Jennifer Rustgi is local mama we met a while back at blogger events. After being an elementary school teacher, Jennifer became a mom and started her own photography business. A few years ago, she published her first children’s book, Much Too Much. We were curious to learn more about her and her new book, A Moon of My Own, so we were happy when she agreed to answer a few questions for us.
LiveMom: How many children do you have, and how old are they?
Jennifer: I have one daughter, age 4 1/2.
LiveMom: What brought you to Austin?
Jennifer: I grew up in upstate New York and moved to Houston in my mid-twenties. I’d visited Austin many times and always loved it. Then in 2005, I decided to take the leap and move here. It was a bit scary because I did it on my own, but I’m so glad I did. It’s one of the best decisions I’ve ever made!
LiveMom: What do you like most about our city?
Jennifer: The vibrancy of the city, combined with the laid back vibe and the natural beauty of the area make for an unbeatable combination.
LiveMom: What would you change if you could?
Jennifer: I love the weather October through April, but the heat in the summer is not my cup of tea.
LiveMom: You own your own photography business. What do you enjoy most about taking photos of children and families?
Jennifer: I love creating images that a family will be able to look at and enjoy for many years. As a parent of a young child, I realize now how fleeting the years are, and I really enjoy helping families document their lives with beautiful images.
LiveMom: What inspired you to write a children’s book?
Jennifer: My daughter! Having taught elementary school for several years, I’d developed a fondness for reading children’s literature, but it wasn’t until after she was born that I got the itch to create my own stories.
LiveMom: How would you compare the process of writing A Moon of My Own with your first book, Much Too Much?
Jennifer: It’s funny because Much Too Much came very easily for me. The concept came to me one morning and the words seemed to just flow. I had written what was pretty close to the final draft (minus a few tweaks) within an hour and a half. With A Moon of My Own, it wasn’t so easy. I had a very strong sense of concept from the beginning, but I spent a few months playing around with different styles and working on getting the working just right. Ashley White (A Moon of My Own‘s illustrator) and I worked really well together, bouncing ideas off one another and responding to each other’s work. It was a fantastic collaboration!
LiveMom: Has your daughter been involved in any part of the process? If so, how?
Jennifer: I got the initial idea for A Moon of My Own from my daughter. We were in our car, coming home from eating out one evening and she asked me, “Mama, why does the moon always follow me?” I knew immediately that was an idea I needed to explore in a children’s book.
LiveMom: What advice would you give to anyone considering writing a children’s book?
Jennifer: Read a lot of children’s books!
LiveMom: With the Texas Book Festival just around the corner, what are you most looking forward to about attending?
Jennifer: I’m so excited to be exhibiting at the festival. It’s one of my family’s favorite events of the year. We’re really fortunate to have an event of this calibre in Austin and I’m just thrilled to be a part of it. I’ll be exhibiting in the Pavilion, just south of 9th Street on Congress. Come by and say hello!