CRP Winter Interview Series

Have you ever wondered what it is like to be a children's author? Or maybe you are interested in hearing how award-winning authors got their start? 

CEO of the publishing company, Cardinal Rule Press, Maria Dismondy, hosted an interview series this past winter with children's book authors. Find out the inside scoop on how their journey began and hear about a day in the life of an author! We hope aspiring writers, classrooms and other fans nationwide will enjoy this exciting series!

Mahak Jain is the author of the picture book Maya, which was a CBC Best Book of the Year, a Kirkus Best Book of the Year, and the winner of the 2017 South Asia Book Award. Her short fiction has been shortlisted for the Journey Prize and published in The Journey Prize Stories 28, PRISM international, The New Quarterly, Joyland, and Humber Literary Review. She completed her MFA in Creative Writing at the University of Guelph and has received scholarships from the Sewanee Writers' Conference and the Banff Centre for Arts and Creativity. She hosts and organizes the Emerging Writers Reading Series in Toronto and teaches creative writing at University of Guelph and Inkwell Workshops. Born in Delhi, she has also lived in Dubai, Massachusetts, New Jersey, and Montreal. She currently resides in Toronto.

Lisa's chapter book series debuted this summer and is published by Rourke Educational Media. It is called Star Powers and is about a second grade girl who wants to be an astronaut and uses a wheelchair. Her first picture book, Shmulik Paints the Town (Kar-Ben Publishing 2016), was a PJ Library Selection in May 2016. It was sent to over 26,000 homes in North America. Lisa has toured around the country and met many of these families. She has e-picture books published with Houghton Mifflin Harcourt ( and Amazon’s app called Amazon Rapids designed for at risk readers. Currently, Lisa has four upcoming picture books: A Zombie Vacation (Apples & Honey Press), Senor Saguaro King of the Desert (Little Fig Press), The Singer and The Scientist (Kar-Ben Publishing), Ready Readers: Playing and Learning Together (Rourke Educational Media, 2019). Lisa founded the Missing Voice Picture Book Discussion Group, whose mission is to highlight new picture books featuring diversity and little-known subjects on a monthly basis. Lisa has hosted award winning authors such as Matt de la Pena, Lesléa Newman, Debbi Levy, and Carole Boston Weatherford. She's a mother of a visually-impaired child and she is a fierce advocate for inclusion.

Rachel Dougherty is a Philadelphia-based author and illustrator driven by a love of nonfiction for young readers. She is the illustrator of Your Life as a Cabin Attendant on the Titanic, Your Life as a Pioneer on the Oregon Trail, and The Twelve Days of Christmas in Pennsylvania. She is the author of A Raccoon at the White House. She is the author and illustrator of Secret Engineer: How Emily Roebling Built the Brooklyn Bridge. Rachel is a lifelong history buff and believes that some of the best stories out there are the true ones. Visit her online at

Laura Sassi has a passion for telling stories in prose and rhyme. A graduate of Princeton University and UCLA, she had a successful teaching career before becoming a children’s author. She is the author of four picture books including the best-selling GOODNIGHT, ARK (Zonderkidz, 2014) which was a Christian Book Award Finalist, GOODNIGHT, MANGER (Zonderkidz, 2015), DIVA DELORES AND THE OPERA HOUSE MOUSE (Sterling, 2018) which was featured on BBC’s Cbeebies Bedtime Stories and is a 2018 Best in Rhyme Award, Top Ten, and LOVE IS KIND (Zonderkidz, 2018). She lives in New Jersey with her husband, two children, and a black Cockapoo named Sophie.

Ariel Bernstein is a children's book author. Her picture books include the Owl & Monkey stories I HAVE A BALLOON, and WHERE IS MY BALLOON? (both illustrated by Scott Magoon). She also writes the chapter book series, WARREN & DRAGON (illustrated by Mike Malbrough). Ariel lives in New Jersey with her family.

Andria Warmflash Rosenbaum is a former special education teacher. She's also the author of TRAINS DON'T SLEEP, HMH, BIG SISTER, LITTLE MONSTER, Scholastic Press and the forthcoming book HAND IN HAND, Apples & Honey Press. She writes picture books, poetry and short stories from her home in New Jersey. You can learn more about Andria and her books at: www. Follow her on Twitter at: @andriawrose

Glenys Nellist was born and raised in a little village in northern England. The author of multiple children's books, including the bestselling 'Twas the Evening of Christmas and the popular series Love Letters from God and Snuggle Time, her writing reflects a deep passion for helping children discover joy in the world. Glenys lives in Michigan with her husband, David.

Leslie Helakoski is the author, and sometimes illustrator, of 11 picture books that have garnered starred reviews and award nominations in over 20 states. Her newest release, READY OR NOT, WOOLBUR GOES TO SCHOOL, is a follow-up to the bestselling WOOLBUR and her forthcoming ARE YOUR STARS LIKE MY STARS launches January 2020. Her books, known for reader engagement, humor, and word play also include HOOT & HONK JUST CAN’T SLEEP, BIG CHICKENS, and BIG PIGS. Leslie has illustrated her four most recent books including DOGGONE FEET! (A Best Math Choice by Scholastic Magazine.) She is an instructor in the PB&J (Picture Books and All That Jazz) workshop at Highlights and the SCBWI co-regional advisor in Michigan. 

Wendy S Swore farms on the Sho-Ban Reservation with a corn maze and pumpkin patch that is home to her five kids, two dogs, two geese, seven peacocks, eleven ducks, nineteen cats, and two hundred thirty seven chickens. She farms in the summers, writes in the winters, and would rather chew her leg off than eat something spicy. Rep'd by Stacey Glick, member SCBWI, her debut novel, A Monster Like Me, comes out in March 2019.

Shauna has been telling stories long before she could ride a bike, and some of them are even true! She writes for kids and teens and thinks it’s kinda the best job ever. Kazu Jones and the Denver Dognappers is her debut novel, and it will be released on April 23, 2019! She lives in Idaho Falls, ID with her husband, six of their seven children, and two naughty dogs.

Jodi lives in Grosse Pointe, Michigan with her husband, son, and a couple of furry friends. She discovered that she loved to write when she was 8 years old, but decided to finish school before pursuing it full time. Now she is an active member of the incredible kid lit community and is proud to be represented by Linda Epstein at Emerald City Literary Agency. Jodi is the author of the picture book, WHERE ARE THE WORDS? and the forthcoming picture book, PENCIL’S PERFECT PICTURE both published by Albert Whitman & Co.