Posted by: Kathy Temean | November 11, 2017

Illustrator Saturday – Jessica Linn Evans

Jessica Linn Evans was born and raised in the Pacific Northwest where she grew up into a love of the outdoors and fairy stories. She graduated from the University of Idaho with a BFA in Studio Arts. After many years in the role of Art Director/Graphic Designer, she moved forward full-time with her passion for illustrating and writing books for children, creating whimsical characters and settings, emphasizing the wonder of God’s world. Jessica resides in Idaho with her husband and four delightful children.

See this lovely article by Shelle Lenssen on GoIdaho.com featuring Jessica’s illustration and her vision for children’s literature.

Jessica says, “When I paint, I strive to amplify the wonder of creation and awaken an awareness in children of the every day miracles in the world around them.

“I also write. Mostly fairy tales, because that’s what I love. They clearly portray good and evil. They help kids name the dragon in their own lives and teach them how to kill it. Besides that, who couldn’t use a little more magic?

“Stories are food for children. They need stories to grow up properly. And you are what you eat, right? So I strive to serve up good meals. But nutritious doesn’t have to be boring! …And I’m not into skipping dessert.”

Here is Jessica explaining her process:

After I do many character sketches, I’ll do several, more developed sketches of the page I want to create, experimenting with different character movement and composition of the scene. Once I settle on a composition, I’ll make the outlines of the main shapes darker and more defined so I can easily trace it onto tracing paper. Then I apply graphite to the back of the tracing paper and position the composition where I want it over the watercolor paper. After transferring the desired outline to my watercolor paper, I paint in preliminary shading, usually with a neutral gray. Next, I add more definition to the shading. Finally, I add the color and detail over the top of the shading. The result, in this case: Bun Bun has (pretend) tea from a fancy cup while demonstrating bad posture.

Interview with Jessica Linn Evans

How long have you been illustrating?

I made a trilogy of little picture books for my mom when I was 5 years old. I put them in a little milk carton with the top cut off so she could have a box set.

What made you choose to get your BFA at University of Idaho?

I got a full ride volleyball scholarship to play at University of Idaho. They didn’t have an illustration or graphic design program, so I chose the closest degree. But it was really a good fit to hone my illustrating focus as well.

Why did type of classes do you take when you study Studio Arts?

Oil painting, sculpture, Visual Composition and the Design Process. VCDP was a killer. That’s when I started drinking coffee for my all-nighters.

Do you think art school influenced your style?

Yes, my technique is better and I pay attention to color and composition.

What type of job did you do right after you graduated?

I started out as a graphic designer for the University of Idaho print shop.

How did you get the Art Director/Graphic Designer job? Was that in Idaho?

I started out with page layout and photo adjustment at the Appaloosa Horse Club in Moscow, Idaho. We produced a full color magazine monthly and that really taught me about deadlines! I eventually became the art director for the magazine (Appaloosa Journal). Later, I moved up the highway 8 miles to be a graphic designer at Washington State University’s University Press.

When did you decide you wanted to illustrate for children?

I’ve always wanted to illustrate children’s books. In fact, when I started the art program at the U of I, I thought that’s why everyone wanted to study art. Isn’t that the only reason to study it? Of course, most (if not all) of the other students had different reasons for pursuing an art degree, but I was all in for kid’s books!

Do you have an Artist Rep. to represent you? If so, how did you meet and how long have they represented you? If not, would you like to find representation?

I don’t have an Art Rep. yet, but I’ve started my search and I’d love to find a great fit.

Was WAITING THROUGH WINTER your first illustrated picture book?

Yes. If you don’t count the box set for my mom.

How did that opportunity come your way?

The publisher and his family used to live in Moscow, Idaho, before he owned a publishing house. He emailed me one day and asked if I was still illustrating children’s books. Still? I hadn’t done any yet, but I was ready to start. “Yes I am!” I told him. And it went from there!

SOLAR THE POLAR is coming out in December. How did that job come your way?

I was contacted by the agent representing the author. They loved the bears in Waiting Through Winter and asked if I would consider polar bears this time.

Was it hard to illustrate LITTLE MOUSE FINDS A FRIEND while working on SOLAR THE POLAR?

Yes. It was definitely the most hectic summer of my life!

Have you illustrated other types of illustration projects?

Yes, I did several illustrations for the Appaloosa Journal and various pubs at WSU Univerity Press as well as illustrations for educational books. I’ve also done commissioned artwork for private parties.

Have you illustrated any book covers for novels?

Not novels. I illustrated the cover for a children’s history book called Trial and Triumph (Canon Press).

Would you like to write and illustrate a children’s book?

Absolutely. I love fairytales/folk tales and adventure stories. I’ve written both. They aren’t published yet, but I’m working on it.

Would you be open to illustrating a book for an author who wants to self-publish?

I’d consider it on a case by case basis.

Have you ever tried to illustrate a wordless picture book?

Yes! It’s super hard. But I have a completed one out on a couple queries.

What educational publishers have you worked with?

Canon Press and Logos Press, both here in Moscow, Idaho. They develop a lot of curriculum for homeschool families.

What is your favorite medium to use?

Graphite and Watercolor.

Has that changed over time?

I’ve always liked graphite. Watercolor came later.

Do you have a studio set up in your home?

Nope. I paint on the dining room table.

What is the one thing in your studio that you could not live without?

Natural light!

Do you try to spend a specific amount of time working on your craft?

I attend SCBWI conferences, but I’m a full time mom and volleyball coach, so I have to catch as catch can. I usually get in about 20 hours a week if I can.

Do you take pictures or do any types of research before you start a project?

Absolutely. I almost always use reference.

Do you think the Internet has opened doors for you?

Oh yes. So much easier to do research at the click of a mouse.

Do you use Photoshop or Painter with your illustrations?

I use Photoshop to make small corrections and make color consistent, but all my illustrations are done with traditional mediums.

Do you own or have you used a Graphic Drawing Tablet in your illustrating?

Not yet!

Do you have any career dreams that you want to fulfill?

Make beautiful picture books for children. That’s about it.

What are you working on now?

I’m currently marketing Little Mouse Finds A Friend and polishing up some manuscripts, but I’m also developing a wordless picture book.

