Hello, radiant 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!
I know you're already smiling, but stretch your smiles even wider and get comfy and cozy for a delightful chat because today we have another awesome creative on the KidLit Oasis series... Children's author Nancy Churnin is here to share some wisdom, insight, and inspiration with us! Plus, in celebration of her book's birthday, Nancy is giving away a signed copy of Beautiful Shades of Brown!
Welcome, Nancy, and Happy Book Birthday! Thank you for joining us on the blog. Please briefly describe your journey to publication.
NC: I was a longtime journalist when I promised my friend, Steve Sandy, who is deaf, that I would write a picture book about the great Deaf baseball player, William Hoy. I thought I would write it quickly as I do my newspaper stories. But I didn’t know what I didn’t know. I made the promise in 2003 and kept revising and getting rejected until I realized I needed, classes, critique groups and support groups. I got my agent, Karen Grencik, through Julie Hedlund’s 12X12. She sold The William Hoy Story and it came out in 2016, 13 years after I made that promise! I have now sold eight picture book biographies, two of which are coming out this year.
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?
NC: Every story presents its own unique challenges as you try to bring a life or story alive in a way that will resonate and find a special place in the heart of young readers. It can be difficult when you know you’re on the road to something good, but you haven’t quite figured out how to bring it across. The most rewarding part is when it all comes together and the story lives and breathes on its own and you have confidence sending it out into the world knowing that it will be a friend and support to a child. I love doing author visits where I share the book and can see a child’s eyes light up and feel a heart brighten. At a recent school visit, a child asked me if I could please write five new books this year. I said I would do my best. That is motivation!
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?
NC: I spend a lot of time thinking about what my character’s dream is – what he or she wants more than anything – what the challenges are and the actions my character takes to achieve that dream. I find it helpful to make a book dummy to make sure that my scenes are changing and moving and that there’s enough tension and forward movement in the story to make a child want to turn the page. In revision, I try to trim to the essence, to stick to the essentials. That’s a lot harder than it sounds because when you fall in love with your character, you have to fight the urge to go on and on and tell your reader all the wonderful anecdotes you have!
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?
NC: I’m thrilled to share that I have two picture book biographies coming out this year: Beautiful Shades of Brown, the Art of Laura Wheeler Waring, illustrated by Felicia Marshall, on Feb. 4 from Creston Books/Lerner Books and For Spacious Skies, Katharine Lee Bates and the Inspiration for ‘America the Beautiful,’ illustrated by Olga Baumert, releasing April 1 from Albert Whitman & Company.
Thanks again, Nancy! All the best with your wonderful kidlit work and we can't wait to see more beautiful and inspiring books from you!
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Comment on this post and share it on social media for a chance to win a signed copy of Beautiful Shades of Brown. Winner will be announced on 2/11/20.
Connect with Nancy
Nancy Churnin, a longtime journalist and former theater critic for The Dallas Morning News and The Los Angeles Times, is the award-winning author of eight picture book biographies, including Irving Berlin, the Immigrant Boy Who Made America Sing, a Sydney Taylor and National Council for the Social Studies Notable; Manjhi Moves a Mountain, winner of the South Asia Book Award, a Junior Library Guild and Anne Izard Storytellers Choice Award selection, The William Hoy Story, on the Texas 2X2 and the state reading lists and Martin & Anne, on the Jewish Book Council’s recommended Civil Rights and Race reading list. She graduated with honors from Harvard University and has a masters from Columbia University in journalism. She lives in North Texas with her husband, a dog named Dog and two cantankerous cats.
I hope you enjoyed this post and will be back for our next chat. 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.