Ten Terrifying Questions with Terri Libenson!

by |July 26, 2022
Terri Libenson

Terri Libenson is a New York Times bestselling children’s book author and award-winning cartoonist of the syndicated daily comic strip, The Pajama Diaries, which ran from 2006-2020. Prior to that, she was an award-winning humorous card writer for American Greetings.

To celebrate the release of her children’s book, Remarkably Ruby, Terri takes on our Ten Terrifying Questions! Read on …

1. To begin with why don’t you tell us a little bit about yourself – where were you born? Raised? Schooled?

I was born and raised in Kingston, Pennsylvania. I went to college
at Washington University in St. Louis, where I majored in illustration. More and more, I kept doing my illustration assignments as comics, so I pretty much knew where I was headed.

2. What did you want to be when you were twelve, eighteen and thirty? And why?

At twelve: a famous artist
At eighteen: a famous artist
At thirty: a cartoonist

As for why I wanted to be a famous artist, see question #3. As for being a cartoonist, I’ve always loved comics and have created my own cartoons since I was a kid. I love the combination of drawing, writing, and humor. My dream came true (the first time) in my thirties, when I became a syndicated newspaper cartoonist. I did that for 14 years before I retired my comic strip, The Pajama Diaries, and became a full-time author (my second dream job) of the Emmie & Friends series.

3. What strongly held belief did you have at eighteen that you don’t have now?

I believed that the key to happiness was to become super-successful and impress everyone. How wrong I was! The key to happiness is a book, a couch, and a cuddly dog.

4. What are three works of art – this could be a book, painting, piece of music, film, etc – that influenced your development as a writer?

  1. Charles Schultz’s Peanuts comic strip
  2. The work of cartoonist Lynda Barry
  3. The BONE series by Jeff Smith

5. Considering the many artistic forms out there, what appeals to you about writing a children’s book?

I’m such a kid at heart – I still feel stuck at twelve. So, a seventh-
grader’s voice comes pretty naturally to me. I just love creating characters, stories, and situations that really resonate with kids. The best feeling is when a young reader tells me that they feel connected to one of my characters or that my books have helped them navigate tough situations.

Remarkably Ruby by Terri Libenson

6. Please tell us about your latest book!

REMARKABLY RUBY is about a pair of ex-pals, Ruby and Mia.
Ruby is socially awkward (never says the right thing) but expresses
herself well through writing, including poetry. Mia, a high-strung go-getter, is running for class president. The girls are seemingly opposite in nature but have a long history together. The story revolves around their ex relationship and how one of them has moved on while the other hasn’t.

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7. What do you hope people take away with them after reading your work?

I hope for readers to realize that friendships (or any relationship)
can be complicated, and that most people are more than what they

8. Who do you most admire in the writing world and why?

I am an admirer of so many authors, it’s hard to pinpoint any. I’m
always in awe, though, of graphic novelists who can weave intricate
stories with beautiful artwork.

9. Many artists set themselves very ambitious goals. What are yours?

To try and challenge myself with new projects. That may happen
after the series is over, but hopefully I’ll get a chance to work on
some new things in between.

10. Do you have any advice for aspiring writers?

Try to write for yourself and not for anyone else. That will keep the
process fun and authentic. Also, read a lot! It helps you discover
different writing styles and the kinds of stories you love. And lastly,
if you get stuck, step away from your work for a while (hours or
days, if you can). You’ll look at your writing with fresh eyes, and it
will help you see what works and what doesn’t.

Also, take breaks in general. Those cuddly pets help.

Thank you for playing!

Remarkably Ruby by Terri Libenson (HarperCollins Publishers) is out now!

Remarkably Rubyby Terri Libenson

Remarkably Ruby

by Terri Libenson

Get to know the author of Remarkably Ruby.

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