Posted by: Kathy Temean | December 17, 2015

Minna’s Patchwork Coat – Book Give-Away

Lauren Mills has agreed to offer her new book to one lucky winner. All you have to do is 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. Just let me know the other things you did to share the good news, so I can put in the right amount of tickets in my basket for you before drawing the winners on Christmas Eve and announcing the winner on Christmas Day.

blog Lauren Mills minna_cover

Story of Book’s Journey
​I wrote and illustrated picture books from 1989 – 2005. They were of much longer length or fairy tales with a more traditional style of art work than has been published in the last dozen years. Back then I was advised to work in a much simpler style and make up a pen name in order to remain published because the picture book market had switched to gearing to the very young child only. Instead of changing my name and style, I decided to delve into classical sculpture and oil painting as well as teaching. When I began writing again in a stream-of- conscience writing group, I found my way back into writing for children, but novels this time. I started by expanding  my picture book, The Rag Coat, that has remained in print since 1990. I felt there was more to tell and I am more comfortable writing fuller stories with conversation. This way I was also able to illustrate in a more realistic way which was also appealing.
    While I was teaching in the summers in Virginia at Hollins’ University’s MFA program for Writing and Illustration I was able to do a lot more research, both for the writing and for the illustrating.
     I submitted five chapters to Andrea Spooner at Little, Brown and several months later she and her assistant, then, (now a full editor), Deirdre Jones, said that they were interested but were looking for the synopsis. Well, I didn’t have one, since I had written it stream-of-conscience! So, I spent the next two weeks finishing the novel so that I knew what they synopsis was. I didn’t intend the book to be very long. They responded with suggestions for expanding the story even more and creating more of an arc. So, I added more characters and tension and the book was accepted. I really enjoyed the editing process with both Andrea and Deirdre. It went back and forth a zillion times and even after it went to copy editing I would add more “tweaks”… which I’ve since learned not to do.
    I was really depressed for awhile at the state of picture books, but now I’m hopeful for a new trend of illustrated chapter books, story books and graphic novels. I’m still pushing for the longer, illustrated fairy tale, because I know fairy tales nourish the soul, and all ages crave to be taken on a mysterious and symbolic inner journey.
blog Lauren Mills LesterMinnaScan
Little, Brown’s Description of Book:

In this charming historical novel, acclaimed artist Lauren A. Mills reimagines her beloved picture book, The Rag Coat, with fifty delicate pencil illustrations and an expanded story about a resilient little girl, her patchwork coat, and how the two bring a community together. 

Minna and her family don’t have much in their small Appalachian cabin, but “people only need people,” Papa always reminds her. Unable to afford a winter coat to wear to school, she’s forced to use an old feed sack to keep her warm. Then Papa’s terrible cough from working in the coal mines takes him away forever, and Minna has a hard time believing that anything will be right again…until her neighbors work tirelessly to create a coat for her out of old fabric scraps. Now Minna must show her teasing classmates that her coat is more than just rags–it’s a collection of their own cherished memories, each with a story to share. 

The Rag Coat was Mills’ first original story and has remained in hard back since 1991.(Little, Brown). It received the Charlotte Award, thirteen state awards, has been told over the radio, has been performed as a ballet by the University of Utah, and received the Smithsonian’s “Season’s Choice” award. Fairy Wings, written by Lauren, and co-illustrated with Dennis Nolan, won the SCBWI Golden Kite Award.

Much of Mills’ own experiences found their way into her novel, Minna’s Patchwork Coat and her picture book, The Rag Coat. See the interview

For an interview on Mills’ process of Minna’s Patchwork Coat, click here

Lauren Mills’ Biography

blog Lauren Mills LOcroppedPortrait

Lauren A. Mills has won national acclaim as a book author and illustrator and as a sculptor and painter. She was greatly influenced by the 19th century artists, especially the symbolists and the Pre-Raphaelites for their focus of the natural world, sense of wonder and mythical subject matter.

Mills’ wrote and illustrated children’s books from 1986 – 2005 while also studying classical sculpture and occasionally making artist dolls. In 2005 Mills focused on sculpture and classical painting. In 2009-2010 Mills co-founded and curated the Beardsley Gallery and Art Guild in Wilton Connecticut. Mills began writing novels in 2010. Minna’s Patchwork Coat is her first novel that she also illustrated with fifty pencil drawings (Publication date: November, 2015 by Little, Brown).

Lauren Mills received her Bachelors degree in Drawing and Painting from UC Santa Barbara and her Masters degrees in Book Illustration at San Jose State University in California. Mills also studied sculpture, 1992-94 and 2005-2007 at the Lyme Academy of Fine Art and egg tempera in Europe and in the United States. In 2009 and 2010 Mills also studied classical drawing and painting from the ateliers: Grand Central Academy and Bay Area Classical Art Atelier.
Lauren Mills is a visiting associate professor of Children’s Book Illustration at the Hollins University MFA Writing and Illustrating Children’s Books summer program in Roanoke, Virginia. Mills has also taught at the Lyme Academy of Fine Arts and at Paier College of Art, and at the Hartford Art School, University of Hartford in Connecticut.

Lauren A. Mills has illustrated several of her own stories as well as the children’s classics: At the Back of the North Wind by George MacDonald,  Anne of Green Gables  by LM Montgomery and Thumbelina by HC Anderson. Elfabet by Jane Yolen was her first illustrated picture book.

The Rag Coat was Mills’ first original story and has remained in hard back since 1991.(Little, Brown). It received the Charlotte Award, thirteen state awards, has been told over the radio, has been performed as a ballet by the University of Utah, and received the Smithsonian’s “Season’s Choice” award. Fairy Wings, written by Lauren, and co-illustrated with Dennis Nolan, won the SCBWI Golden Kite Award.

Much of Mills’ own experiences found their way into her novel, Minna’s Patchwork Coat and her picture book, The Rag Coat. See the interview

For an interview on Mills’ process of Minna’s Patchwork Coat, click here

blog lauren Mills group book signing

For an in depth description see Publisher’s Weekly interview.

Congratulations Lauren!

Talk tomorrow,

Kathy


Responses

  1. Congrats, Lauren! What a wonderful tale!

  2. This book sounds wonderful. I can’t wait to read it!

  3. Beautiful art! Congratulations!

  4. The book looks wonderful. I love the idea of the story and can’t wait to read it. I also loved reading about Lauren’s journey. Congratulations, Lauren!

  5. Love the evocative art!

  6. Such beautiful work! Thanks so much for sharing!

  7. Love it! 🙂

  8. Looks like a beautiful book, in so many ways!

  9. I tweeted and FB’d the giveaway. Count me in!

  10. The illustrations are hat beautiful. Can’t wait to read.

  11. Sounds like a beautiful book. Congratulations!

  12. Lauren – This looks like a wonderful story! I can’t wait to share it with my daughter (and your picture book version too).

  13. I am looking forward to selling it in the bookstore I work in!

  14. Congratulations, Lauren!

  15. Great cover!

  16. Wishing you much success, I will share on facebook


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