Hello, amazing readers!
Welcome back at the Oasis ― it's great to have you visit! If this is your first time reading this blog, I hope you'll be coming back often! This is the place to refresh your spirits, recharge your creativity, and get a literary mood boost!
Now, stretch your smiles wide and get comfy and cozy for a lovely chitchat because today we have another lovely creative on the KidLit Oasis series... Children's author Claire Annette Noland is here to share some wisdom, insight, and inspiration with us! Plus, check out the book giveaway at the end of this interview and enter for a chance to win a copy of Claire's new book, Evie's Field Day.
Welcome, Claire! Thank you for joining us on the blog. Please briefly describe your journey to publication.
A: Thank you Rosie for inviting me to the KidLit Oasis. I’m excited to share my writing journey.
I was one of those kids who always read. The public library was my home-away-from-home where I spent hours exploring the shelves. My favorite section was 398.2 – folk and fairy tales. I loved my high school creative writing class and I began writing my own fractured fairy tales. I loved to travel (still do) and majored in geography with a minor in comparative literature focusing on world cultures and oral traditions.
I knew I wanted to work with children and books so I earned my master’s degree in library and information science and had a wonderful career as a children’s librarian. I went back to school and got my teaching and reading specialist credential so that I could be on the same school schedule as my children.
I knew I wanted to write but didn’t know where to begin. I joined SCBWI, found a critique group, and realized how much I had to learn. My first picture book was 2,000 words! When I finally started to submit, rejections piled up. I was so discouraged that I stopped submitting for a few years but never stopped writing. I joined 12 x 12 and continued to work on the craft of writing by attending conferences and workshops as well as meeting weekly with my critique partners.
I sold a book to an educational publisher and then began writing a series for our regional children’s hospital featuring George the Giraffe.
I follow many blogs (like yours) and look for submission opportunities. In December of 2018, I saw that Cardinal Rule Press was open for submissions. The publisher, Maria Dismondy, has a clear vision for her company. She looks for stories that feature issues children face and how they solve their problems. I had a work-in-progress about a competitive child who hates to lose that I thought might be a good fit. I revised, cut words, and when my critique group agreed it was ready, pressed submit. That was January 31, 2019.
As writers know, it can take a long time to get a response on a submission so you can imagine my surprise when, on February 11th, I received an email to set up a zoom meeting. Maria told me that a friend had just asked what to do when a child has a hard time losing. Then, she opened my submission addressing this very issue.
Here are two take-aways from this experience: One, sometimes a manuscript reaches a publisher at just the right time. Two, do your homework before submitting. Maria said she received animal stories, poems, and subjects that she does not publish. I read as many CRP books as I could find to make sure mine was right for them.
Evie’s Field Day : More Than One Way To Win was illustrated by the lovely Alicia Teba who lives in Spain. Other authors told me that they had no contact with their illustrators so I was thrilled when I was given the go ahead to contact her. We’re now Facebook and Instagram friends and I hope to meet her someday when we can safely travel again.
These are Alicia’s original character sketches of Evie.
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: This business is filled with challenges. One is that there are so few houses open to unagented authors. I am actively seeking representation but, in the meantime, I continue to write and submit.
Because I am interested in early literacy, I’d like to write for the early reader trade market. It seems to be a difficult market to break into as many publishers use in-house authors and more and more picture books are being reissued as early readers.
Of course, having a debut trade book released in the midst of a pandemic is full of challenges. Evie’s Field Day: More Than One Way To Win, was timed to release with the end-of-the-school-year celebrations. When everything was cancelled, we came up with a new idea - a virtual at home field day. I visited classrooms via zoom, reached out to school districts, and partnered with Sensory Rock which is a gym for all kids but specially designed for children with sensory processing issues. My remarkable publisher organized an Instagram teacher influencer tour and other publicity as well as providing great prizes for the field day which I’m happy to say was very successful. I am in the process of planning more events to promote my book.
Another big help is being part of the 2020 Debut Crew. We encourage and promote each other and I am grateful for their support.
Children and the kidlit community keep me motivated. I am a goal-oriented person who enjoys participating in writing challenges. 12 x 12 has been especially valuable because I know I’ll write at least one rough draft and a revision every month.
The most rewarding part of being an author is seeing children enjoying my books and the positive feedback I receive from parents and teachers.
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: A number of years ago I realized that I needed to make writing my priority. Being in a weekly critique group keeps me accountable. I read children’s books constantly, first for enjoyment and then to examine the author’s craft. I also share books with children to see their reactions.
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: A postponed event to celebrate Evie’s Field Day at our local Storybook Garden has been rescheduled for later this summer. I continue to do virtual author’s visits and recently did a book reading accompanied by an ASL interpreter. I’m looking forward to being featured on several podcasts in the weeks ahead. Also, the fifth book that I wrote for Valley Children’s Hospital will be released this summer.
Thank you for being my guest, Claire! I wish you all the best on your journey!
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.
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Connect with Claire Annette Noland:
Claire Annette Noland writes picture books and early readers for children from her home in central California. Because she knows that everyone who reads is a winner, she is passionate about connecting children with books through the library collections she is developing in Nicaragua, her local women’s shelter, and her little free library. Her debut trade picture book, Evie’s Field Day: More Than One Way to Win, was released by Cardinal Rule Press on May 1, 2020. She loves to travel but these days she is visiting new places via books. She blogs about books, places, and books that take you places on her blog, A Field Trip Life.
G I V E A W A Y ! ! !
Comment on this post by midnight on Monday 6/08/20 for a chance to win a copy of Claire's book (US only please). Winner will be announced next week.
You are invited to an epic workshop! Check it out!
Books by Rosie J. Pova
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.