Do you have any material type tips you can share with us? Example: Paint or paper that you love – the best place to buy – a new product that you’ve tried – A how to tip, etc.

I love to use Hahnemülel Bamboo Watercolor paper blocks. I don’t have to stretch the paper and it takes all kinds of scrubbing and erasing without damaging the tooth.

Any words of wisdom on how to become a successful writer or illustrator?

Keep writing and drawing. Practice makes… better. Also, get in a critique group for both disciplines if you can. They’re extremely helpful and you make a lot of great friends. SCBWI is a super resource for being successful in the children’s’ book industry.

Thank you Jessica for sharing your talent, process, journey, and expertise with us. Please make sure you keep in touch and share your future successes with us. To see more of Jessica’s work, you can visit her at her website: https://jessicalinnevans.com/

If you have a minute, please leave a comment for Jessica. I am sure she’d love it and I enjoy reading them, too. Thanks!

Talk tomorrow,

Kathy

Posted by: Kathy Temean | November 10, 2017

November Featured Agent – Carlisle Webber Interview Part One


Carlisle Webber, Associate Agent at Fuse Literary

Would you like the opportunity to win a first page critique with Carlisle? Scroll down to Submission Guidelines after Part One of my interview with Carlisle for details.

Carlisle Webber refused to major in English in college because she didn’t think there was anything fun to read on the required lists. No Stephen King? No R.L. Stine? No thanks!

After college, she took her love of commercial, YA, and middle grade fiction to the University of Pittsburgh School of Information Sciences, where she earned a Master of Library and Information Sciences. She worked as a public librarian for years before deciding to move to the business side of publishing. She attended the Columbia Publishing Course, interned at Writers House, and worked at the Jane Rotrosen Agency in New York City.

She considers herself to be an editorial agent and holds a Professional Certificate in Editing from University of California, Berkeley. She belongs to the American Copy Editors Society and Bay Area Editors’ Forum. When editing, she aims to make a book the best possible version of itself, shaping it in a way so it can best use its unique voice to appeal to a wide audience.
Carlisle is looking for high-concept commercial fiction in middle grade, young adult, and adult. If your book is fresh and exciting, tackles difficult topics, reads like a Shonda Rhimes show, or makes readers stay up late turning pages, she’s the agent for you.

Diverse authors are encouraged to submit their fiction. Within the genres she represents, Carlisle is especially interested in stories by and about people of color; with both visible and invisible disabilities and illnesses; who are economically disadvantaged; who are gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender, or queer; or who are members of religious minorities.
Take a look at her manuscript wish list. But if you don’t write exactly what’s on her list, don’t worry! She’s happy to look at any work that falls into the categories she represents.

She represents middle grade, YA, and adult fiction in a variety of genres.

In general, I’m looking to represent mystery, suspense, thriller, horror, contemporary romance and family stories, women’s fiction. I represent science fiction and fantasy for YA and MG only, and Although anyone who writes in these genres is welcome to query me, I do have some favorite things I like to read about.

Right now, I’d love to see:

– Books set in prisons, hospitals, and shopping malls, or any other closed environment with rules different from those of everyday society
– Workplace dramas, especially if they’re YA
– Edgy, envelope-pushing, potentially controversial, and dark YA
– YA and MG about body issues
– Psychological thrillers
– Domestic thrillers (I describe these as “murder and mayhem in suburbia”)
– Characters who work in law enforcement
– Anything with a creepy, spooky, bloody, or gothic-style setting
– Friendship dramas, including friendship breakups
– Stories about sisters
– Characters who are ballet dancers, gymnasts, and cheerleaders
– LGBTQ stories for any audience
– Magical realism for any audience
– Medical thrillers

Twitter: @carliebeth

LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/carliebeth/

Website: http://www.fuseliterary.com/carlisle-webber/


 

Here is Part One of my interview with Carlisle Webber:  

How did you get interested in becoming an agent?

I was a full-time YA librarian for years before moving to the business side of publishing, and I still work in a library part time. My favorite thing to do is reader’s advisory, where you match books to readers based on their interests. Agenting interested me because incorporates a lot of that skill. You’re still in the business of matching books to readers, who in this case are the editors buying the books. Like librarianship, agenting is also an advocacy profession. We advocate for the business interests of our clients so they have more time and energy to write.

Do you think you will limit of the amount of clients you represent?

All agents have to at some point for their own sanity. I don’t plan to stop taking new clients anytime soon, though.

What are your favorite genres?

Horror, mystery, suspense, thriller, and contemporary, and I’m also looking for light/real-world SF and fantasy. There is no topic too dark or spooky for my taste. That said, I also love fun, lighter stories! When I reviewed for Kirkus, I specifically told the children’s book editor to send me any MG or YA book with a cover that was pink, shiny, sparkly, or all three.

Are there any story or themes you wished someone would submit?

I’m always on the lookout for stories about sisters, toxic friendships, people with invisible disabilities or illnesses, and nonsupernatural horror. You can see more at my Manuscript Wish List page: http://www.manuscriptwishlist.com/mswl-post/carlie-webber/. All authors are encouraged to submit their manuscripts if they write what I represent even if they don’t see their particular topic on my MSWL. Sometimes I don’t know what I want until I see it.

I know you specialize in children’s books, but would you represent a YA author who writes a story about a college age character?

Most books with college-age characters are sold as adult, not YA. I’d have to be able to see potential for a YA market in the manuscript. I might also have a talk with the author about bringing the characters into high school rather than college if they’re interested in building a brand as a YA author as opposed to adult.

Do you think it is okay for an author to write picture books, middle grade novels, and YA novels? Or do you feel it is better to focus on one age group and genre?

If you can do all those things well, I see no reason to not write for multiple age groups. Lots of authors do.

What do you like to see in a submission?

Professionalism. I promise authors that I will never reject them for sounding too professional in their submission materials. It shows me that you’re someone who takes their potential writing career seriously.

How important is the query letter?

It’s secondary to the sample pages, but I still think it’s pretty important. Treat the query letter like you would a cover letter for a job: Your skills and experience will be on your résumé, but you still need to present a strong overview. The query letter tells me what kind of book to expect and how well you know your audience.

