Wendy Greenley is the winner of BELLA’S FALL COAT. Congratulations! Please send you address to me.
Lynn Plourde has greed to do a book giveaway for her new book, BELLA’S FALL COAT. Susan Gal illustrated the book and was feature on Illustrator Saturday on Sept. 26th. All you have to do to get in the running for Lynn’s book giveaway is to leave a comment. Reblog, 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. Check back on October 26th to discover the winner.
Bella loves the sights and sounds of fall–the crinkle-crackle of fallen leaves, the crunch of crisp, red apples, the honking and flapping of migrating geese. She wants the season to last forever. She also wants her fall coat–the one her Grams made especially for her–to last forever. But the coat is worn-out and too small. . . . With a snip and a whir, Grams makes sure Bella will be warm when the first snowflakes fall. And Bella finds a perfect use for her old favorite coat–on the first snowman of the season.
THE BOOK’S JOURNEY:
Bella’s Fall Coat likely started the day I was born more than 60 years ago. I’m serious! I was born in October in Maine and the season of fall has been in my soul ever since. I just said on a walk this morning with a whirlish of red, orange, and gold leaves raining down upon my husband and me that I don’t think I’ve ever seen a more beautiful fall—but then, I think I say that every year =)! Actually, one of my first books published back in 1999 was Wild Child, a love story about autumn. I’m actually surprised that it has taken me this long to write another fall book. Bella’s Fall Coat takes me full circle—my first fall book was a mother-child book dedicated to my daughter and Bella is a grandmother-grandchild book dedicated to my first grandchild. He’s even more beautiful than fall.
Besides writing about my love of fall and grandchildren, two other things stand out to me for Bella’s Fall Coat—the editor and the illustrator. Stephanie Owens Lurie is a dream editor. She has edited more of my picture books than any other editor. We worked together when she was at Simon & Schuster (when we did Wild Child together), at Dutton, and now at Disney-Hyperion. Steph Lurie honors and nurtures what’s in my story “heart” at the same time she makes me a better writer.
LYNN ANSWERS SOME INTERVIEW QUESTIONS:
How long have you been writing?
When I visit schools, I tell students I’ve been writing since I was in kindergarten. But as for writing children’s books, I’ve been writing them for 32 years (when I got married and had a ready-made family with 3-and-4-year-old stepsons), but I had 13 years of rejections before I ever got a book published.
How many books have your written?
Thirty-three published as of this year, but I’ve written many, many more that have not been published.
Were all the books you wrote picture books?
All picture books, except for one graphic novel and one middle grade novel.
What was the title of your first book?
Pigs in the Mud in the Middle of the Rud illustrated by John Schoenherr.
How did you get that first contract?
Actually, I got a rejection first on Pigs in the Mud from editor Kevin Lewis at Scholastic—which said some wonderful things about the story, but he didn’t like the ending. So I wrote a new ending, sent it back, and he called a few days later saying they wanted to sign it up.
Was Bella’s Fall Coat your first published book with Disney-Hyperion?
No, I had two other picture books with them—You’re Wearing THAT to School?! and You’re Doing THAT in the Talent Show?! both about over-the-top Penelope the Hippo and Tiny the Mouse.
Who is your agent? How long have you been with them? How did you connect?
My agent is Susan Cohen at Writers House in New York City. We’ve been together for all except my first book (which I signed up on my own). I found her in a book with agent listings—so by chance, but it turned out great. She’s the perfect agent for me.
How did you end up doing a graphic novel?
I wrote a graphic novel, Lost Trail: Nine Days Alone in the Wilderness because it’s a true story about a friend of mine, Donn Fendler. He just turned 90 this summer, but when he was twelve, he got lost in the Maine wilderness for nine days. It’s an amazing survival story brought to life by Ben Bishop’s illustrations. Donn is a wonderful talker, but not a writer; he needed someone he trusted to work on the book with him. So I did. I interviewed him back and forth through eight drafts and eighteen months until we finished the story.
Was Maxi’s Secrets your only middle grade book?
So far, I’m starting on another one—stay tuned. It’s only in the early stages, too soon to talk about it.
Have you ever thought of illustrating your own book?
No, here’s how I draw!
How many school visits do you do each year?
It varies form year to year, but about 50-75.
Do you have any words of the wisdom that might help writers get a book published?
Write what you read! Whatever books you most enjoy reading—picture books, historical fiction, fantasy, mysteries—those are the kinds of writing you might be best at.
Lynn Plourde is the author of thirty-three children’s books including her newest in 2016—picture books: You’re Doing THAT in the Talent Show?! Bella’s Fall Coat, and the upcoming Baby Bear’s NOT Hibernating plus her first middle grade novel, Maxi’s Secrets (or, what you can learn from a dog). Some of her earlier books include Pigs in the Mud in the Middle of the Rud, Wild Child, and Dino Pets. Lynn’s books have received a variety of recognitions including Junior Library Guild selection, School Library Journal Best Book of the Year, Los Angeles Times Best Children’s Book, Oppenheim Toy Portfolio Gold Award, and Amelia Bloomer List. Plourde considers herself a “teaching author,” as she does numerous author visits to schools each year during which she teaches students how to write their own stories.
Video read-alouds, learning activities, and a blog on teaching writing are available on her www.lynnplourde.com website. Lynn lives in Winthrop, Maine.
Susan Gal’s illustrations in Bella’s Fall Coat are beyond my expectations—they are so fresh, so vibrant, so striking and they emanate LOVE—love of fall and love between a grandmother and granddaughter. Susan’s process for creating her art is beautifully shown in her September 24th interview with you, Kathy. And I was fortunate to have a say in choosing Susan Gal to illustrate Bella (that it not usually the case—readers are often surprised to learn that the publishing company usually chooses illustrators for picture books, not the author). But editor Steph Lurie sent me samples from three illustrators to consider for Bella’s Fall Coat and Susan Gal’s collage art just felt so perfect for the story since fall is not just about colors, but textures too. Fortunately, I’m not the only one thrilled with Susan Gal’s illustrations—the book was reviewed this past weekend in the New York Times and it received starred reviews from both Kirkus and School Library Journal, each exclaiming Susan’s art.
Thank you Lynn for sharing your journey with us and offering Bella’s Fall Coat to one lucky winner.