Hello, lovely readers!
Hooray for you! You are at the Oasis and it's great to have you visit again (or for the first time)! 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 nice chitchat because today we have another awesome creative on the KidLit Oasis series... Children's author Gabrielle Snyder is here to share some wisdom, insight, and inspiration with us! Plus, check out the book giveaway and my workshop invitation to you at the end of this interview.
Welcome, Gabi! Thank you for joining us on the blog. Please briefly describe your journey to publication.
A: Thanks for hosting me on the KidLit Oasis blog, Rosie. I’m honored to be here!
Back in the day (early aughts), I studied English-Creative Writing at The University of Texas, with a focus on writing fiction for adults. After earning my MA, I took a succession of jobs that used writing (like grant writing and instructional design), but I struggled to find time for my own writing.
Fast forward to 2013: when my kids were little (3 and 5), we moved from Austin to Corvallis, Oregon. With a break from work following the move, I found time to get back to my own writing. Only by then, I’d become immersed in the world of picture books and fallen in love with this form of storytelling. In 2014, I wrote my first picture books. And because I was already a writer, I (foolishly?) started submitting to agents and editors right away.
From 2014 to 2017, I received over 100 passes from agents and editors. But thrown in the mix were some champagne rejections and a few requests to see more work. Finally, in 2018, I found my agent, the fabulous Natalie Lakosil of Bradford Literary. I had sent Natalie three of my picture book manuscripts. When I received an offer from a small press for one of those manuscripts, I “nudged” the handful of agents who were reading my work at that time. Natalie responded that same day, requesting that we set up a time to chat. I had the impression that she’d already been considering me as a potential client and my “nudge” may’ve just moved things along.
Since signing with Natalie, we’ve sold two picture books. My debut, TWO DOGS ON A TRIKE, illustrated by Robin Rosenthal, is out now (May 19) from Abrams Appleseed. My second picture book, LISTEN, illustrated by Stephanie Graegin, will be out in spring 2021 from Simon & Schuster/Wiseman.
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: Striking the balance between letting a project simmerand actually finishing the project – saying this is good enough (for now) and I’m going to send it out into the world – is a challenge. Most stories and other creative works benefit from multiple revision passes, but it’s also possible to revise the spark out of a story. I’ve found that sometimes happens when I try to revise too soon after receiving feedback.
On the publishing side of things, the waiting can be a challenge! I am not patient by nature and all the waiting for responses when out on submission can be nerve-wracking. I know that the best thing to do is throw myself into other projects, but that’s easier said than done! This quote about patience is becoming my new mantra: “Patience isn’t waiting – it’s the knowledge that to become exceptional takes time.”—Allyson Felix, US Track & Field Athlete. Maybe we can reframe how we deal with the snail’s pace of publishing. Instead of a passive waiting, maybe it’s taking the time to create/be a part of something phenomenal!
Accountability check-ins with writing partners help me stay motivated. Having multiple projects helps, too. When I’m feeling stuck with one story, I can set aside for a bit and focus on a different writing project.
Also, I think it’s important to choose writing topics that inspire you. Some things that consistently inspire and inform my writing are nature, my kids, and memories of my own childhood. Tapping into memories of the emotions of childhood – how it felt to be a child living through a particular moment or situation – feels especially helpful.
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:I like to start each writing session with a “free write” to clear away the cobwebs and to capture anything that’s worrying me or that I want to remember. After that, I try to stick to a schedule. I block out a certain amount of time for working on picture book manuscripts. And then, time permitting, I have blocks for revising my middle grade manuscript, writing critiques, etc. I try to work some exercise into the schedule, too.
My revision process looks a little bit different for each project. But, in general with a picture book, I think it’s helpful to get a complete first draft down in one sitting. And then I like to let the draft sit and marinate for bit – at least a week. If, after marination, it still shines, still feels like a promising idea, I revise again. Sometimes I revise several more times before the manuscript feels ready for my critique partners. Once in a while I do send an early draft to critique partners if I want brainstorming help and I’m still open to ideas about what the story is about. But if I have a strong idea about what the story is about and the emotion it should evoke, then I think it’s better to wait until I’ve taken the manuscript as far as I can before sending it to critique partners.
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: Having a book released during a global pandemic isn’t ideal, but it’s been heartening to see the kidlit community rally around creators and indie bookstores. I’m currently planning some virtual book events. You can visit my website or sign up for my newsletter to stay apprised of events.
I’m super smitten with illustrator Robin Rosenthal’s art for TWO DOGS ON A TRIKE. Here’s a sneak peek at one of the interior spreads.
To see more, visit Robin’s website: robinrosenthal.com
Thank you, Gabi! It was a pleasure having you at the KidLit Oasis! I wish you all the best with this book and all future projects!
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 and will be back for our next interview next week. Comments and shares are appreciated. Thank you!
Connect with Gabrielle Snyder:
Reader. Writer. Lover of chocolate. Gabi’s debut picture book, TWO DOGS ON A TRIKE, is out now (May 2020) from Abrams Appleseed, and her second picture book, LISTEN, will be out in spring 2021 from Simon & Schuster/Wiseman. Gabi lives in Oregon with her family, including one daredevil dog and the cat who keeps everyone in line.
G I V E A W A Y!
Gabi is giving away a copy of her book, Two Dogs on a Trike, to one lucky winner who comments on this post before midnight on Monday June 1, 2020. (US only, please.) Winner will be announced sometime next week.
A T T E N T I O N, P L E A S E!
You and your writer friends are invited to this epic kidlit workshop with Random House Editor Frances Gilbert! Don't miss the early bird registration and sign up for a written picture book critique from Frances before all the spots are gone.
Check out the details for the workshop HERE
Congratulations to Nora Nickum who is the winner
of Gabi's giveaway!
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.