Megan Maynor‘s passion for writing books for children has been with her since childhood.
Maynor graduated from Eden Prairie High School in 1992, earned a degree in communications and journalism from the University of St. Thomas, and started to work full-time in advertising.
Book writing continued, but only as a side project. Her priorities shifted right after her first two children entered her life. That worked very well for her — to be at home with little children and write picture books.
What followed was a long journey.
It took 10 years to get Maynor’s first book, “Ella and Penguin Stick Together,” published in 2016. Maynor, who lives in Edina, was not surprised. “It is not uncommon,” said Maynor, who now has three children. “Sometimes it just takes that long.”
Her seventh book, “Not Enough Lollipops,” was published in February.
For this year’s Minnesota Book Awards, Maynor is a finalist in the Children’s Literature category for her book “Henry at Home,” illustrated by Alea Marley. There are four books in the running. Winners will be announced in a ceremony on April 26.
EPLN caught up with Maynor to talk about her journey as a children’s book writer.
The support network
Maynor credits The Loft Literary Center (TLLC) in the Twin Cities, where she took classes. That was foundational for her.
“I was in sort of learning the ropes and also connecting with other people working on children’s literature,” Maynor said.
She built her writing skills and learned how the industry works at The Loft.
Maynor likens TLLC to having a critique and reassurance group. “You get feedback, and that really helped me a lot,” she said. In addition, Maynor finds the group members offering reassuring support “when you start accumulating rejections.”
Maynor also leans on a couple of editors and one literary agent she engages when something she writes is ready to be a book. They all worked hard for years to establish a strong rapport among themselves, and like working together.
“With a relationship developed over the years, you go in with full confidence that you will not have any communication barrier,” she said with conviction.
A direct line to the editors at different publishers is a unique service Maynor receives from her literary agent. They know the kind of stories publishers need at a particular time. She thinks such information is helpful for her.
Maynor’s literary agent “is in the game, a partner for your work and alerts me about a good time to move on a project.” In her view, that is very important to succeed.
One such success story is her current book, “Not Enough Lollipops.” Although the book is written for little kids, the message it delivers is pertinent for adults. It addresses the issue of false insecurity in our community.
“How we behave when we think there’s not enough,” said Maynor, articulating her thought process. “This is the theme I want people to infer from a simple picture book.”
But she did not want to hit them over the head with it.
To attract kids, she envisioned the role a lollipop would play in her book. It is colorful, and it excites young children.
Not to divulge the full story, the book’s about a raffle for lollipops at an elementary school and the uncertainty among kids as to how many would win the raffle and how many might not.
Readers will get a chance to meet Maynor at her book launch for “Not Enough Lollipops” at 1 p.m. Sunday, Feb 27, at Lake Monster Brewing, 550 Vandalia St., St. Paul, with jazz music from The 4 Tones. Book sales are provided by Red Balloon Books.
St. Paul’s mask mandate has been lifted. Lake Monster Brewing encourages people to still wear masks while there.
Maynor will also have an Online Book Launch at 6 p.m. Wednesday, March 2, with illustrator Micah Player. It is hosted by Wild Rumpus Books. Registration is free but required.
Editor’s note: Vijay Dixit is the chairman of Shreya R. Dixit Memorial Foundation, a 501-c-3 nonprofit advocating distraction-free driving. He is also a board member of Eden Prairie Local News and a member of the EPLN Development Committee and journalism team.
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