PART 2: The Interview
Hello, dear readers, and welcome back!
As promised, I have Author Kathleen M. Blasi as my guest this week for Part 2, the continuation from last week's post in which I I reviewed Kathleen's latest picture book, Milo's Moonlight Mission (if you missed Part 1, find it here).
So, let's get to know Kathleen better and hear what she has to share with us!
Welcome, Kathleen, and happy book birthday! Milo's Moonlight Mission releases today -- how exciting!
I'd love to find out what the backstory is that led to this moment. Please briefly describe your journey to publication, leading up to this book. When and how did you first get started writing for children and what was the path for you in becoming an author?
I fell in love with picture books when my children were young. It made me remember the picture books I loved as a child—those stories stuck with me, well into adulthood. Books like Ferdinand, The Snowy Day, Make Way for Ducklings, and Blueberries for Sal. I read them over and over.
I had always loved to write and set out to create stories that children (and parents) would want to read again and again. What was the trick? I studied the craft, took some classes, and connected with other children’s writers. My first published book, A NAME OF HONOR, began as a picture book, mainly because I made two false assumptions: 1: that picture books are short, so therefore easy to write (Ha!), and 2: that I was not capable of writing a novel. I learned both lessons, and A NAME OF HONOR was published as a middle-grade historical fiction book in the educational market. That was 2006. Shortly after that, my nonfiction book about youth sports came out. Then…many years of writing, submitting, revising, critiquing, revising, and most importantly…learning. Learning to improve my writing, learning to be both patient and persistent. In 2020, HOSEA PLAYS ON, illustrated by Shane Evans, was published with Sterling Children’s Books. I’m so pleased that my second published picture book will be out in the world on June 15th! MILO’S MOONLIGHT MISSION, illustrated by Petronela Dostalova, published by Yeehoo Press, is a joy to see come to fruition.
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?
On the creative side, showing up is difficult when self-doubt tells you that you are not worthy of doing so. In the face of the required patience and inevitable rejection that accompanies putting yourself out there, it’s sometimes hard to keep going. But I firmly believe that hard work and opportunity will eventually intersect. I just have to remind myself of that every now and then.
There are two things that I find most rewarding—obviously, seeing a manuscript come take the form of a real book is very rewarding. But also rewarding is finishing a project I’ve put so much into. When I discover nuggets for a story in the research process—I think my heart actually skips a beat. It’s thrilling to see a story come together, when in the beginning it feels like a big mess. Where do I begin? What do I include? What do I need to take out for the sake of telling this story in the best way possible? Sharing my works-in-progress with my critique partners and being lifted by their encouragement is phenomenally rewarding. Meeting readers through author visits, seeing how my journey can contribute to their seeing themselves as writers is a true gift.
I stay motivated by recognizing all the little things along the way. I can’t let publication be the measure of my success. I need to pause and recognize that revision is an accomplishment. Submitting polished work to editors or agents is an accomplishment. And validating my choice to stay in the game by investing in my writing career—by attending workshops and conferences—is an accomplishment. Staying connected with my writing peers, to share both the joys and the disappointments, helps keep me motivated, too. It’s important to know I’m not alone.
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?
For all of my projects, big, unlined paper is a necessity for brainstorming. It feels unrestrictive and non-judgmental. Let it rip! Write big, write small, make crooked lines and messy arrows. I love it. Makes me more open to the possibilities. I also love to storyboard for picture books, in all stages.
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?
I am having a book launch for MILO on June 19th, in a park near my home. A local indie is co-hosting with me. Other projects in the works – both new pieces and old-to-be-revisited. There’s always room for improvement!
Thank you, Kathleen -- it was a pleasure having you at KidLit Oasis! Best of luck with the launch and many more successes to you!
Kathleen Blasi writes books for young readers, including Hosea Plays On (illustrated by Shane W. Evans), A Name of Honor, and Are Organized Sports Better for Kids than Pickup Games? Active in the children’s writing community, Kathleen has served as Co-President of Rochester Area Children’s Writers & Illustrators and is former Co-Director of the Rochester Children’s Book Festival, for which she and her Co-Director received the 2015 New York State Reading Association Literacy Advocate Award. Kathleen lives in western New York, where, along with writing, she enjoys fostering the curiosity of young storytellers. Visit her at kmblasi.com.
In other news . . .
I am opening my schedule for 2021-2022 school year Author Visits and will be offering a 10% discount for early bird bookings until September 15th, 2021. For more information on my packages and to contact me, click HERE (mention this special to claim your discount!)
About Rosie J. Pova
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 March 2021. It's a story that celebrates imagination, the love of books, and new friendships.
Check out her Critique Services here, her Workshops here, and her school visits page here.
Rosie is represented by Jessica Schmeilder of Golden Wheat Literary.