My Journey as a Writer
By Kim Childress
I love reading, writing, and editing. I love working with authors to transform their stories. I love getting to know characters (and authors through their characters). My writing has always been a calling, and over time, I have come to realize a deep passion for children's books.
My career in publishing began at age four, when I wrote stories with pencil-drawn illustrations on stapled, plain, white paper. Growing up, I rode my bike to my library daily. In sixth grade, I received a trophy in the science fair for a story I wrote, "A Planet Called Cravon." (Yes, there was a writing category in the science fair). The following year (7th grade), I was selected to attend a young author's conference.
In college at Ohio Wesleyan University, I helped found a student-run, "rag" newspaper called The Righteous Times (i.e. The Onion), and I interned for Hamptons magazine. After graduation, I worked as a reporter and advertising executive for The Greenwood Gazette newspaper. Along the way, I also worked for a landscaping company, real-estate title company, ice cream store, movie theater, an ear-piercer at the mall, at a fruit-and-nut kiosk, waitress, hostess, and more, until my epiphany moment.
In 1992, at the Midwinter Children's Literature Conference at Butler University, I heard Patricia MacLachlan speak, and I thought of myself as a child, how I rode my bike to my library nearly every day, and how books saved my life during my tumultuous adolescent years. I was deeply inspired, and I decided right then I would write for children.
I began immediately, writing articles on anything that interested me, like termites and carpenter ants, and I started submitting. I also began working at Kids Ink Children's Bookstore in Indianapolis to learn the market. I worked as a bookseller for seven years, and I loved every minute! My bookselling experience led me to become book editor for Girls' Life magazine, where I have reviewed books since the magazine's debut in 1994.
In 2011, I became the middle grade acquisition editor for Zondervan. Two months after I started, Zondervan's parent company, HarperCollins, announced a merger with Thomas Nelson. I got to be a part of the merging of these two companies, and the creation of HarperCollins Christian Publishing (HCCP).
At Zondervan I had the opportunity to edit and work with many amazing authors and their books, including A Plague of Unicorns, by Jane Yolen; Body & Soul, by Bethany Hamilton; Game Changer, by Kirk Cousins; The Ether, by Laurice Molinari, just for a small sampling.
While at Zondervan, I edited and helped write Wacky Bible Blockheads and Wacky Bible Gross Outs, and I acquired, edited and got to contribute to Our Constitution Rocks!, by then 14-year-old, Juliette Turner.
Juliette Turner and I brainstorming ideas for Our Constitution Rocks!
On March 31, 2014, in a complete leap of faith, I left Zondervan to freelance from home. ChildressInk.com actually began in 2009 as a book review site, where I could share great books I could not fit in Girls' Life. Now as a "product developer," I continue my own writing while offering professional publishing and editorial services.
Through it all, I explored my interests by working in a variety of publishing roles, and I was also able to build and maintain a successful freelancing career while raising four children through diapers, broken bones, graduations, and all the adventures that come with raising a large family--some of which I wrote about in the “Focus on Your Child” parenting newsletters, published by Focus on the Family.
Thank you for checking out ChildressInk.com. I find great joy in helping other writers get published. Subscribe to the Childress Ink Blog for more information on "The Business of Writing," and subscribe to Ink-a-Dink.com blog for books reviews, giveaways, free resources, and more information on the Big Launch.
Thirty years in publishing, Kim Childress is an award-winning editor, author, speaker, and reviewer, including book editor for Girls' Life magazine, and previous middle grade acquisitions editor for HarperCollins Christian Publishing (Zondervan). Author of Find Your Future in Art, Kim is the author of 100s of books, short stories, and articles. Currently a product developer in publishing, specializing in children's publishing, providing editorial and PR services, Kim continues to write, edit, read, and review, all while raising of personal focus group of four children.