Hello, wonderful readers!
Hooray, you found your way to the Oasis―it's great to have you visit! This is the place to refresh your spirits, recharge your creativity, and get a literary mood boost!
Now, stretch your smiles wide and get comfy and cozy for a lovely chitchat because today we have an awesome creative on the KidLit Oasis series... Children's author Beth Anderson is here to share some wisdom, insight, and inspiration with us!
Welcome, Beth! Thank you for joining us on the blog. Please briefly describe your journey to publication.
BA: Thank you so much for your invitation! After retiring from teaching, I set out to learn about the industry and go after writing for children. The local and online kid lit community has guided, taught, supported, encouraged, and offered up so many opportunities. Taking advantage of that has brought me to where I am. After 2+ years, I signed with an agent and am forever grateful I decided on that route. With the benefit of a knowledgeable advisor, I’ve been better able to take advantages of opportunities. After meeting an editor at a retreat and revising per her feedback, we submitted and soon had my first contract—An Inconvenient Alphabet. Though that all sounds so simple, there’s been tremendous time invested, much learning, and the usual bumps.
Q: What do you find most challenging in this business, either on the creative or publishing side of things? What do you find most rewarding? What helps you stay motivated?
BA: I think the most challenging part is crafting an irresistible premise and story that will grab an editor. And I don’t think that gets any easier – at least not so far. The most rewarding aspect is getting the books into the hands of kids, engaging their brains and hearts, and witnessing their joy in reading. Young readers are certainly motivators, but curiosity also drives me forward.
Q: Could you share any craft tools or techniques that you find most helpful to you when working on a project? What does your revision process look like?
BA: Finding a way to organize research (nonfiction can be an organizational challenge) and all the ideas that pop in my head as I write was extremely helpful. I did a blog post about it, and if you’re interested, you can learn more about that HERE.
My revision process is long and varied! :) Lizzie Demands a Seat took more than 90 revisions, but this was largely due to my inexperience when I started it (2015) and also that many of the changes I made were minor revisions. Now I do a lot more “pre-writing” work as I plan and gather information and ideas in a spiral before I draft. I work through timelines, delve into characters and setting, plot the arc, and brainstorm special ways to tell the story. I’m also more willing to take a wrecking ball to the writing to experiment with structure and big changes. One of my favorite ways to revise is to print out the draft (one sided), lay it across the desk, and use highlighters to analyze arc, characterization, conflict, scenes, proportions, transitions, beginning and end, and more. I make notes all over it as thoughts pop on how to revise, and then start pulling in bits and pieces, moving text, reshaping, and reworking.
Q: What's coming up for you next? Please tell us about any new releases, exciting news, upcoming events or anything else you'd like to share with our readers?
BA: I’m very excited about upcoming events with the New York Transit Museum. I had sought help from their historian when I researched my Oct. 13 release, “Smelly” Kelly and His Super Senses, which takes place in the NYC subway in the 1930-40s, and then had a few questions in the final stages of Lizzie’s story. (It’s pure coincidence that I ended up with two 2020 books that deal with NYC transportation!) She shared the stories with their education coordinator, and they decided to create a family program around both books. So I’ll be in NY for the Elizabeth Jennings program on Feb. 20, and do an extra reading on the 21st. Then serendipity struck with a couple more opportunities while I’m there…stay tuned!
Thank you, Beth, it was a pleasure having you! And huge congratulations on the recent starred review from School Library Journal for Lizzie Demands a Seat! Check it out here.
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Connect with Beth Anderson
Beth Anderson loves digging into history and culture for undiscovered gems, exploring points of view, and playing with words. A former educator who has always marveled at the power of books, she is drawn to stories that open minds, touch hearts, and inspire questions. Born and raised in Illinois, she now lives in Loveland, Colorado. Author of AN INCONVENIENT ALPHABET (S&S 2018) and LIZZIE DEMANDS A SEAT (Boyds Mills & Kane, 2020), Beth has more historical gems on the way.
If you'd like to support my work, please order one of my books and/or invite me to your elementary school for an author visit.
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.