Any tips on how an author can get you to ask to see more?

Put me in front of a multidimensional character with an unforgettable voice. Then, make me wonder what your character is going to do next. I always feel it’s more important to have a character who is interesting than one who is likeable. Think about the show How to Get Away With Murder as an example. No one on that show is very likeable. No one wants to go to the mall with Annalise Keating. Everyone, however, wants to know what will happen in next scene, episode, or season.

Stop back next Friday to read part two of my interview with Carlislie.


 

SUBMISSION GUIDELINES For NOVEMBER FIRST PAGE CRITIQUES:

In the subject line, please write “NOVEMBER 2017  Critique” and paste the text in the email, plus attached it as a Word document to the email. Please make sure you include your name, the title of the piece, and whether it’s a picture book, middle grade, or young adult, etc. at the top on both the email and the Word document (Make sure you include your name with the title of your book, when you save the first page).

REMEMBER: ATTACH THE WORD DOCUMENT AND NOT GET ELIMINATED!

Your First Page Word document should be formatted using one inch margins and 12 point New Times Roman font – double space – no more than 23 lines – only one page. Send to: kathy(dot)temean(at)gmail(dot)com.

PLEASE FOLLOW THE GUIDELINES: Your submission will be passed over if you do not follow the directions for both the pasted email and the attached Word doc. This is where most people mess up.

DEADLINE: November 20th.
RESULTS: November 27th.

Please only submit one first page a month, but do try again if your first page wasn’t one of the pages randomly picked. Thanks!


Talk tomorrow,

Kathy

Posted by: Kathy Temean | November 9, 2017

Agent Looking for Clients

Amaryah Orenstein has always loved to read and provide (oftentimes unsolicited) editorial advice and, as a literary agent, she is thrilled to help writers bring their ideas to life. Aiming to give voice to a broad range of perspectives, she represents a wide array of literary and commercial fiction, narrative nonfiction and YA, and is always looking for works that wed beautiful writing with a strong narrative and tackle big issues in engaging, accessible, and even surprising ways. She is also interested in narrative non-fiction and memoir but enjoys any book that connects the reader to its characters and evokes thought and feeling.

Amaryah began her career at the Laura Gross Literary Agency in 2009 and, prior to that, she worked as an Editorial Assistant at various academic research foundations, including the Tauber Institute, where she edited books for Brandeis University Press/University Press of New England. Originally from Montreal, Canada, Amaryah earned a BA at McGill University before coming to the United States to pursue graduate studies in American History. She completed an MA at Ohio University’s Contemporary History Institute and a PhD at Brandeis University, and currently serves as Co-President of the Boston chapter of the Women’s National Book Association.

GO Literary aims to give voice to a broad range of perspectives and welcomes electronic submissions from both established and first-time writers.

Please send your queries to submissions@go-lit.com

Emails should include a description of your work and a brief biographical sketch. Please do not send your manuscript, whole or partial, unless it has been specifically requested.

GO Literary does not charge reading fees and makes every effort to respond to all submissions within 4-6 weeks of receipt. If you have not received a reply within that time, please feel free to resubmit your query – it’s possible it got lost in cyberspace or was accidentally overlooked.

Please note: GO Literary does not accept submissions via snail mail or social media.

Talk tomorrow,

Kathy

Posted by: Kathy Temean | November 8, 2017

First Page Picture Book Critique – Alli Brydon Creative

Alli Brydon is a creative editorial professional and writer based in the New York City area. She has nearly 15 years of experience developing and editing children’s books for U.S. publishing houses. Having worked as both an acquiring editor and an agent for children’s book authors and illustrators, she brings a unique blend of skills to all projects. While her specialty is in children’s books, Alli is available to hire for any of your editing and writing needs.

Alli agreed to critiquing 4 Picture Book First Pages: Today is number three of the four.

WHO CAME FIRST? CHICKEN EGG! by Jen Bagan Picture Book

Chicken and Egg were fierce competitors. They both wanted to be first – at everything. But hard as they tried, neither of them could quite pull it off.

(illo – scenes of the two making every occasion into a contest.)
Speech bubbles: “I was first!” “No, I was!”

They ranted.

They raved.

They even resorted to sabotage.

The results were always the same.

“Tie! Tie! Tie!” shrieked Chicken. “I can’t take it anymore!”
“Oh, you’ll take it,” Egg sneered. “When I take you down.”

The feud between Chicken and Egg went back farther than anyone could remember. Some animal elders had vague memories of tranquil days long ago, but once Chicken and Egg arrived (seemingly at the exact same time) their peaceful hamlet was plunged into turmoil.

(illo – Chicken and Egg harassing animal bystanders to call out first place)
Speech bubbles by animals: “I told you I couldn’t tell!” “It was too close, now leave me alone!”
Old Blue called a meeting. They had to put an end to the rivalry once and for all.

(illo – Chicken and Egg see a giant banner that reads DASH FOR THE SASH!)
Old Blue explained.

“You will race around the course until there is a winner. In the event of a tie, go around again. The victor will be awarded the championship sash.”
(illo – sash reads “First – Forever and Ever.”)

HERE IS ALLI:

Jen, thank you for sending in this sweet and humorous first page! After reading it, I can already tell where the story might go—which means your reader will also be able to. That’s great! The title is funny and engaging, and hints at the rivalry between the main characters. One thing about the title: wouldn’t Chicken also have a chance to cross out Egg’s name?

What’s wonderful about this first page is that you set up the characters and their conflict in the first line. Bravo! That means you’re able to launch them both into the action of the story right away, not wasting any time.

Speaking of the action, I wanted a little more specificity in the rivalry between Chicken and Egg. You elaborate on it this way:

They ranted.
They raved.
They even resorted to sabotage.

But what exactly made them rant, rave, and resort to sabotage? How did they rant, rave, and resort to sabotage? Why did they rant, rave, and…. Do you see where I’m going here? Maybe instead, show three real examples of how they were fierce competitors and really establish this vibe for your reader. I’m thinking: a race down two side-by-side slides in the playground, a spelling bee, a cook-off, etc. Specific examples of the competition between Chicken and Egg will serve your characters and story well, and will drop your reader right in the middle of the action. You can add some humor this way, too. You can even just hint at these examples in your text, and allow your illustrator to elaborate with the pictures.

