Interview with Serena Gingold Allen

Today I’m chatting with Serena Gingold Allen about her lovely lyrical book MOONLIGHT PRANCE. Illustrations by Teagan White.

📚What’s your favorite woodland creature?

 I love bobcats. I wanted to include one, but they are crepuscular (active in the hours around sunset and sunrise) so they didn’t fit with the nocturnal animals in Moonlight Prance or the diurnal animals in Sunrise Dance

📚Did you have a favorite toy as a child?

 I had several Cabbage Patch Kids and I loved them all.

📚Where’s your favorite place to visit? 

Three-way tie between Yosemite, Santa Cruz, and Santa Barbara.

📚Are you a morning person or a night owl? 

Morning person all the way!

📚Let’s talk about your book MOONLIGHT PRANCE. Your rhymes flow beautifully in this book. Do you have any advice for writers who want to write in rhyme?

Thank you! I spent a lot of time reading it aloud as I wrote it to make sure that the rhymes and meter weren’t forced. My advice is to read lots of rhyming books. Read them aloud and really listen to the rhythm. Some rhymes and meter feel forced so make sure you find a few books that flow well. Study them and try to use the same patterns to write your own rhymes. Once you’ve experimented a little and feel like you can hear the difference what works and what doesn’t, I would recommend reading Rules for the Dance by Mary Oliver and checking out the fabulous Renee LaTulippe (she has free videos that teach writers about rhyming and she also offers in-depth workshops, which are not free).

📚This book features lots of wonderful animals. Did you use nature or the outdoors as inspiration for your book?

 I was completely inspired by the animals that I saw around me when I was growing up in the foothills outside of Yosemite National Park. There are a few animals in the book that I’ve never seen in the wild, but most of them were quite familiar to me.  

📚Is there a favorite line from your book that you’d like to share? 

It’s hard to pick a favorite, but I really like, “Coyotes caper to cricket song, Badgers boogie-woogie all night long.”  

📚What is your favorite part of the writing process and why? 

When I write a rhyming story, I love making lists of words I want to use and then playing with what rhymes and how to rephrase something to get the meter right. 

📚Is there anything else you’d like to share about your book? 

Moonlight Prance was the first rhyming story I ever wrote. And it’s companion Sunrise Dance was the second one.

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