Name: Lin Hawthorne
Profession: Children’s Book Author and Independent Publisher
What do you do for a living? I write children’s picture books! I publish them myself under my company name 3+1 Publishing. Basically, (book) publishing is the business of making and selling books. From writing, editing, and illustrating to then getting books on the shelves of libraries and bookstores, I enjoy using books to tell my own stories and help others tell theirs. We make memories and open up new worlds reading picture books. One of my favorites is “Put Me in the Zoo” by Robert Lopshire. It brings up feelings of pure delight!
What type of training do you need to do your job? A few things prepared me for this job. First, I read A LOT (when I was a child). It helped me immerse myself in the art of storytelling, whether I knew it or not. And reading many different authors gave me a perspective on how other people write. Second, I practice writing. Almost daily (if I can). It doesn’t have to be super serious. It can be light and funny! I write stories about my kids and family and my perspective on life. Writing helps me practice my own individual writing style. Lots of people can write, but there is only one me! Third, I have a degree in a field called “graphic design.” A graphic designer creates art for companies that can go on the web or get printed in brochures. I spent many years learning about how to create art that appeals to people. I use these skills now to give our illustrators art direction, design our books, and manage the printing process. Lastly, I laugh. A lot. At the end of the day, I’m just a mom who loves to laugh with her kids and I know if my books can make my own kids laugh, I’ve done a good job.
What’s your favorite part of your job? When someone reads one of my stories or one of my author’s stories and says “We enjoyed this book because…” What a powerful way to connect with another person––through books and shared experiences. Relationships are what drives me. Getting to interact with my authors, illustrators, and my marketing team on a daily basis creates joy and motivation to keep going and writing the next book, and the next! There isn’t anything better than having the shared experience of creating “something” from “nothing.” I get to do all of my work from home and so my kids get to see me start each new project and I sometimes ask for their input. Sharing my work with my family is good for them and me and fuels my creativity, drive, and focus.
What did you want to be when you were growing up? I’m not sure I had a specific job in mind, but one thing I knew deep in my heart; I LOVED ART AND BOOKS. In the summers I read constantly. And when I wasn’t reading, I was drawing, painting, and inventing new messy projects. Cleaning up was my least favorite part. It was clear I was on a path headed for the arts in some form or fashion.
What advice would you give to a kid who wants to have a similar career? Go find a book. And then another. And read through the bookshelves of your library. And when you run out of books at the library, go to another library. You get the point! Take art classes. Do art because it’s fun and it’s an expression of you. Write. For no one but yourself. Enjoy putting words on paper (or type on a computer). Whether you decide to become an artist or a writer is less important. Doing art and reading will make you a more interesting person. A person who feels for others.
One fun fact NOT about your job? I love dogs. But I never had one growing up. I really wanted one. And the same thing could be said for my husband. So, when we got married, we said, “We’re getting a dog!” And in the space of 12 years, we raised and trained three dogs. And now, in all my stories so far, I’ve included a dog in some way. We’ve since said goodbye to all three and my kids are now begging for another puppy!