And speaking of your illustrator, the art notes you’ve included are not necessary. In most cases, your text already does a good job of clueing in the reader and illustrator to what is happening. In other cases, your notes are doing what the illustrator’s imagination should be doing instead. I think your text could do without all of them. Allow your illustrator’s imagination to be sparked by the story you tell; allow her to extrapolate from your words and add value to them.

The dialogue between Chicken and Egg in the middle of the page is sorta mean—think about how you want these two characters to interact, and also the message you want them to send to your readers. Is their rivalry fierce, but also good-natured, as it would be between two friends? Otherwise, you’re hinting at bullying between two main characters, which could be a turn-off for editors and readers.

All in all, this first page ignites interest and launches directly into the action. It’s a great set-up for the rest of your story. I’m definitely intrigued about the race to see who is “First – Forever and Ever.” Who else is?

Thanks again, Jen!

ALLI IS OFFERING A TEN PERCENT DISCOUNT OFF HER SERVICES FOR ANYONE FOLLOWING WRITING AND ILLUSTRATING.COM UNTIL NOVEMBER 30, 2017

On her web site www.allibrydon.com, Alli says, “Whether you’re an author looking to self-publish or get noticed by agents and publishers, or you’re an in-house editor with too much on your plate right now, let me make your words sparkle! With nearly 15 years of professional experience as a children’s book industry insider, I am the expert you need to help you craft, edit, and polish your words.”

Alli is an editor, writer, publishing market expert, meticulous proofreader, salesperson, and project manager.  Having worked with almost every publishing house in the US and UK as both editor and literary agent, she has unique knowledge of the many facets of the industry.

She grew up in a family of visual artists, wordsmiths, and readers, who nurtured both the creative and detail-oriented sides of her personality. After she earned her MFA in Poetry from Sarah Lawrence College in 2005, her passion for economical language and evocative imagery led her to a career in children’s book publishing. Equally at home at an art museum or in the library, at the beach or on the ski slopes, reading children’s books with her kids or writing them in her spare time, binging Game of Thrones or hiking in the woods near her Westchester, NY home—Alli balances life with work, perseverance, and good ol’ ink, sweat, & laughs!

Services For Publishers, Authors, Illustrators, and Other Professionals

Developmental and Substantive Editing

Writing/Content Development

Copy Editing

Proofreading

Photo Research

Book Proposal Consultation

Query Letter Critique

Illustrator Portfolio Review

Illustrator Web Site Review

Coaching in Picture Book Writing

Contact Alli to discuss your project and ask about rates: allibrydoncreative@gmail.com

SUBMISSION GUIDELINES For FIRST PAGE PICTURE BOOK CRITIQUES:

In the subject line, please write “2017 First Page Picture Book Critique” and paste the text in the email, plus attached it as a Word document to the email. Please make sure you include your name, the title of the piece, and confirm it’s a picture book at the top on both the email and the Word document (Make sure you include your name with the title of your book, when you save the first page).

SUBMISSIONS DEADLINE: October 31st.

REMEMBER: ATTACH THE WORD DOCUMENT AND NOT GET ELIMINATED!

Your First Page Word document should be formatted using one inch margins and 12 point New Times Roman font – double space – no more than 23 lines – only one page. Send to: kathy(dot)temean(at)gmail(dot)com.

PLEASE FOLLOW THE GUIDELINES: Your submission will be passed over if you do not follow the directions for both the pasted email and the attached Word doc. This is where most people mess up.

Please check back next Wednesday for critique number two.

Talk tomorrow,

Kathy

Posted by: Kathy Temean | November 7, 2017

2017 Avalon Writer’s Retreat – Ten Reasons to Attend

Sharon James shares her thoughts about the Avalon Writer’s Retreat:

Kathy Temean’s Avalon Retreat in Southern New Jersey is near and dear to my heart, for so many reasons. Here are my top ten “bests” for Avalon.

1. Scott Treimel. I met Scott at Avalon 2015. I’m now represented by him. Scott is brilliant, collaborative, funny, and a great person with whom to spend several days at a beach house.

2. All the other writers – I can’t name them all – the list would be too long – but in additional to the incomparable Kathy Temean, I have made so many new writer friends through Avalon.

3. Long beach walks. Daily.

4. The food (hence the need for the walks) – this year the two highlights were Kathy Temean’s homemade cherry cheesecake (an annual highlight), Angela Larson’s incredible cake with Pina Colada buttercream frosting (oh my!) and my homemade sour cream chocolate cake with sour cream chocolate frosting – it was a bit lopsided, but it was consumed with gusto. (Happy Birthday, Scott).

5. The food (again) – an Indian feast prepared by writer Sindhu Vijayasarathy Avalon 2015 (Sindhu won the 2017 SCBWI Emerging Voices Award for her novel INSTANT KARMA, which she had critiqued in Avalon 2015). From left, Ann de Forest, me, Sindhu, and agent extraordinaire, Marie Lamba.

6. All the writers who have teamed up with agents after attending Avalon- besides me: Kathy Temean, Dianne Warner, Kelly Calabrese, Dee Falvo, Julie Phend, Darlene Beck-Jacobson, and Carol McAllister – Agent Offer.  

7. Avalon alums who have had books published – Darlene Beck, Karen Fortunati, Marina Cohen, Terry Jennings, Marlo Berlinger. Carol Murray.

8. Drinking French 75s (champagne and cognac) with Jessica Dandino and John Cusick at the first ever Avalon retreat. (2012).  We had a blast.

9. The Wizard of Oz experience – the day the door blew off the house in a storm and it took three writers to keep it from flying off to Kansas.

10. The Games – definitely NOT hunger games. Fun and crazy after dinner games. In 2017 it was four things no one would ever guess you did. In 2016 it was word games and serial stories with Jaida Temperly and Scott Treimel, both clever beyond belief. And wild conversations – a big shout out to Louise Fury and Suzie Townsend.

kitchen(Angela Larson and Sharon in the kitchen)

What about the rest of Avalon? What’s it really about, besides intense work with agents (and sometimes editors), consumption of great food and if desired, quaffable wine and cocktails, long beach walks, and the companionship of a diverse group of writers?

