As the oldest of 5 children, and with 5 children of my own, I loved reading Jodi Kendall’s book, The Unlikely Story of a Pig in the City. I enjoyed reading about a loving, albeit chaotic family with five children. Josie is an engaging, complex, relatable 11 year old. This story touches on friendship, family life, anxiety, prioritizing hobbies, crushes, and responsibility. I adore the pig, HAMLET and the trouble she causes. Jodi Kendal does an incredible job of getting you into the head of a tween and making you feel the angst of tweendom. Her writing is lovely and lyrical and her characters make you want to get to know them in real life. I’m thrilled to interview her for Writer’s Rumpus!
Kirsti Call: I loved your book, The Unlikely Story of a Pig in the City. It touches on almost everything a tween struggles with and thinks about. What was your inspiration for the book (besides Charlotte’s Web, of course).
Jodi Kendall: The story is loosely based on a childhood experience of mine. When I was about 13 years old (just a little older than the main character in my book) my college-aged brother saved a runt piglet from slaughter and brought it home for the holidays. It ended up living inside our house for about six months. Her name was Ellie. She had a mischievous personality, insatiable hunger, and gained about a pound a day! While my book is a work of fiction, some real-life piglet adventures are written into the story.
KC: Did you always know that you wanted to write children’s books?
JK: I always knew I wanted to be an author, but I wasn’t always sure what I wanted to write, so I tried everything from picture books to adult fiction and poetry until I figured it out. I’ve been a freelance writer for over a decade.
KC: What is your favorite book that you’ve written?
JK: The Unlikely Story of a Pig in the City is my first published book, but it will always be very special to me because it was inspired by my childhood. I love reading and writing stories about the human-animal connection, and I will continue to explore that complex theme in future books.
KC: What new projects are you working on?
JK: I am in the final stages of editing book two, which is the sequel to The Unlikely Story of a Pig in the City. It will publish in Fall 2018. We haven’t announced the title, synopsis, or cover art yet, but I’m SO excited to share the news with readers! I hope they love it as much as I do.
KC: What advice would you give to aspiring kidlit authors?
JK: Join the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrator’s (SCBWI) and choose to grow and not give up!