Hello again and welcome back to a brand new interview on the KidLit Oasis!
Thank you for stopping by -- I hope that you find the Chitchat series to be a place for refreshing your spirits, recharging your creativity, and getting a literary mood boost!
Now, stretch your smiles wide once more, and get comfy and cozy for a lovely chitchat because today we have another fantastic creative on the KidLit Oasis... Children's author Valerie Bolling is here to share some wisdom, insight, and inspiration with us!
Plus, check out the giveaways and other offers at the end of this interview.
Welcome, Valerie! Thank you for joining us on the blog. Please briefly describe your journey to publication.
A: I’ve always been a writer, Rosie, but it was at the beginning of 2017 that I decided to begin exploring the picture book industry. I spoke to people who I believed could be helpful resources – and they were – and I wrote and wrote and wrote. And revised even more.
That June I wrote the first draft of Let’s Dance! After getting beneficial critique from a friend, and continuing to revise, I started querying the manuscript in January 2018. It was “liked” in a Twitter pitch in June 2018 by Jes Negrón, an editor at Boyds Mills & Kane.
A couple of weeks after sending the manuscript to her, Jes expressed interest in publishing the book. When we had “The Call,” I shared with her my desire for the book’s illustrations to manifest an inclusive representation of children: gender, race, ability. Jes expanded upon my vision for diversity by recognizing that some of my words described cultural dances like Flamenco (Spain), Kathak (India), and Long Sleeve Dance (China). I am thrilled to have this added layer of cultural representation in my book!
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: What’s challenging in this industry is the constant rejection. I’m motivated to continue along my journey, however, because all children, especially those who are underrepresented in books, deserve to see themselves on book covers and pages; they need to feel valued and validated. What’s most rewarding for me, currently, are the connections I’m making promoting my book, doing virtual events. I’m meeting people from all over the country who exhibit the kindness and generosity for which the writing community is known.
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’m not sure if it’s a technique, per se, but during revision, I often have at least two versions of a story and sometimes several options for a story scene. I also use copy/paste to move paragraphs around to see where they work best. My writing partner and critique group also weigh in on my revisions; their feedback is essential to my revision process.
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: What’s coming up next for me, Rosie, is a packed schedule of virtual events. I’m also teaching a picture book writing class this summer. Of course, I continue to write, revise, and maintain hope that I’ll have another manuscript accepted for publication.
Thank you so much, Valerie! What a pleasure to have you share your journey, tips, and future plans with us! I wish you all the best with this title as well as many more to come, and I hope you'll be back to talk to us and share more books soon!
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Connect with Valerie Bolling:
Let’s Dance! (Boyds Mills & Kane) is Valerie Bolling’s debut picture book. In addition to being an author, Valerie has been an educator for over 25 years. When she taught elementary students, it was difficult to find diverse literature for them. Thus, she is passionate about creating stories in which all children can see themselves and feel valued and heard.
A graduate of Tufts University and Columbia University, Teachers College, Valerie currently works as an Instructional Coach with middle and high school teachers.
Valerie is a member of NCTE, SCBWI, the NESCBWI Equity and Inclusion Committee, the Authors Guild, the WNDB Mentorship Program, #12X12PB, 2020 Diverse Debuts, 20/20 Vision Picture Books, and a picture book critique group.
Valerie and her husband live in Connecticut and enjoy traveling, hiking, reading, going to the theater, and dancing.
G I V E A W A Y ! ! !
Comment on this post by midnight on Monday 6/29/20 for a chance to win a picture book critique from Valerie. Winner will be announced next week.
If you'd like to support my work, consider pre-ordering
my upcoming picture book, Sunday Rain, from your local Indie Store or Amazon.
And the winner is . . . Natalie Cohn!!!
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.