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From Children’s Book Writer to Debut Novelist

Written by Katherine Ruskey for MagicBeans Bookstore

When You Know, You Know.

It was 1995. I was in 5th grade and I knew I wanted to be a writer. By the end of elementary school, I had already published my first short story, The Wormbees, about a family of worms that lived like people. I even wrangled my best friend, Sarah, at the time to illustrate.

Fast forward thirty years later, I’ve written for several magazines and websites, including Highlights Magazines and Playball! I have six published children's books and a debut novel set to be published in July 2022.

One question that I get a lot is, "Where do you get all of your ideas?" And it's a valid question because there are so many things that I could write about. But it goes back to the age-old advice, "Write about what you know." So that's what I do. I wrote a book about my favorite vacation place, Ocean City, Maryland. Knowing kids’ favorite places to visit and the best rides on the boardwalk was a bonus to writing the book.

I've written about Christmas- because who doesn't love Christmas? In fact my Christmas book, Elfis, about an elf who wants to be a rock-star, was inspired by a time when I overheard someone coming up with names for their elf that makes his yearly visit. One of their kids yelled, "Elfis!" I thought, “that's gold!”

Every year, I have the privilege of participating in the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade in New York City, so I wrote a children's book about the parade. I always tell people that the parade is the happiest place to be on Thanksgiving. New York is beautiful on any given day, but gorgeous on Thanksgiving morning.

And my latest, Inside Out Jammies, was inspired by the traditions that many families- including my own- use to try and get a snow day! Have you ever worn your jammies inside out? Every time snow came into the forecast, you better believe my sister and I had out pajamas inside out and our crayons on the window sills.

What’s Next

Writing books for children and their families to enjoy together is fun and fulfilling. So when I decided two years ago to dabble in the beach book area, I was thrilled to take on a new genre and audience. I also felt scared, unsure, and almost lost- like where do I even begin. And that’s when I thought, “Write what you know.”

Returning back to my beach roots of Ocean City, Maryland, writing a novel based on the “World’s Largest Billfishing Tournament,” in the white marlin capital of the world seemed like the perfect idea. Marlin Week, a novel based on the famous White Marlin Open, follows three boat captains and their families as they navigate the waves of emotion of the thrilling tournament. A cocktail of fishing stories and beach days, with a splash of romance is set to be published in July 2022.

I always knew that writing was going to be in my future. And it was. All because I wrote about what I know and love. So to all aspiring authors out there, write about what you know and love. It makes the journey all that more fun and unpredictable.

To find these books and other great self published children's books, visit our website @

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Please visit our bookstore today and help support Independence, Literacy and Giving Back!


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