Whether you go to the first or second session (3 days each, two agents at each session), it’s a place where each writer receives an hour full manuscript critique (up to 80,000 words if a novel, or three full manuscript critiques for picture book writers) from one of the agents, and an half-hour thirty page critique from the other agent. It’s a place where writers receive full manuscript critiques from other writers. It’s a place where writers make connections with each other and with other agents.

I have gone to Avalon every year since Kathy started the retreat in 2012. I’ve gotten to know lots of agents and I’ve worked and worked and worked at my craft.

One cannot go to Avalon with the expectation that one will receive an offer of representation. But one can and should go to Avalon with the expectation that one will learn, if one is open to learning, and that one will have a fantastic time communing with other writers and industry professionals (i.e. agents) about words, life, food, wine, the beach, and above all our shared interest in and commitment to the creative endeavor we call writing.

(Tisha Hamilton)

Here are some quotes from this year’s writers:

“I had a fantastic time at your retreat. It’s amazing to be able to spend several days in a house near the beach with like-minded writers and great agents. I loved how fluid it all was — critiques and group meetings, sharing between writers, walks, dinners (delicious food!). Such a fantastic opportunity to get a full novel critique plus a 30-page critique, including face-to-face meetings with both agents. So fun and stimulating! I’m so glad I was able to make it this year. Thanks so much!”

                                                                            (Louise Fury and Andrea Casardi)

“The retreat was a great experience! I’ve been to many conferences and workshops, but this one was especially terrific.”

“As participants, we had time to get to know each other as well as our two excellent agents, Scott Treimel, and Jennie Dunham. The atmosphere was totally supportive and so much fun. We critiqued, talked, walked on the beach, ate too much fabulous food, learned a lot, and enjoyed some good wine. I’m hoping to come back next year.”

                                                                  (Andrea Casdari and Jennie Dunham)

“Great agents, great company, great food, 2 blocks from the beach. Your tireless efforts did not go unnoticed—or unappreciated. Thank you so much for organizing this great retreat.”

“Avalon was a fantastic experience. I still haven’t wrapped my mind around the sheer depth of information I got from the agents and the other people in my group. Thank you so much for arranging everything. I hope to see you in Avalon next year with a much shorted and better written novel. ;)”

(Karen Haas)

FACULTY LIST:

2017 Agent Andrea Cassardi, Agent Lousie Fury, Agent Scott Treimel, Agent Jennie Dunham

2016 Agent Christa Heschke, Agent Kurestin Armada, Agent Scott Treimel, Agent Jaida Temperly

2015 Agent Alex Slater, Agent Linda Epstein, Agent Scott Treimel, Agent Marie Lamba

2014 Agent Ammi-Joan Paquette, Editor Heather Alexander, Agent Sarah LaPolla. Agent Carly Watters

2013 Agent Louise Fury, Agent Suzie Townsend, Editor Karen Chaplin, Agent Louise Fury

2012 Agent John Cusick and Editor Jessica Dandino Garrison

Thank you Sharon for sharing your experiences with everyone. Besides getting the rare opportunity to get a full manuscript critique, the two things I love about Avalon are the group critiques (That’s where I always get new ideas for my books) and seeing how the manuscripts develop over time – so much fun.

Hope you will consider joining us in 2018. 

Talk tomorrow,

Kathy

Posted by: Kathy Temean | November 6, 2017

Kudos – Annie Silvestro – Jerry Spinelli – Shannon Hitchcock

I get free copies of ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY delivered to my house and I was going to throw it out without looking inside, but I had a couple free minutes last week, so I opened it up and found the ad below. There looking up at me was Annie Silverstro’s new book MICE SKATING on the top left corner of the bookshelf. You may remember we did a book giveaway last month. I’ve been running around showing everyone I know and now I am sharing it with all of you. Very exciting to see her book doing so well. I hope someday, your book will be there too and surprise me like this did. I asked Annie how this happened. She thought her publisher, Sterling, sent them copies of their books. They liked Mice Skating and chose to include it in their roundup. Congratulations Annie!

Mrs. Read For Fun puts up a video to discuss Jerry Spinelli’s Maniac Magee. Mrs. Read For Fun’s goal is to create lifelong readers by introducing them to books they will love. Here is her Website: http://www.mrsreadforfun.com. Maybe you should let her know about your book.

COVER REVEAL: Here is a glimpse of Shannon Hitchcock’s next middle grade book ONE TRUE WAY – Coming out in late February. I’m sure we’ll have a book giveaway for this in the new year.

 Published by Scholastic:

“Hitchcock deftly weaves her narrative through history to gently bring important past events to light. Excellently written, the novel’s characters avoid stereotyping and are well-developed, and Hitchcock perfectly captures Sarah Beth’s voice as she wrestles with big questions. The somber themes of race relations and personal guilt are handled sensitively and with a good dose of flour, courtesy of Sarah Beth’s grandmother, and hope for racial healing is offered. A heartening and important offering for younger readers.” — Booklist, starred review

INDUSTRY CHANGES:

Rachel Horowitz has joined The Bent Agency as a literary agent, specializing in children’s and commercial adult fiction. Most recently, she was children’s literary scout at Maria Campbell Associates.

Kristine Puopolo has been promoted to executive editor at Doubleday, and Margo Shickmanter has been promoted to associate editor.

At Little, Brown, Carina Guiterman has been promoted to editor.

Adrienne Procaccini has been promoted to senior editor at 47 North and Skyscape.

John Sloan, senior executive editor at Zondervan, will retire on December 15 after a 34-year editorial career.

At Maria B. Campbell Associates, Rebecca Kuss has joined as co-director of the children’s scouting department. Previously she was a YA reviewer for Booklist. Sarah Kelleher has been promoted to co-director of the department.

Talk tomorrow,

Kathy

Posted by: Kathy Temean | November 5, 2017

Last Day of Round One on Goodreads Best 2017 Books

The 2017 Goodreads Choice Awards have three rounds of voting open to all registered Goodreads members. Winners will be announced December 05, 2017.

