Welcome back, Sharon! Thank you for returning to the KidLit Oasis as my guest—which means you liked my hospitality the first time ☺, but it also means you have a new book coming out that you'll be sharing with our readers! Congratulations!
So, first, let me ask you this: I know that every book is special to its author in a particular way— how is this book special to you? Dear to your heart in a different way? What was the experience like, compared to the previous one? Is there an interesting behind-the-scenes about the idea for the story, its creation, an unusual journey to publication perhaps? What stands out?
SG: Firstly, thank you Rosie for inviting me back on your blog. I am so happy to be here 😊. It has been almost two years since my first picture book BEDTIME, DADDY! was released. My second picture book GET READY, MAMA released this month, and I am very excited to see it in the world.
This book is dear to my heart because it is a companion book for BEDTIME, DADDY! and I have wanted to see it published since 2018. GET READY, MAMA! is inspired by my daughter who is a reluctant riser and at age 15 I still have to wake up every day. BEDTIME, DADDY was inspired by my son who is a reluctant going to bedder, so it is really super to have two picture books inspired by both of my children.
GET READY, MAMA’s journey to publication was an unusual one because I first sent it to my publisher, EK Books, in 2018, but although it went to acquisition it was not picked up (at that time). However, after my first book was released, I re-sent GET READY, MAMA! to EK Books and based on the sales from my first book, they agreed to publish it. Hooray! It just goes to show that you should never give up on your dreams.
Q: And to piggyback on the questions above, did anything surprise you with this book or the publisher's approach to it (whether it was the same publisher or a new one)? Did you learn anything new? Was it harder or easier to bring it into the world?
SG: The first big surprise was that although EK Books declined to publish GET READY, MAMA at first, they later agreed. Once the contract was signed it was definitely easier to bring this book into the world as I was familiar with the publication process. A debut author (and illustrator) has a lot to learn with their first book. I was able to enjoy the publication process more with GET READY, MAMA! because I knew what to expect.
Q: When did you find out who the illustrator was for the project and were you asked for an input? What was it like working with the illustrator for this book? When did you first see the art and what was your reaction?
SG: EK Book signs the author and illustrator up at the same time. So, before I even signed the contract, I knew Arielle Li would be illustrating GET READY, MAMA! They introduced me to Arielle (via email) and throughout the publishing process encouraged us to work together.
Working with Arielle on our book was fantastic and I loved her style and the energy that she bought to our project. As well as how she skillfully and artistically matched my words to her illustrations.
The first art that I saw from Arielle was the possible characters for the story. As a team we had to decide if we wanted the characters to be human or guinea pigs. Although the guinea pigs were super adorable, we all agreed that for this book the humans would be better. I am so pleased with the choice we made. Especially when you see the mama’s facial expressions throughout the book.
EK books continued to ask for my input regarding the storyboard, cover design and book layout. It was definitely a team effort between myself, Arielle and EK books.
Q: What do you hope to accomplish within the next 2-3 years? Any specific goals or aspirations—personal or writing related—that you could share with us?
SG: I hope to create quality, heartfelt and humorous picture books that bring delight and happiness to children (and parents) from all around the world. As well as publish my speculative and adventure filled early middle grade books.
A writing goal I wish to accomplish this year is to undertake a graphic novel course and write a graphic novel. I love learning about different forms of children’s literature. One day I may even develop my skills as an illustrator.
On a personal level I want to travel the world with my family, and where possible meet the publishers and illustrators of my books. As well as the many writer friends I have ‘met’ online through the Kidlit writing community. There are so many places I want to see and people I want to meet. Maybe one day Rosie we will get to meet.
Q: Aw, that would be wonderful, Sharon! I certainly hope we get to meet someday soon. :) Meanwhile, what's coming up for you next? Please tell us about any other exciting news, upcoming events or anything else you'd like to share with our readers?
SG: 2022 is going to be a very exciting year for me 😊. Starting with the release of GET READY, MAMA! and a book launch in April at my local Literature Centre.
I have signed a two-book deal with Dixi Books for my next two picture books, which are about taking a grandma shopping and a grandpa to the beach. So, once these books are published my picture book family will be complete.
I also have an early middle grade book being released through Clear Fork Publishing about an eleven-year-old girl who is given a mysterious gift, which she uses to overcome obstacles and challenges.
That's quite exciting, Sharon, congratulations again on all the success and your new projects! Thanks for stopping by--it was a pleasure chatting and celebrating your new book on KidLit Oasis! Best of luck to you with everything! :)
Sharon Giltrow grew up in South Australia, the youngest of eight children, surrounded by pet sheep and fields of barley. She now lives in Perth, Western Australia with her husband, two children and a tiny dog. Sharon has taught for all of her career. Previously a teacher of children who are hearing impaired and Deaf-Blind, she now teaches young children with Developmental Language Disorder. Her humorous debut PB, BEDTIME DADDY! released May 2020 through EK books. Sharon’s humorous follow up PB, GET READY, MAMA! Is due to be released through EK books in April, 2022. Her third and fourth PB, LET’S GO SHOPPING, GRANDMA! And LET’S GO TO THE BEACH, GRANDPA! are due to be released through Dixi Books in 2022 and 2023. SAMARA RUBIN AND THE UTILITY BELT, book one in Sharon’s early MG series – THE UTILITY BELT, will be released in 2022 through Clear Fork Publishing. With book two TOBY KING AND THE UTILITY BELT to follow. Sharon is also a Blogger for the Children’s Book Academy.
