me on Twitter or Instagram at @KathieMacIsaac, and at the Bit About Books blog with Laurie Hnatiuk.
Kathie MacIsaac is an award-winning literacy advocate who is passionate about books for middle-grade readers. She is a co-author of the blog Bit About Books and a co-founder of the website MG Book Village, which facilitates connection between members of the middle-grade community. Kathie manages the children’s department of the Headingley Municipal Library near Winnipeg, Manitoba, where she lives with her husband and daughter. If You Can Dream It, You Can Do It: How 25 inspiring individuals found their dream jobs is her first book.