Hello KidLit Oasis friends!
I am so excited to be chatting with debut author Francie Dekker and to celebrate her upcoming picture book, Our World of Dumplings, illustrated by Sarah Jung!
I hope you'll get inspired by her journey and find some takeaways that can be helpful to you on yours. :) And there's a giveaway, too!
So, let's get to it!
Welcome, Francie! Thank you for joining us on the blog. Please briefly describe your journey to publication.
A: Everyone says publishing your first book takes a long time, and that’s the truth! I started researching and writing Our World of Dumplings back in 2017. Researching dumplings and deciding which ones to include in the book took the most time! Once I finished the original manuscript in 2018, I joined the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators to figure out how to find a publisher. SCBWI has so many resources including The Book - The Essential Guide to Publishing for Children. From there I determined that I wanted to go the traditional publishing route and started reaching out to literary agents. I eventually signed with Ariana Philips at Jean V. Naggar Literary Agency. Ariana sent out the manuscript to publishers and OUR WORLD OF DUMPLINGS was purchased by Little Bee Books in December 2020. The book will be published on September 6th, 2022, so from start to finish, it took about 5 years to publish!
Q: Would you walk us through the experience of getting the news of your publishing offer? How long after submission did it happen? Were you aware that it went to acquisitions or was it a surprise? How did you get the news from your agent (email, phone call, text) and where were you/what were you doing when that happened? What was your immediate reaction? I'm always curious about how other authors experienced this particular moment of "The News" so, please give us all the juicy details! :)
A: Great question!
It was about 4 months after my agent had started showing the manuscript around. We had received positive feedback but no bites. On the morning of moving to a new house, I quickly checked my email while waiting for the movers to arrive. I was shocked to see the email from Ariana with news of the offer from little bee books. My husband saw the look on my face and asked what was wrong. I was speechless at first but finally managed to shout, "I got a book deal!" I was pregnant at the time with baby number two, but he bought a nice bottle of wine to celebrate the exciting book news after the baby came. Fast forward, with two toddlers we have yet to open the bottle, haha, but maybe we'll find a quiet moment to enjoy around the book launch!
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?
A: With my first title due out on September 6th, the thing I’m finding the most challenging lately is determining where to put my efforts during this book launch. There are so many potential things to do, and so little time. I’m very thankful for my publisher, Little Bee Books, supporting me during this process. Between book launch and two toddlers at home, the biggest challenge on the creative side of things has been finding time to write this summer. I’m constantly working to find balance between all these aspects and my goal this fall is to get back into a writing routine.
Q: Can 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?
A: I love the initial idea burst and getting all my thoughts down quickly, and then slowly, refining the story. I’ve learned/am still learning the joy and value in taking my time. I’ll write a draft then come back to it a week or month later with a fresh set of eyes. I try to let wonderful feedback from my critique group marinate before making changes. I’ll read a manuscript out loud to several people to hear how it sounds. It really is pleasurable to make a little tweak here and there and shape the story overtime.
One great tool I find myself going back to often when revising a story is a webinar from Pat Zietlow Miller When Less is More: Cutting the Fluff to Find What You Really Want to Say.
Q: What do you consider your biggest publishing career accomplishment so far? On the flip side, what are some of the things you'd like to accomplish in the next year from now?
A: Successfully navigating the publishing industry and arriving at the launch of my first book, Our World of Dumplings, due out on September 6th.
This time next year, I’d like to have a second book under contract :)
Q: What is your vision for this book? What kind of impact do you hope it would have on readers?
A: I love exploring, cooking and eating cuisines from around the world. In doing so, I realized how many cultures have their own variation on a dumpling. As a child, I never appreciated my family’s Polish food traditions. I was inspired to write OUR WORLD OF DUMPLINGS as a way to connect young readers to their food heritage, as well as to expose youth to similar dishes from around the world. While we may come from different places, and speak many languages, I believe the best way to get to know someone is over a plate of something delicious.
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?
A: After this book launch, I’m looking forward to working on my long list of story ideas that have been on the back burner this summer!
For folks interested in attending the Our World of Dumplings book launch event, feel free to sign up for my newsletter or follow me on Instagram @franciedekker
Francie Dekker is a children’s book author based in Southeastern Wisconsin. As contributing writer for Edible Milwaukee magazine, she wrote a quarterly “Kids Table” column that explored how gardening, food, culture, and youth intersect. In 2016, she received a Food Writing Fellowship from the Culinary Trust. Our World of Dumplings is her debut picture book. Franciedekkerbooks.com
G I V E A W A Y! ! !
One lucky winner will receive a copy of Our World of Dumplings. Comment to be entered.
About Rosie J. Pova
Rosie J. Pova is a multi-published, award-winning children's author and kid lit Writing Coach. She's the creator of Picture Book Mastery System™ that is proven to help emerging children's writers advance their career and get closer to their publishing goals.
Rosie's latest picture book, Sunday Rain, was featured in The New York Times and recommended by Parents magazine. Her upcoming picture book, The School of Failure: A Story About Success will be released in the spring of 2022 in both China and the USA.
Rosie also loves to visit schools and her interactive workshops empower students to unleash their creativity and grow in confidence through reading, writing, and creating. Teachers and librarians love Rosie for her bubbly, upbeat personality which captures students' attention, encourages them to think creatively, and motivates them to pursue big dreams.
She has been featured on TV, radio, podcasts, and print media, and also speaks on women's and moms’ topics, sharing her journey from a Bulgarian immigrant to a published author.
Find out more about Rosie's online courses, mentorships, and her work by visiting her website: RosieJPova.com
Check out her Critique Services here, her Workshops here, and her school visits page here.
Rosie is represented by Jennifer Herrington of Harvey Klinger Literary.