G I V E A W A Y! ! !
Comment on this post to be entered into the giveaway for a chance to win a copy of GET READY, MAMA!
Hello, dear readers!
Once again, the Kitlit Oasis has summoned you because it's the place to refresh your spirits, recharge your creativity, and get a literary mood boost!
Now, as you're getting ready to enjoy our next interview, stretch your smiles wide and get comfy and cozy for a lovely chitchat because today we have another awesome creative on the Chitchat series... Children's author Sharon Giltrow is here to share some wisdom, insight, and inspiration with us! Plus, check out the giveaway and my new workshop with Random House Editor, Frances Gilbert, at the end of this interview.
Welcome, Sharon, and Happy Book Birthday! Thank you for joining us on the blog. Please briefly describe your journey to publication.
A: My debut picture book BEDTIME DADDY’s, book birthday is today. Yay!
Thank you, Rosie, for interviewing me on this very special day!
BEDTIME DADDY’S road to publication was quite long. The ideawas sparked through Tara Lazar’s writing challenge – Storystorm. In June 2017, I took that idea and wrote my first draft of BEDTIME DADDY. Then with the help of my fantastic critique groups, I revised the story. In November 2017 I started submitting BEDTIME DADDY. After receiving a number of rejections, I decided that the story wasn’t quite ready. So, with more help from my critique groups and a publisher’s critique I started submitting again. In June 2018, I submitted it to EK Books and two weeks later,I received ‘the email’. I signed the publishing deal with EK Books in August 2018.
My Publisherthen matched my story with the amazing illustrator Katrin Dreiling. EK Books, shared the entire publishing process with me and Katrin, and were very open to any suggestions, changes or ideas that we had. Twenty-one months after signing the contract BEDTIME DADDY was released.
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 biggest challenge for me was at the beginning, when I was trying to think of myself as a ‘writer’. However, once I started calling myself a writer and telling my family and friends that I was a writer, it became easier. Not surprisingly, after this I also became more serious about being a writer. Although, it wasn’t until I signed the publishing deal for BEDTIME DADDY that I started calling myself an author. One of my most rewarding moment was when my family and friends started calling me this too.
Another challenge I found was marketing. This was something that I had to learn but with the help of my debut group 2020 Debut Crew, I learnt these new skills and fast 😊. My most rewarding marketing moment was when my daughter and I produced the book trailer for BEDTIME DADDY.
My next challenge will be getting book number two published. I have a number of picture book manuscripts that I am currently submitting. I hope I will have some more good news soon.
As all writers do, sometimes I question why I am putting in all this hard work, especially after I receive rejections. But, for me it is impossible not to write. I have an inner desire to write stories for children, which can’t be ignored. My greatest reward is seeing BEDTIME DADDY being read and enjoyed by children and adults 😊.
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: The most helpful thing for me as a writer, is being a member of a critique group. BEDTIME DADDY would not have been published without the help of my critique partners. They helped me to take a very rough first draft and through many, many, many revisions turn it into a polished manuscript.
Here is how, with their help, the beginning of BEDTIME DADDY changed from version one to the final version ten.
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: My debut picture book BEDTIME DADDY is releasing worldwide TODAY! Available through EK Books and all good ONLINE bookstores.
I have a blog tour happening in May. This blog is part of the tour.
Finally, as many schools around the world are now closed due to the Corona virus, I would like to share the links to BEDTIME DADDY’S teaching notes, for parents and educators. They can be found on EK Books and SCBWI – Australia West websites. In the near future I will also be recording and sharing short videos of some of these activities.
Great chatting with you, Sharon! Thanks for sharing your journey with us and the behind-the-scene of how your manuscript changed from its first draft to published book -- that's very helpful and I think writers will appreciate this example.
Readers, please support our featured authors/illustrators by following them on Twitter, requesting their book through your local library, posting reviews on Amazon and Goodreads, and of course, purchasing their books.
I hope you enjoyed this post — comments and shares are appreciated. Thank you!
Connect with Sharon Giltrow:
Sharon Giltrow grew up in South Australia, the youngest of eight children, surrounded by pet sheep and fields of barley. She now lives in Perth, WA with her husband, two children and a tiny dog. When not writing, Sharon works with children with Developmental Language Disorder. Sharon was awarded the Paper Bird Fellowship in 2019. Her debut PB Bedtime Daddy, released May 2020 through EK books.
G I V E A W A Y!
Sharon is giving a way a picture book critique to one lucky winner. Leave a comment by midnight on Monday 5/18/20 to enter the giveaway. Winner announced next week.
Don't miss this amazing workshop!
Click on the picture to get all the details and make sure you invite your writer friends to check it out, too!
Hope to see you there.
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.