As always, you are at the right place for a dose of inspiration and literary gifts from another special guest in the chitchat series.
Today, I'm excited to chat with a friend who is a powerhouse in the kidlit community! She wears so many hats, she has tons of knowledge, and she also gives back so much and so tirelessly.
Welcome, Lynne Marie! Thank you for joining us on the blog. Please briefly describe your journey to publication.
A: My journey to publication has been a long and winding road. I started on the path as a paid book reviewer of adult books. Then by chance, I started getting some children’s books to review. I had been writing romantic/comedic screenplays for myself for a few years but then really got bit by the kidlit bug and switched my course. I returned to college and signed up for all the writing, children’s writing, children’s literature, literature and associated classes (short story, literary theory, folklore and fairy tales, mythology, the Holocaust in Children’s Literature, and more). I bought the Children’s Writers and Illustrator’s Guide each Christmas, and read the articles, but did not submit. When I completed school, I moved onto the next phase. In 2000, I became an SCBWI Member and joined a local writing group called LICWI. I started going to conferences and sharing my work in critique groups. I really craved feedback and learned so much by trying it on for size, even if it ultimately didn’t suit the story. I just learned so much from the process. In 2001 I applied for a scholarship to Highlights Chautauqua and got in! It was life-changing! I returned to Chautauqua three more times after that, in 2002, 2003 and 2005. I loved and embraced the learning and community and all the amazing opportunities. I attended SCBWI Conferences on local, state, nearby states and international levels. It was only when Patty Gauch (Philomel Founder) said if she sees me at another conference flitting around like a social butterfly, rather than getting published, she was going to *off* me. And then I realized I was having too much fun learning and socializing and I had to get serious.
In hindsight, I highly recommend educating oneself and really diving into the craft (as that’s what really paid off for me), but perhaps not so very much the distracting fun and extensive, expensive travel. At least not near as far as I took it. Obviously, I love to travel and will use any excuse to do so!
Once I started focusing, it was just a few years until I got my first deal with Scholastic, and then after a hiatus due to moving, a second.
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 creative side is fun and challenging, as always. And the learning is always interesting, informative and inspiring. On the publishing end, it’s a bit challenging right now as there is a lot of wall-building going on, rather than bridge building. We’re all in this together (or at least should be), so it’s sad to see so many lines drawn. I believe that every single person has something to say and that we should listen first before we decide whether it’s worthy of sharing with the world.
That being said, I do find writing for children a completely rewarding experience. Challenging, but ultimately rewarding. It's not an easy path and that makes it even more special. The art of creating something promising and working my creation until I get it to come off the page is a goal that I love! Just the thought of bringing ideas to life in a fabulous way is motivation for me -- it's like making magic. And, of course, my desire to make a positive impact on the reader by sharing my stories and experiences is another.
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: Reading to see what else is out there and how mine measures up is always important to facilitating a sale. Reading my manuscript aloud to see if it flows, see if it tells a solid story and whether it will keep a reader’s interest is important too. So, I rely heavily on reading mentor texts and reading craft books (writing, poetry, psychology, etc.) to keep my skills sharp. With regard to Mentor Texts, I have initiated a yearly challenge: March On With Mentor Texts (www.rateyourstory.org/march-on). I hope that many writers will take advantage of this resource next month.
Q: What do you consider your biggest publishing career accomplishment so far? On the flip side, what are some of the things you'd like to accomplish in the next year from now?
A: I would say that my biggest accomplishment has been staying on the path and reaching my goal, time and time again. As writers who become authors soon realize, the path doesn’t end. But that’s okay, it’s all about the journey, and not the destination. I am blessed and thankful to have many books along the way.
Q: What is your vision for this book? What kind of impact do you hope it would have on readers?
A: The Three Little Pigs and the Rocket Project book (https://amzn.to/3I4UKVD) and coloring book (https://amzn.to/3gUHerI) were such fun projects. My vision was to introduce the reader to fairy tales AND science and make it a fun and relatable experience. It is not at all heavy-handed, but yet there’s takeaway value on many levels. And I love the coloring book. As a child, I loved coloring more than anything!
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: I have three projects forthcoming, two of them have not been announced. But I am very excited about the third, in particular, because it is a manuscript that I actually wrote in 1998 while in France.
Wow, that was such a great chat, and I'm glad you shared all those resources with my readers. Thank you so much again, Lynne Marie, and I look forward to the new announcements soon too!
Readers, please support our guests in any way you could and connect with them on social media.
Lynne Marie is the author of Hedgehog Goes to Kindergarten - art by Anne Kennedy (Scholastic 2011), Hedgehog's 100th Day of School – art by Lorna Hussey (Scholastic 2017), The Star of the Christmas Play -- art by Lorna Hussey (Beaming Books 2018), Moldilocks and the 3 Scares -- art by David Rodriguez Lorenzo (Sterling 2019 and Scholastic 2019), Let’s Eat! Mealtime Around the World -- art by Parwinder Singh (Beaming Books 2019), The Three Little Pigs and the Rocket Project -- art by Wendy Fedan (Mac and Cheese Press, 2022), American Pie (Dancing Flamingo Press Spring 2022), There Was a Blue Whale Who Tangled with Plastic (Dancing Flamingo Press Spring 2023) and more, forthcoming. She’s also the Owner and Administrator of RateYourStory.org and a Travel Agent. She currently lives on a lake in South Florida with her family, a Schipperke named Anakin, where she can be found daydreaming and fracturing fairy tales. Visit her on her website www.LiterallyLynneMarie.com. Lynne Marie is represented by Marisa Cleveland ofwww.theseymouragency.com Follow her on Facebook here and on twitter here.
G I V E A W A Y!
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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.