What would legendary book editor Maxwell Perkins (F. Scott Fitzgerald, Ernest Hemingway, and Thomas Wolfe) tell his great-granddaughter, public relations guru and debut author Jane Owen today? “I think he would say ‘Keep working at it,'” she tells So Booking Cool. “I definitely don’t think that I’ve done my best work yet. I’m very, very proud of the book that I’ve written. I think that it’s great; I actually read it to my little girl. She really likes it. She loves the illustrations. ” She adds that she thinks Perkins would like the next book in her series.
With her first book Tom Woof & Max the Owl (Waterside Productions, October 28, 2020) and the series overall, Owen aims to promote creativity and community, especially in young writers. In the picture book, the puppy Tom moves to a farm where he shares his love for writing. However, his passion is frowned upon because his community sees his stories as stains rather than art. Owen says the concept is similar to the world’s recent social unrest.
“There were lots of riots around us, earlier this year, and it was really difficult because there are all these really passionate young people who are out in the streets for a really, really good cause,” Owen says. “They were marching and protesting–a lot of them very peacefully–for a very serious cause that was incredibly serious…but there were, of course, a few people in those protests who got so impassioned that they would go and graffiti their messages on the buildings and stuff. And the minute they did that, their message was lost.”
When asked if Tom’s love for storytelling is rooted in frustration or solely passion, Owen says it is the latter. “He writes things down wherever he is just because he doesn’t wanna forget the story…so in that way, it’s not the same as the young people who are protesting. It’s definitely from a place of passion rather than anger or wanting to communicate something from that level. But I do think that people tend to see red when people write things on walls. And there’s definitely a way of looking at that not as vandalism but a form of art.
“That’s the biggest chasm we have between [much older and much younger] generations. There’s a lot of differences in the way that they communicate and what they think is acceptable and what they think isn’t. We have to find a way for those two generations to have a way to communicate with each other because it’s just getting further and further apart, I think.”
Check out to hear more of Owen’s thoughts on the topic; as well as her thoughts on children’s publishing including the editors today compared to Perkins; whether she’ll write a book about public relations; how the pandemic has affected her career; the next serious topics she wants to cover in her literature; and more! For more information, visit the Tom Woof & Max the Owl‘s official website and Owen’s PR firm.