Voting opens to 15 official nominees. WRITE-IN VOTES can be placed for any eligible book (ENDS TODAY). Remember if you nominate a book it must have been published in the United States in English, including works in translation and other significant rereleases, between November 16, 2016, and November 15, 2017 to be eligible for the 2017 Goodreads Choice Awards.

Write-in votes may be cast for eligible books with any average rating, and write-in votes will be weighted by the book’s Goodreads statistics to determine the top five books to be added as official nominees in the Semifinal Round. A book may be nominated in no more than one genre category, but can also be nominated in the Goodreads Author category. Only one book in a series may be nominated per category. An author may receive multiple nominations within a single category if he or she has more than one eligible series or more than one eligible stand-alone book.

DON’T MISS NOMINATING YOUR BOOK OR YOUR FAVORITE BOOK IN EACH CATEGORY.

Talk tomorrow,

Kathy

Posted by: Kathy Temean | November 4, 2017

Illustrator Saturday – Ryan Andrews

After graduating high school, Ryan Andrews moved to Southern California to find fame and fortune. He found neither, but he did score an internship at a 3d animation company. He also attended Watts Atelier of the Arts and Studio Second Street for a bit, where he drew lots of naked people while studying foundational drawing. During this time he lived off peanut butter sandwiches and tap water. He now lives in Fukuoka, Japan, where he tries hard to blend in.

Two of his comics, Sarah and the Seed, and Our Blood Stained Roof have been honored with an Eisner Award nominations in the Best Digital Comic category.

Here is Ryan discussing his process:

This Was Our Pact, a story about a group of boys setting off to find the truth behind a town legend, will be published by FirstSecond in late 2016. This one’ll be in legit bookstores, so go look for it . . . in a couple years.

I spent a good deal of time sketching out the whole story in my sketchbook. I try to keep my thumbnails as small as I can possibly draw them. These are for me to understand, so they can be super tiny. Probably even smaller than I did them here.

Once I’ve got the whole thing figured out (I think that’s the most important part), I just copy my thumbnails onto a bigger piece of paper, and make ‘em look a little prettier.

So, my materials! There aren’t many!

Bristol board, and my absolute favorite thing in the world, my Kuretake brush pen. This bad boy glides around the paper smooth and easy. On some papers though it looks like garbage. For example it doesn’t take well to the paper in moleskin sketchbooks.

On the bristol board I sketch out the basic layout of the thumbnail in pencil to make sure I have the composition right. I keep this really really simple. I know what it’s supposed to be in the end, so it can seriously just be a few lines to give me an idea of placement. Then I just go for it with the ink.

Now the bad thing about this is, when I try to use watercolor on top of this, the ink smears all over the place. I also tend to ruin bristol board when I paint on it with watercolor.

So I do it with the magic of Photoshop.

If you’re using watercolor to create the background textures, its best to use water color paper. Try different weights, different brands, different presses, they’ll all give you different effects.

I use Windsor and Newton watercolors, but I suppose any would work fine. I also use yogurt container lids for my palettes so I wouldn’t take my advice too seriously.

There’s no real technique to this. Just experiment. This is actually the most relaxing part of the entire process. Just let go. Use the force. Use rags, salt, whatever brushes you can find laying around.

You want to scan this in REALLY high resolution or it’ll look like junk against your drawing.

If you don’t have watercolors, or don’t feel like spending the money on all the paper and stuff, you can find lots of awesome watercolor textures online if you search for them. Just make sure you get some good high resolution ones. Make sure you ask the owners before you use them!

Ideally you’ll have a lot of these so you can browse through to find the best shapes and textures possible that match your illustration. I think about 20 or 30 would be plenty.

So then you pick out an area that you think looks nice. You drag this onto your scanned in drawing, turn the layer to multiply, and you have THIS:

I didn’t want the first layer to be too dark so I brightened it a bit with Image > Adjust > Levels. Oh but before you do that, make sure you make a copy of the original layer in case you ever want to go back to it.

So now I’m going to use that copied layer of the watercolor texture(also set to multiply) to make the tree stand out and make the image overall a little darker cause its supposed to be night. I don’t want to just bust out the eraser though and erase the tree, cause then if I want to make corrections later I can’t. So I add a layer mask.
Layer > Layer Mask > Reveal all
This allows me to hide parts of the layer by just using the paintbrush.

So I want to add another texture element on the bottom right to make it a bit more shadowy and mysterious.

This’ll do.

Again using a layer mask with a black gradient to hide the edges of this new addition. It’s not much, but it adds a little something.

Next up, my horrible trees (I got a lot better at drawing tree silhouettes as time went on) Don’t laugh at them.

Ok you can laugh. they really are pretty bad. So I drew these trees with the selection tool, and then use a black to transparent gradient on them.

When I put them in the image though they don’t look so bad. They’re a background element, and just there to give the idea that this is a forest and not just a single tree. I like to think they atleast do that.

Then you have the final image! Only like a million more to go!

Another glimpse of process:

Sketch

Adding values

Finished piece.

I made a short time lapse video of my drawing process for these pages I’ve been working on. I’d like to make more of these, but I may wait until I can get a better tripod for my phone (I taped it to a wobbly desk lamp for this).
It’s missing the first bit where I use a light box to draw the lines from a rough sketch I did in Photoshop.

Click this link to see a time-lapse video of the above illustration: https://www.tumblr.com/video/ryan-andrews-comics/149951699585/500/

Tools used:
Staedtler Mars Lumograph 7B pencil
Holbein black watercolor
Arches hot pressed watercolor paper

The original is for sale:
http://ryanandrews.storenvy.com/

Different time lapse video:

Interview with Ryan Andrews:

How long have you been illustrating?

Professionally for about 5…no, 6 years?

What and when was the first piece of art that someone paid you to do?

When I was fresh out of high school a family friend hired me to do a flier for a YMCA summer program. I had no idea what I was doing. That was my last illustration job for about 12 years.

Watts Atelier of the Arts and Studio Second Street?

Studio Second Street isn’t around anymore, but I believe that Ron and Vanessa Lemen, who are two fantastic instructors, are now teaching at REV Art Academy. Watt’s Atelier is a small school that focuses primarily on foundational drawing and painting techniques. I wish I could have attended longer, but after my first year of school I got the travel bug and started working overtime to pay for extended trips around the world.

