Hello amazing readers! KidLit Oasis is back with a new author interview and a giveaway! I can't wait to dive in and hear my guest's words of wisdom, learn about her publication journey, and get the scoop on her past, present, and future projects. I hope you're curious to learn more, too, and you're cozy, comfy, and ready!
So, without further ado, welcome, Patricia! Thank you for joining us on the blog. Please briefly describe your journey to publication.
A: I met my first agent at a conference sponsored by SCBWI, and she sold my first book. After she retired, I attended another SCBWI conference where I met my second agent Deborah Warren at East West Literary, during a face-to-face critique. She said, “If you are ever looking for an agent, please consider me.” I was and I did, and we’re still together after sixteen years! After our first book sale, we had a looong dry spell. One day I opened my calendar to Dec. 31, 2012 and wrote, “Quit if no sales.” But in August of that year, Carol Hinz at Millbrook Press purchased Plastic, Ahoy!, which went on to win several awards. Carol and I have published six books together, including Sea Otter Heroes, which received a Sibert Honor from ALA, and this month’s Planet Ocean. So, it pays to persevere. You never know what’s around the next corner.
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: The waiting and proposal writing. The waiting induces stress and stress induces self-doubt. But the cure for waiting is to immerse myself in a new writing project—and I seem to have a limitless supply of ideas. Remember, your books might not be published in the order you write them.
Because most of my work is middle-grade nonfiction, I create a proposal to sell the idea to an editor—an overview of the idea, a chapter outline, and marketing information. (Writers, see this article I wrote on proposals.) Proposals are difficult because I create them before I’ve completed my research. I do a lot of reading and searching for sources. Then I have a brief conversation with the scientists. I don’t yet have a sale and don’t want to take up a lot of their time. I have to strike a balance between gathering enough research to find the narrative thread and the hook for a young reader and overdoing it before I have a sale. I’ve managed to survive the proposal process several times, so I know I can do it!
I compare proposals to the Fire Swamp in The Princess Bride. Before I enter the metaphorical swamp, I remind myself that I’ve been here before and know the secrets and have emerged relatively unscathed.
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?
A: Mentor texts are wonderful tools. I find a book I admire – maybe for the language, maybe for the format – and study it to see why it works. I usually type in the text – the complete text for picture books and a selection for longer works – without the images to get a feel for how the words were put together.
As a NF author, I have to think about the format of my book. Will it have sidebars? If so, how long should they be? What should be included in the back matter? Should the text be accompanied by photos or illustrations? Do I have enough photos for a MG title? How much do the photos cost and will the copyright holders extend permission to use them?
I’m much better at revision than rough drafts. I have a sense of where the book is going when I finally begin to revise. I write tighter and I organize my thoughts on a whole different level. Even though I often work from a proposal, I try not to let that outline tie me down. I want the creative process to take over.
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: Planet Ocean just released on March 2. Annie Crawley and I teamed up for our third book together. We focused on how we have an unbreakable connection with the sea and how to empower readers to become the voice of the ocean through storytelling. Watch this video to find out why your (home, school, classroom) library needs Planet Ocean.
In fall 2022, I have a new nonfiction title coming out. Instead of photographs, it will be illustrated by the talented Natasha Donovan. I wish I could tell you the title, but we’re still working on that. I can tell you it’s a happy conservation story.
Thank you, Patricia -- it was great chatting with you! Thanks again for being on KidLit Oasis, and all the best on your journey! I look forward to all of your future books and projects!
Readers, please support our featured authors/illustrators by following them on Twitter, requesting their books through your local library, posting reviews on Amazon and Goodreads, and of course, purchasing their books.
I hope you enjoyed this post — shares are appreciated. Thank you! Check out the giveaway below!
Connect with Patricia Newman:
Click on the book cover to order a copy of Planet Ocean
Patricia Newman’s books show young readers how their actions can ripple around the world. Using social and environmental injustice as inspiration, she empowers young readers to seek connections to the real world and to use their imaginations to act on behalf of their communities. A Robert F. Sibert Honor recipient, Patricia’s books have received starred reviews, ALA Notable recognition, Green Earth Book Awards, an Outstanding Science Trade Book Award, a Parents’ Choice Award; been honored as Junior Library Guild selections; and been included on Bank Street College’s Best Books lists.
One Texas librarian recently wrote, “Patricia is one of THE BEST nonfiction authors writing for our students in today's market, and one of our MUST HAVE AUTHORS for every collection.”
Patricia frequently speaks at schools and conferences to share how children of any age can affect change. Her presentations are described as “phenomenal,” “fantastic,” “mesmerizing,” “passionate,” and “inspirational.”
G I V E A W A Y !
Comment on the post for a chance to win either a copy of Planet Ocean or a picture book critique from Patricia
(please indicate your preference).
*US addresses for the book only, winner will be announced next week.
And the winner is . . .
If you're enjoying my posts and would like to support my work, please consider requesting my new book, Sunday Rain, from your local library or purchasing a copy. Reviews on Amazon and Goodreads are
very much appreciated, too!
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 picture book, Sunday Rain, was featured in The New York Times and Parents magazine, and her upcoming one, The School of Failure: A Story About Success, will be released in May 2022 in the U.S. and China.
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.