Meet A Lofter: Audrey Day-Williams

by Sandra Budiansky

It’s the return of our Meet a Lofter series, where we go deep into the lives of our fellow writers. This time we’re talking to the very funny picture book author Audrey Day-Williams. You will find Audrey at many Writers’ Loft workshops and classes.If you happen to see Audrey around the Loft, make sure you say hi!

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Q: Give us a quick bio of yourself.

I grew up in Los Angeles, California, where, like all little girls, I dreamt of being a hobo when I grew up. Sadly (or not), a life on the rails was not for me. I traded in daydreaming for a career in marketing.

I currently live in Cambridge, Massachusetts, with my husband, our eight-year-old daughter, and her boisterous cadre of imaginary friends.

I write picture books, poetry, the occasional song parody, and the frequent bad mom joke.

My poem “Wanderlust” was published in the Today’s Little Ditty 2016 anthology, and I have two poems included in The Writers’ Loft second anthology, An Assortment of Animals (Fall ’18)—I am super excited about this collaboration.

Q: Do you have a “day job”? What is it? How do you balance your work life and your writing life?

I have two jobs: stay-at-home mom and writer. One pays me in love, and the other pays me in Litcoin—the currency of justified daydreaming.

I treat my writing like I would a part-time job. OK, sure, sometimes my pantsuit is more flannel than linen but, when you’re working for imaginary currency, monkeys-in-space PJs seem like appropriate attire.

I also make sure I have deadlines. I attend two picture book critique groups a month, one at the Writers’ Loft and one that I run Cambridge.

Q: How did you find the Loft?

I’m not sure if it was through my friend Betsy McGovern, who met Josh Funk at an author visit at her daughter’s school, or if it was when I met Josh at the NESCBWI16 conference. Either way, I’ve been coming to the loft since May 2016—it has changed my writing life.

Q: Is there an upcoming project that you’re excited about? 

I can’t wait to see Priscilla Alpaugh’s illustrations for my anthology poems. I was floored when I learned she was the one illustrating them. Her art is gorgeous. Currently, I’m working on the last edits for three picture books. There are more that are having a time-out. I guess the one I’m most excited about is a picture book about the lifecycle of an anthropomorphized seed who is shocked when it starts to split in half. It just wants to know what is happening to it—I’m done with the manuscript, I’m just charming-up and fact-checking the backmatter.

Q: What’s your writing style?

I adore writing short rhyming poems. If I’m stuck on a project, I’ll often unstick myself with some rhyming silliness. I do currently have a rhyming manuscript out for rejection. In the future, I think I’ll stick to prose for anything over 200 words.

Oh, wait, did you mean style, like am I a pantser or a planner? I am TEAM PANTS all the way.

Q: What’s the best writing advice you’ve heard?

That’s tough. Can I pick two pieces of advice? First, to the 100+ people who told me to join a critique group: Thank you! Second, someone said to let my manuscript breathe after big edits. This is so hard. I am not a patient person. But it has improved my process and my manuscripts. Did I mention how hard the waiting is?

Q: What is something you’re currently enjoying (TV show, movie, book—does not have to be writing related)?

I’m impatiently waiting for Netflix to release season 2 of The Good Place. Also, Scandal. I’ve been enjoying the West Wing Weekly podcast. 

Sandra Budiansky is a co-editor of Loftings. She is perpetually working on a YA novel while dabbling in picture books and essays. You can usually find her sitting at the big table at the Writers’ Loft.

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