Did you have the internship job with the 3d animation company while attending school?

The internship was something I got before I really knew what direction I wanted to go in. I actually found out about the school from a client we had. We did a job we did where we made a 3d model of a massive sculpture by the late A Wasil that was proposed for a park in San Diego. While visiting his studio he mentioned this little school that he occasionally taught at and encouraged me to take a class.

Did you think working at the animation company influenced your style?

I don’t know that it influenced my style since we did mostly architectural visualization, and very little drawing if any. I did learn a lot about what it’s like to work in a production studio. Unfortunately I no longer work in 3d, though I imagine the software has changed so much since then that I wouldn’t even be able to use it.

Is that when you got interested in illustrating comic books?

I’ve been drawing comics since I was a kid. I wanted to do stuff for Marvel. Maybe draw Wolverine or my own superhero stories. But I lost interest in that world, and since I’m no good at drawing muscles, I gave up on that dream. I didn’t get back into drawing comics until I was in my late twenties. I read “The Beast Mother” and “Thomas the Leader” by Eleanor Davis and it completely changed my idea of what comics could be and really got me thinking about making my own comic.

What made you move to Japan?

I wanted to be a farmer. Really! I still kind of do, but work has made it hard to find the time to do anything beyond having a garden. Plus, I adore the Japanese countryside.

What type of work are you doing there?

I work as a freelance illustrator and a cartoonist. My time is pretty evenly split between doing work for clients (mostly from the US), and doing personal projects, like my comics.

What is the difference between a comic and a graphic novel?

I don’t know that there is a difference. Not to me anyway. A graphic novel is longer? And in a bound book? I’m not really sure.

Did you write and illustrate Sarah and the Seed?

Yes.

How did that come about?

I’m always working on some story or another. That one came about after telling my wife about a horror story idea where this newlywed couple moves into a house in the countryside and are eaten by a creature living under the house. Since we were newlyweds who had just moved into the countryside, she didn’t like the idea and suggested I write something a little more light hearted.

How long after that did you do Our Blood Stained Roof?

Our Bloodstained Roof was done before that actually. I think I did them about 4 or 5 months apart.

Were both of these books self-published?

Yes, through Kickstarter in an anthology of my short stories.

Was it hard to navigate self-publishing to get that job done?

The whole process was difficult, but I learned a lot about printing, which really helped me in my client work. I also now know not to work at web resolution on my comics because I might want to print them one day!

How did you get the two books noticed to be nominated for the Eisne Award in the Best Digital Comic category?

Mostly through social media like Twitter and Tumblr. They just kind of took off.

Has This Was Our Pact hit the bookshelves yet?

Sadly no. It’s taken a LOT longer than I anticipated. Who would have thought that finishing a 330 page story would be harder than a 40 page one?

Do you feel there are more opportunities in Japan for graphic novels?

Oh I don’t know the first thing about the comics market here, but I would guess so. Japan has a comic about every subject you could imagine, and new stuff is coming out every day. I guess you’d have to speak pretty good Japanese though.

Do you want to do more animation work?

I’m currently working as a background artist on a show called Costume Quest with Frederator. I love working in animation. Lots of really short deadlines. There’s really no time to tweak the work, so you have to work fast and just move on, even if you’re not happy with the end result. I typically do 2-3 backgrounds a day. It’s nice to look back at all the work you’ve done at the end of the month.

Do you have any interest in illustrating picture books?

I’ve done a few YA novels, but no picture books yet. It’s something I’d like to try out one day.

How did you connect with Jennifer Linnan to represent you? How long have you been with her?

She contacted me after seeing my comic, Nothing is Forgotten. She’s been my agent for about 6 years now I think.

Have you done any book covers?

A few, and I’m actually working on 2 right now.

Would you like to write and illustrate a children’s book?

If I ever have an idea that I think would make a good children’s book, then absolutely. But so far no such idea exists in my head.

Would you be open to illustrating a book for an author who wants to self-publish?

That can make things tricky with contracts, but I’m not opposed to it.

You do a lot of line and B&W illustrations. Is there a bigger market for that?

I’m not sure. Most of my client work is done in color. I work in black and white for personal stuff because I prefer it.

Have you worked with educational publishers?

Not yet.

What is your favorite medium to use?

Pencil, charcoal, and black ink wash.

Has that changed over time?

I don’t think so. I’ve always preferred working in black and white.

Do you have a studio set up in your home?

If a table with a computer on it in a room full of boxes counts as a studio, then yes I do.

Do you try to spend a specific amount of time working on your craft?

I used to, but now that I have two kids and a lot of work, I don’t really get much time to do proper studies anymore. I’m hoping to change that once I finish up a few of my current projects and my schedule opens up a bit.

Do you take pictures or do any types of research before you start a project?

I do research when needed, but usually just through Google. I’m sure if you looked you’d find the occasional picture of my hand in strange positions on my phone.

Do you think the Internet has opened doors for you?

Absolutely. If it weren’t for the internet I wouldn’t be doing what I’m doing now. Most of my work comes from people who’ve seen my work on Twitter or some other social media.

Do you use Photoshop or Painter with your illustrations?

I use Photoshop. I’m sure there’s better software out there for drawing, but I’ve been using it for 20 years now so I’m too comfortable with it to try anything else.

Do you own or have you used a Graphic Drawing Tablet in your illustrating?

I use an old Cintiq for all of my digital work, but prefer drawing on paper.

Do you have any career dreams that you want to fulfill?

Still dreaming about being a farmer…maybe one day!

What are you working on now?

I’m finishing up my comic, This Was Our Pact (title pending), which will be published by First Second sometime in 2019 I think, doing some illustrations for HardieGrant Egmont, on a YA horror series called The Witching Hours, animation backgrounds on Costume Quest, and a illustrations for a YA novel with Penguin called Mightier than the Sword. I’ve got a pretty full plate at the moment!

Do you have any material type tips you can share with us? Example: Paint or paper that you love – the best place to buy – a new product that you’ve tried – A how to tip, etc.

