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Ideas are Everywhere!

Dec 10, 2012

Author Kathy Brodsky and illustrator Cameron Bennett.

One day, while walking her dog, Kathy Brodsky noticed a crooked pine tree. This inspired Kathy to write a poem, which she quickly realized could be a picture book. Kathy needed someone to illustrate her book and an idea struck her —her Argentine Tango dance instructor, Cameron Bennett, was also a painter. Although Cameron had never illustrated a book before, he was up for the task. Their partnership was a success. Today, Kathy and Cameron have completed eight picture books together!

“In the beginning I really didn’t know how to ‘go about’ putting a picture book together,” Kathy explains. “I asked many people for suggestions. I think that’s important in life. We can’t know everything, so we need to ask others who may have more information.”

Kathy’s an expert at getting information because she’s also a clinical social worker and psychotherapist—she counsels people by asking questions. “One of the first things I do when someone comes to see me is to take a history,” she says. “I always need to understand the background of the person I’m trying to help.”

Growing up, Kathy’s interest in people meant reading lots of fiction and biographies. “By reading biographies,” she says, “I began to understand the lives of famous people.” Kathy believes that everything we read is stored in our imagination. “My many years of reading, plus my life experiences, have given me all of the ideas for my books,” she says. “Because of all of the books I’ve read, my imagination kind of ‘takes over’ when I write. It’s like having ‘a room full of ideas’ that I didn’t know were there. I may start with an idea or a few sentences, but I never know the exact ending until I’m done.”

Kathy advises young writers to be open to new ideas and people. “If we just look around us, we can write a story about almost anything.” Just like that crooked pine tree.

Read more about Kathy and her work on The Studio.