Interview by Trine Grillo
I am delighted to welcome Bill Borders to our Local Author Connections.
Tell a bit about yourself and your connection to the Sandpoint area.
My first career was in advertising in Los Angeles, California and then in Portland, Oregon. Always wanting to live on a lake in a log home we made the move to North Idaho. I continued to freelance but also veered off into other creative avenues: screenwriting, cartooning, and children’s books.
Give us a brief summary of A Horn is Born.
Ol’ Shoehorn lives alone in a backstage dressing room. His only real job is to slip musician’s feet into fancy shoes. Their brash instruments tease Shoehorn relentlessly about his horn deficiencies. But he believes he is destined for something grander. One night Maestro’s baton breaks moments before the biggest show of the year. It’s Shoehorn’s chance to shine, maybe even more brightly than all the brass horns.
Tell us how you were inspired by your own shoehorn to write this story.
When my father passed away I came into possession of his long, dual-purpose shoehorn/back scratcher. I’d see it hanging in my closet every morning for years. One day I wondered why it was called a “horn.” And what would real horns think of such an imposter?
You have included some very funny spreads that definitely appeal to the picture book audience. Does writing with humor come easily to you?
I wouldn’t say it comes easy, but humor is my go-to emotion. A key to effective storytelling is to touch the reader’s emotion. Aim for the heart not the head.
Picture book writers are often told to avoid rhyming text. What made you decide to write this one in rhyme?
Rhyming is stinking hard! And not generally sought after by agents or editors. So why would I do it? This is a story of the magic of music, so the lyrical rhythm of poetry felt like a necessity.
What advice do you have for aspiring writers out there?
Read. A lot. And then write. A lot. And don’t try to go it alone. Join a writers group, find critique partners, attend conferences. The Internet is a goldmine. You can stumble to your computer in your PJs and participate in everything from an hour-long webinar to multi-day workshops, even formal courses.
What’s next for Bill Borders?
Finding the right agent. Reputable agents are a pass key into publishing houses. Like Shoehorn, I’ll hang in there trying to get a break.
Thank you, Bill, for sharing Shoehorn’s story.