This week Dianne Ochiltree sent me a copy of her new picture book IT’S A SEASHELL DAY. I have to tell you that I love this book. The story is interesting, the rhyme is perfect, and the illustrations are fabulous. Dianne has given us another wonderful book and she has agreed to offer a signed copy of IT’S A SEASHELL DAY as part of her book launch to one lucky winner. Just leave a comment to get in the running. Reblog, or tweet, or talk about it on facebook with a link and you will get additional chances to win.
I had a few questions for Dianne and thought you may find them interesting.
Did the shores of New Jersey or Florida inspire this book?
The shores of New Jersey, Florida and every other coastline I’ve ever visited inspired this book, for sure! My first experience collecting seashells was as a toddler with my mother, combing the Fort Lauderdale beach on a family vacation. I’ve been searching for seashell treasures to tuck into my sand pail ever since. The shells grace my bookcase, and these days, I’m the one taking our grand-daughters to search for shells on the Siesta Key beach just down the road from our Florida home.
Two years ago you published another book, IT’S A FIREFLY NIGHT (Illustrated by Betsy Snyder) with Blue Apple Books. Did you have a two-book deal with them?
No, I didn’t. But sales of the firefly book were very strong from the beginning, so I wrote a companion book to that title with the hope that Blue Apple Books would be interested…and they were. We’re all crossing fingers that the seashell book will have similar appeal to readers and retailers.
Blue Apple Books is located in Maplewood, NJ. Did you know the publishers or editors? How did you get your foot in the door with them?
No, I did not know the editorial staff of Blue Apple Books prior to the acquisition of IT’S A FIREFLY NIGHT. But I have truly enjoyed getting to know the good folks of Blue Apple Books! They’ve been very supportive of my efforts. I was introduced to the publisher by art rep and literary agent Lori Nowicki of Painted Words. She is wonderful, too.
Did you know Elliot Kreloff before he did your illustrations? He has done a wonderful job. Did he ask for your input? Who thought to perch the two seagulls on the “e” and the “L” in the title on the cover page? So cute and clever!
Yes, Elliot’s illustrations are ‘beachy keen’! His unique illustrative style and cheery color palette really bring the excitement of a ‘day at the beach’ to life. He has captured perfectly the sights and sounds of the sun-kissed seaside, as well as the warmth of a parent and child enjoying their beach stroll together. Elliot was very generous in asking for my input at appropriate times in the creative process—but truthfully, I’ve always considered my primary source of illustrative input to be held within the text of the finished manuscript. My primary job as picture book writer is to provide a springboard for an artist’s imagination to take off in whatever direction excites him or her. I agree that the seagull accents on the book cover’s title is a great idea…and it’s all Elliot’s.
It was a nice touch to end with a page that gave the names and descriptions of the shells. Do you think this will help get school visits?
Like the firefly facts on the last double page spread of IT’S A FIREFLY NIGHT, the seashell facts certainly do add to the book’s interest to schools, and libraries. Whether this will translate to more school visits for me is not certain—as we all know, lots of schools now face budget cuts and tough decisions on which programs receive limited dollars. What I can say for sure is that the inclusion of seashell facts plus the book’s major theme (collecting, sorting, and counting different types of seashells) certainly makes it useful for educators, and anyone else who wants to foster an appreciation of nature in the little ones in their lives.
Can’t wait to see who wins a copy.
If you live in Sarasota, FL Dianne is having a Book Launch Party!
Date & TIME: July 16, 2015 6:00-7:30 p.m.
Place: Bookstore1Sarasota 1359 Main St. Sarasota, FL
You should stop by and meet Dianne. If you haven’t stopped by her website http://www.dianneochiltree.com lately, then take a look, it recently went through a re-design.