Monday, August 22, 2011

Mommy Monday: Meet Kelly Hashway

It's Mommy Monday!

In honor of this week's National Dog Day (Thursday), I'm welcoming the Author-Mom of May the Best Dog Win to my blog.  Kelly Hashway taught language arts for seven years before resigning to raise her daughter and become a full-time writer. In addition to her debut picture book, May the Best Dog Win, she has another picture book under contract and has published over seventy-five short stories.  

Miranda: Did you always want to be a children's author, or did becoming a Mom inspire that goal in some way?

Kelly:  I've always wanted to be a children's author, but before my daughter was born, I was focusing on middle grade and young adult. Ayla loves books, so we spend a good portion of every day reading picture books. And that started to make me wonder if I could write picture books. Ayla put me to the test for this age group one day when she asked me to read her a story about Santa Claus and the Easter Bunny. I didn't know of any, so I wrote one and sold it to a magazine. After that, I wrote more short stories and eventually picture books. I thank her by dedicating all my books to her, since she's my inspiration.

Miranda: Being a Mom and a writer can be an interesting combination.  What's the funniest Author-Mom story you've got?
Kelly:  Ooh, this is a toss up. At my first signing, my daughter was helping me by handing out flyers to get people into the store. She was outside with my mother who was watching her for me. A group of people came into the store carrying a flyer and my daughter came running in after them, shouting, "Mom, I got them to come in for you!" It was precious... and a little embarrassing. 
My other funny story was more of an embarrassment averted. I was doing my first radio interview from home. I had my mother come watch Ayla because the interviewer said we needed complete quiet or the recording would be ruined. So my mom and Ayla went in the playroom and shut the door. The interview went well, but afterwards my mom and I had a good laugh imagining all the funny and embarrassing things Ayla might have yelled had my mom not been there. The best--or maybe worst--was, "Mom, I pooped!" which she feels the need to announce to me every time. Thank goodness my mom was there to save me from that!

Miranda:  Your first published picture book, May the Best Dog Win, isn't just about a 'dog' problem.  What themes and ideas are especially familiar to parents and children?
Kelly:  The main character in the story is a dog named Dash. He loves spending time with Mom, but when the Sweeper arrives, Dash worries that he's losing his place in Mom's heart. The story is really about wanting to be loved. I think children and parents can easily relate to Dash and how he worries about not having a place in Mom's heart. It would be a great story for children who are welcoming younger brothers or sisters into the family. It reassures children that Mom (and Dad) will still love them just the same even though there's an addition to the family.

Miranda:  When writing a story, it's easy to get into "mommy mode" and want to teach a moral or lesson.  But kids these days seem to be able to detect preachy books, and prefer books that just have good stories.  It's pretty clear in reading your published stories for kids that you're pretty successful at escaping "mommy mode" when you write, in order to tell a great story. How do you do it?
Kelly:  Well, thank you! I think my background in teaching helps me here. From working with kids everyday, I know how smart they are. You can't talk down to them or you will lose them. I think people, kids included, will respond to you in the same manner in which you talk to them. I've also learned that a little humor can go a long way. I try to include humor in all my stories because it's something that appeals to everyone and it can really help a lesson come through without having to be preachy.

Miranda: What does your daughter think about your stories?
Kelly:  She's my biggest fan, and I love that. I keep a scrap book of all my published stories, and I have a bookshelf for my books and anthology publications. She "reads" them all the time. She has the characters and stories almost memorized. And every time I get a new acceptance she throws her arms around me and congratulates me. Of course she then tells me that she's had more stories published than me. She even had an imaginary agent before I found my agent! (Hmm, I may have ruined her.)

Miranda: If there's one thing I know from being an Author-Mom myself, it's that we like to keep busy.  So, what's up next for you, fellow Author-Mom?
Kelly:  *Deep breath* I'm working on a young adult manuscript, a middle grade manuscript, five picture books, a story for a horror anthology, and I write a short story a week for an educational publisher. On top of that, I'm busy promoting May the Best Dog Win. Oh and did I mention I have another young adult manuscript idea floating around in my head?

Miranda: Okay, now it's time to really get to know you–besides loving your work as a mother and author, what are three things about you that people would be surprised to know?
1. I can recite the alphabet backwards--faster than I can recite it forwards!
2. I'm obsessed with vacuuming. I have to do it everyday.
3. Before I had my daughter, I could run a 5K race (3.1 miles) in 18 minutes. Now I run on the treadmill while reading a book. :)

Thanks, Kelly!  What an awesome Author Mom story!  To learn more about Kelly Hashway, visit  For a preview of her latest picture book, May the Best Dog win, visit this fReado site.  Kelly is also a frequent Tweeter, so you can link up with her on Twitter using @kellyhashway.
Coming up Next Monday:  Illustrator-Mom Terry Howell Stanley!


Kelly Hashway said...

Miranda, thanks so much for having me!

Anne E. Johnson said...

Fun interview!

Kelly, your daughter has such a beautiful name.

Glad I'm not the only one who works on fifty writing projects at once. It's the only way to live, huh?

Happy National Dog Day, Dash. I hope your sales soar. May the Best Dog Win had me laughing from beginning to end. Just adorable.

Kelly Hashway said...

Aw, Anne, thanks so much! I'm glad you liked May the Best Dog Win.

And thanks for the compliment on my daughter's name. We like it. ;)

Multiple projects are a must for me. I'm only ever writing one novel at a time though. I can have several short stories going and a novel though.

Miranda Paul said...

I agree with both - there's always more than one kettle on my stove and more than one story being crafted.

Ruth Schiffmann said...

Cute interview. Who says obsessions are bad? Obsessed vacuumer writes story about a dog and a vacuum. Inspiration is everywhere!

Claudine Gueh said...

I love how your daughter got you into writing picture books, Kelly. I love the anecdote on how she pulled in potential readers! She has the makings of a good book marketer ... =)

Kelly Hashway said...

inluvwithwords, LOL. That's true. My obsession resulted in a book. I can't complain about that.

Kelly Hashway said...

Claudine, yes, she's my best PR person! She was even wearing a shirt with my book cover on it. She was a walking billboard. Here's another funny thing she does. She occasionally asks me if I'm the author who wrote Dash. (That's what she calls my book--by the main character's name instead of the title.) She's too cute!

Allyn Stotz said...

Whew, I'm tired just reading about what's on your plate, Kelly. Do you ever sleep?

Your daughter sounds so sweet. What could be better than having your little girl hug you tight for getting something published. And for her to have read everything and be so excited for you... well nothing can beat that. You're one lucky published/author/mom!!

By the way, thought this was an adorable interview. Loved your questions, Miranda and of course your answers, Kelly!

Kelly Hashway said...

Allyn, sleep? What's that? LOL. This summer I've missed out on a lot of sleep. But it's worth it, and luckily my body has adapted to it.

Anne K Albert said...

What a great interview. The super relationship with your daughter leaps off the page, and I laughed out loud re her poop comment!

You are one very busy lady, Kelly. I wish I had your energy. Happy writing... :)

Miranda Paul said...

I agree, Anne! Doesn't Kelly have great stories (both fiction and in real life)?

Kelly Hashway said...

Anne, my daughter and I keep each other laughing. We have a great relationship, and it means the world to me.

Kelly Hashway said...

Thanks, Miranda. My life certainly does supply me with great story ideas!

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