Callie Metler-Smith is my publisher and the owner of Clear Fork Media Group, Stamford American, and Clear Fork Publishing. She also owns a bookstore, she's a busy mom, author, illustrator, and a business lady. Callie wears many hats, I don't know how she does it all, but it's amazing to know her!
It's always fun talking to Callie, so it's a pleasure to interview her on my blog for people to get to know her -- she's up to something new and exciting every time! And today, she'll share details about a special project in the works -- you're getting the scoop directly from the source.
Q: Welcome Callie! I'm so happy to have you over and chat about the upcoming anthology, A Hug for the World, which is an amazing collaboration of so many talented creatives, including you, not only as the publisher, but as a contributor as well. So let's dive in and talk about the idea for the anthology? How was the concept born? What prompted the creation of the book?
A: The anthology actually came about in several stages. A few months ago before Hurricane Harvey had happened, I got a submission of a short story for kids from one of my authors, Sascha Terry. Sascha's story was amazing, but it was too long to really be a picture book and too short to be a chapter book. I told him I thought it would be best as a short story in a bigger book.
The same week, one of my son's friends died suddenly. She was only a week away from her 12th birthday and the circumstances were very sad. It made a huge impression on my son and I voiced my concern to several of the authors about kids being forced to grow up too fast with bullying and other factors in the world.
After some discussion several mentioned having stories or art that matched the theme . . . A Hug Felt around the World. We kicked it around and then Hurricane Harvey happened. It deeply impacted several of our own authors and illustrators and it seemed like a natural fit to continue with the idea. The project was renamed "A Hug for the World". We felt the world was fitting because the contributors are from not only all over the United States, but all over the world such as Poland, the United Kingdom, and Australia.
Q: Tell us more about what's included in the anthology? What can readers expect? What's the most awesome thing about it and how is it different than anything else you've done/published so far?
A: Readers can expect a little bit of everything. There are many poems for children, short stories, and many pieces of art from the Clear Fork Publishing family. Not only did our authors and illustrators contribute but some of our in office staff did. The best part is that each person's contribution is true to their personal style. The most amazing thing is to see all of that talent combined in one place.
Q: How many contributors are there? Can you mention some names?
A: We have around 60 contributors. It is hard to single out my favorites because I love all of them so much, but Poet Johnny Moore kicks us off with his poem "A Hug for the World" with an illustration by Vanessa Newton, Carina Povarchik provided our breathtaking cover and Cindy Vattathil provided a beautiful illustration for our title page of the Houston skyline.
The whole anthology is basically a who's who of the Clear Fork Publishing Family. There is also a wonderful poem by Rosie J. Pova!
Q: What is your goal and hope for A Hug for the World? What do you what to say to the readers and your customers?
A: My main goal for A Hug for the World is to add beauty and hope to the destruction that was Hurricane Harvey. It is Clear Fork Publishing's way of doing our part to help in the best we way we know how to. I also want it to say to readers that there is so much good that can come out of bad things, and I think the common theme of Hope, Love, Peace, and a hug carry through the whole book.
Q: Where can people order the book?
A: The book will be available through the Clear Fork Publishing website here or on Amazon and Barnes and Noble's websites.
A Hug for the World
Q: What else are you working on that your can share with us at this time? An exciting project or two?
A: We have so many great books that have just come out and several slated to come out before the end of the year. I'm personally very excited about the release of my first Picture book called "Ben's West Texas Snow" which is set to be released in November. We also have a fantastic poetry book called "Shimmer" that will release on October 17th.
Q: What is your vision for CFP for the next five years? What do you hope to accomplish going forward? What do you work toward that is important for the house?
A: CFP's main goal over the next 5 years is to continue to produce books we believe in and add diversity and creativity into the marketplace. I've mainly been busy building a focus as we move forward of defining more what our voice is in the world as an independent publisher. I would love to see Clear Fork grow into some of the smaller houses that I love and carry in my bookstore such as Sleeping Bear Press. We have been so blessed to have some wonderful editors join our team in the last year.
Q: Any advice to writers and illustrators who might want to submit to you in the future?
I'm always looking for unique work and love seeing people's creativity. While we are currently closed to picture books, I'm hoping we will be able to open at some point around the first of next year.
Thank you, Callie, for taking the time to do this interview. I hope readers all over the globe get to read A Hug for the World and feel the love, peace, and hope.
Callie Metler-Smith is the owner of Clear Fork Media Group in Stamford, Texas. She has owned the Stamford American (a small community newspaper) since 2009 and Clear Fork Publishing since 2014. When not working at her corner of the Stamford Square, she spends time with her husband, Philip, her sons Logan and Ben, and her niece Sadey.
About the Author
Rosie J. Pova is a
award-winning children's author, speaker, and writing coach on a mission to inspire children not only to read and write more, but to use their creativity, follow their passions, dream big and believe in themselves.
Rosie visits schools and shares her inspirational journey as an immigrant from Bulgaria and how she became a published author, encouraging kids to persist, push through rejections, and hold a high vision for themselves.
Rosie's upcoming picture book, Sunday Rain, will be released in Fall 2020. It's a story that celebrates imagination, the love of books, and new friendships.
Rosie is represented by Rebecca Angus of Golden Wheat Literary.