Episode 20: The Most Wonderful Thing with Jamie Bills

Ways to connect with Jamie~

You’re listening to the Love Tidbits Podcast, where you’ll discover a small, tasty, delightful, bite-sized tidbit of love. I’m your host, LeAnn Austin. 

Hey y’all, welcome to Love Tidbits, episode #20: The Most Wonderful Thing with Jamie Bills  

I love observing and connecting with other humans, especially noting how they feel and implement love into their lives.

We have the amazing Jamie Bill’s sharing some beautiful love insights with us today. Alright Jamie, briefly introduce yourself. 

Hi, thanks for having me here. Like she said, my name is Jamie Bills and I live in Michigan with my husband and our three girls. And I am currently working toward my dream of becoming a picture book author.

So when I’m not working on developing the craft or helping my critique partners or writing and revising my own manuscripts, I am posting reviews about other picture books on Instagram, and that’s been fun. I enjoy, I’ve been able to get to know a lot of different authors and illustrators and reviewers from around the world. And it’s also been fun to start working as an influencer. For multiple publishers, which isn’t as lucrative as it sounds, but it has provided a lot of free books. 

That is awesome. I love it.  I’m curious, like how did you get interested in picture book author? I mean, I’m not even totally sure what that is, maybe you can explain what that is? 

Okay, so when we were just in college and didn’t have a lot of money and Ken was busy, my husband, I would often go to Goodwill to get books for my girls, and I would spend a lot of time and we started building up our library there, and I just started realizing like how much I love picture books and just my passion for it. Anytime we go into a bookstore, I directly go to the picture book. So there’s picture book, middle-grade, YA, and adult. So picture books are just the ones that are illustrated for the littles, is specifically what I’m interested in. They’re typically 32 pages. There’s a very, standard, obviously there’s deviations, but that’s your standard, 32 page illustrated book. 

I love that. I used to teach elementary school back in the day and I remember a few, I mean, picture books are pretty impactful, so that’s so fun that you do that. Alright, so three questions for you today. The first one is: How do you incorporate love into your business and or your life?

Okay so with the picture books, like I was saying, when my girls were little, we would spend countless hours reading together. And in fact, at one point I made it a goal to read every picture book in the library where we were living at that time, because we were just checking out so many, I thought, well, let’s just start at A and go through the whole library, which was pretty crazy, but we’d take like 30 at a time. And we did end up moving before we were able to complete that specific goal. However, we have read thousands of books together. 

Those moments of just snuggling together and laughing and learning and going on these literary adventures are just priceless to me. And as I work on my own manuscripts, I try to keep that in mind. And my favorite type of picture books have both humor and heart, because I think it’s really good for kids to have a funny escape from life. Like life things are hard for kids, you know. And it’s just so good for them to be able to laugh, but also if a book touches their heart, it’s more powerful. They’ll remember it and they’ll want to return to it. So that’s the aim of what I’m writing and the type of books I like to read the most. 

That is so beautiful, how you’ve incorporated that with your girls, that you’re able to spend time doing something you love with them, as well as doing something you love yourself and creating that for others. I love that. Awesome. Okay. Number two. What is something you love about you and why? 

So when you think about that question, sometimes it’s easiest, you know, if someone has told you, and one thing that my Grandpa Lawrence used to praise me for when I was little and a teenager, he’d always say you can make anything fun. And I realized like for the most part that he was right, that I do have an ability to make the most out of pretty hard situations. And I can find excitement in small things. And I love that because it helps me feel younger I think.  Because kids have the ability to be extremely excited about something as small as being line leader or having like five extra minutes of recess or, you know, just little things.

And when I was a teenager, I remember looking around and noticing that adults typically don’t have that much enthusiasm and it kinda made me nervous. Then I thought, I don’t want to lose this, and I actually started praying earnestly that I would always be able to keep that enthusiasm for life and feel those exciting feelings. And that’s been a prayer that’s been answered and I’m grateful for that.  

And I totally agree with that because the time I’ve been able to spend with you, you totally know how to have fun. And it’s so fun being with you and the things that you’ve taught me. So that’s awesome. Okay, before I ask you the last question, where can our audience go to find out more about you?

Okay, so I’m, like I said, I’m on Instagram @jmebills is my handle on Instagram and I post multiple times a week, typically reviews, but sometimes other ideas. And then I also have a website, jamiebills.com, and there I have some booklets. I have different fun ideas of things that you can do with books, as well as just a little bit more information about my writing journey.

And if you’re a writer yourself, I actually have a section where I share tips that I’ve learned at conferences and through some of the education that I’m going through, books or seminars or different things like that. 

That’s excellent. And we’ll put those in the show notes as well. That’s fun to have all those resources. Cool. Okay, so last question. What is your favorite question or quote about love? 

Okay, so of course I’m going to use something from a picture book. And one of my favorite quotes about love comes from one of my favorite picture books that was written in 1967. It’s titled Pickle Chiffon Pie, and the author’s name was Jolly Roger Bradfield. And in this book, there are three princes that all want to marry the princess.  So the king sends them on this journey into the forest to find the most wonderful thing. And whoever can find the most wonderful thing will get her hand in marriage. So two have them bring back extra ordinary things, but Prince Bernard comes back empty handed and it’s not that he hadn’t found anything wonderful. He just didn’t want the oger to scare the princess. He didn’t want to disturb the painting mice. And although the three, no snoozel could make really good pies, he didn’t want her young snoozels to be left without a mother.  

So my favorite quote comes when, the king is talking to him and in response to him not bringing anything back, he says: “You brought back a story of kindness and love and consideration for others, truly the most wonderful thing of all.” 

Hmmm, something to think about. I love that Jamie. Well, thank you, thank you for sharing your tidbits of love with us today. 

Have a good one y’all and here’s to love. 

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If you would like to become an expert at loving yourself, check out my Lovin Me Program at leannaustin.com

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