Hello, amazing readers!
Here you are at the Oasis ― it's great to have you visit! As you know, this is the place to refresh your spirits, recharge your creativity, and get a literary mood boost!
Today, Children's Author Michal Babay is my guest and she'll share some wisdom, insight, and inspiration with us! Plus, check out the giveaway at the end of this interview!
Welcome, Michal ! Thank you for joining us on the blog. Please briefly describe your journey to publication.
A: Hi Rosie, thank you for having me on your blog! My journey to publication was, like most picture book authors, full of unexpected zigs and zags. My first book sale was in 2019, after I’d already been writing seriously for a number of years. That book (which I should be able to announce officially very soon!) came about because of an editor critique I did at an SCBWI conference. After our conversation, I asked if I should submit it to her through the conference submission opportunity, and she said “definitely.”So I made her suggested revisions, sent it along, and seven months later – she made an official offer! With this official offer in hand, I contacted all the agents who were considering another manuscript of mine (the story that became I’m A Gluten-Sniffing Service Dog) and finally, joyfully, signed with my dream agent, Laurel Symonds of The Bent Agency.
The funny thing is, as part of my twisty zig-zag journey, I had previously queried Laurel. She’d been interested enough to request other stories, but they weren’t quite strong enough to hold an agent’s interest, so she ended up passing. However, I was determined. I kept writing, revising, and soothing my battered ego with chocolate, until I’d finally created a body of work that pushed Laurel’s “I like this but…” into a “YES!”
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: Staying focused enough to finish a first draft is the most challenging part for me. I’m a bit like Chewie. If I had a tail, I’d be chasing it instead of writing! Everything distracts me when the work is difficult. Which means, of course, that one of the most rewarding parts is actually finishing that first draft! It feels like a huge accomplishment for me every time I write the ending of a story. Once that painful first draft is completed, everything else is a pleasure. I love revising, so going back into the manuscript to tighten and change things is fun for me.
My critique partners and my hourglass timer help me stay motivated. If I haven’t produced anything in a while, they’ll check in and ask what’s going on. Having a group of creators who are ALWAYS on your side is the most essential part of my writing world. And by on my side, I also mean that they never let me send out a manuscript until it’s as strong as possible. They are honest about what’s working and what isn’t, so I know when they finally love it, it’s ready to send to my agent!
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: Since I’m so easily distracted, my wonderfully wise writing partner Lauren Kerstein suggested using a sand hourglass time so I get at least one hour of actual writing done most days. When I need to pause, I just lay the hourglass on its side until I’m ready to come back and finish writing. Of course, this doesn’t happen all the time. Some weeks are just for thinking and percolating, instead of writing.
During the revision process, I use Google Docs so it’s accessible to me anywhere I go (after all, you never know when the perfect name for that character will pop out at you!). I also create a new copy each time I revise, so that by the time I’m finished there are usually 20-30 versions on my Google drive. This was another organizational tip from Lauren. That woman knows her stuff when it comes to staying on task and organizing files!
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 actually have two more books coming out in the next two years, so I can’t wait to share the details on both of those soon!
Thank you, Michal! It was fun chatting with you and learning more about your journey, writing process, and new projects! Please come back to visit KidLit Oasis in the future!
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G I V E A W A Y ! ! !
Comment on this post to be entered
for a chance to win a copy of
I'm a Gluten-Sniffing Service Dog!
Michal Babay is the author I’M A GLUTEN-SNIFFING SERVICE DOG (Albert Whitman & Company, 2021). After many years as a teacher and elementary resource specialist, Michal now spends her days writing stories, wrangling teenagers, convincing her three dogs to stop barking, and searching for the perfect gluten-free donut. Michal lives in Southern California with her family
Click on the book cover to order a copy!
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.