Lately I’ve been drawing on Arches hot pressed paper. It’s pricy, but I love the feel of it. I draw with these Mitsubishi pencils that they sell at my local grocery store, but I imagine you could find them online, though maybe not outside of Japan?

Any words of wisdom on how to become a successful writer or illustrator?

The best advice I can give to someone who wants to write or illustrate a story is to just do it. Start with something small. Give yourself a deadline of a week or a month. Your first story might not be very good, but that’s okay. It only took you a month. Learn from it, and make another. And another. And another. Finish them all. Even the bad ones. Finishing is the hardest part, but one you do it a few times, it gets a lot easier. Also don’t be afraid to show your work online. You’ll never know if anyone likes it unless you show someone.

Look at process:

light box

Rough sketch

sketch

Finished black and white sketch

Finished piece with color. My process is pretty simple. I draw my roughs on the computer, print them out and use my lightbox to draw the finished linework. Sometimes I apply black watercolor or an ink wash on top of that. I then scan that in and color it in Photoshop by putting the linework on the top layer set the multiply.

Thank you Ryan for sharing your talent, process, journey, and expertise with us. Please make sure you keep in touch and share your future successes with us. To see more of Ryan’s work, you can visit him at his website:  www.ryanandrews.com

If you have a minute, please leave a comment for Ryan. I am sure he’d love it and I enjoy reading them, too. Thanks!

Talk tomorrow,

Kathy

Posted by: Kathy Temean | November 3, 2017

November Agent of The Month – Carlisle Webber


Carlisle Webber, Associate Agent at Fuse Literary

Carlisle Webber refused to major in English in college because she didn’t think there was anything fun to read on the required lists. No Stephen King? No R.L. Stine? No thanks!

After college, she took her love of commercial, YA, and middle grade fiction to the University of Pittsburgh School of Information Sciences, where she earned a Master of Library and Information Sciences. She worked as a public librarian for years before deciding to move to the business side of publishing. She attended the Columbia Publishing Course, interned at Writers House, and worked at the Jane Rotrosen Agency in New York City.

She considers herself to be an editorial agent and holds a Professional Certificate in Editing from University of California, Berkeley. She belongs to the American Copy Editors Society and Bay Area Editors’ Forum. When editing, she aims to make a book the best possible version of itself, shaping it in a way so it can best use its unique voice to appeal to a wide audience.
Carlisle is looking for high-concept commercial fiction in middle grade, young adult, and adult. If your book is fresh and exciting, tackles difficult topics, reads like a Shonda Rhimes show, or makes readers stay up late turning pages, she’s the agent for you.

Diverse authors are encouraged to submit their fiction. Within the genres she represents, Carlisle is especially interested in stories by and about people of color; with both visible and invisible disabilities and illnesses; who are economically disadvantaged; who are gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender, or queer; or who are members of religious minorities.
Take a look at her manuscript wish list. But if you don’t write exactly what’s on her list, don’t worry! She’s happy to look at any work that falls into the categories she represents.

She represents middle grade, YA, and adult fiction in a variety of genres.

In general, I’m looking to represent mystery, suspense, thriller, horror, contemporary romance and family stories, women’s fiction. I represent science fiction and fantasy for YA and MG only, and Although anyone who writes in these genres is welcome to query me, I do have some favorite things I like to read about.

Right now, I’d love to see:

– Books set in prisons, hospitals, and shopping malls, or any other closed environment with rules different from those of everyday society
– Workplace dramas, especially if they’re YA
– Edgy, envelope-pushing, potentially controversial, and dark YA
– YA and MG about body issues
– Psychological thrillers
– Domestic thrillers (I describe these as “murder and mayhem in suburbia”)
– Characters who work in law enforcement
– Anything with a creepy, spooky, bloody, or gothic-style setting
– Friendship dramas, including friendship breakups
– Stories about sisters
– Characters who are ballet dancers, gymnasts, and cheerleaders
– LGBTQ stories for any audience
– Magical realism for any audience
– Medical thrillers

SUBMISSION GUIDELINES For NOVEMBER FIRST PAGE CRITIQUES:

In the subject line, please write “NOVEMBER 2017  Critique” and paste the text in the email, plus attached it as a Word document to the email. Please make sure you include your name, the title of the piece, and whether it’s a picture book, middle grade, or young adult, etc. at the top on both the email and the Word document (Make sure you include your name with the title of your book, when you save the first page).

REMEMBER: ATTACH THE WORD DOCUMENT AND NOT GET ELIMINATED!

Your First Page Word document should be formatted using one inch margins and 12 point New Times Roman font – double space – no more than 23 lines – only one page. Send to: kathy(dot)temean(at)gmail(dot)com.

PLEASE FOLLOW THE GUIDELINES: Your submission will be passed over if you do not follow the directions for both the pasted email and the attached Word doc. This is where most people mess up.

DEADLINE: November 20th.
RESULTS: November 27th.

Please only submit one first page a month, but do try again if your first page wasn’t one of the pages randomly picked. Thanks!


 

Submission Guidelines Directly to Carlisle:

Submissions should be emailed to querycarlisle@fuseliterary.com
To submit your work for consideration, please send a query letter, synopsis, and the first 10 pages  of your work plus a one- to two-page summary to querycarlisle@fuseliterary.com

Twitter: @carliebeth

LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/carliebeth/

Website: http://www.fuseliterary.com/carlisle-webber/

You can submit your work to Carlisle via her QueryManager form: https://querymanager.com/query/QueryCarlisle

Middle grade (any genre)
Young adult (any genre)
Thriller
Mystery
Suspense
Horror
Women’s fiction
Pop/mainstream fiction
Magical realism
She does not want:
Science fiction for adults
Fantasy for adults
Literary fiction (unless it has a strong commercial hook)
Romance
Historical fiction
Memoir
Nonfiction
Any work that has been previously published, including self-published

If for any reason you are unable to use the form here: https://querymanager.com/query/QueryCarlisle you may submit a query letter, one- to two-page synopsis, and the first ten pages of your work in the body of an email to querycarlisle@fuseliterary.com. Unsolicited queries sent to her nonquery email address or through social media will be deleted unread.

Talk tomorrow,

Kathy

Posted by: Kathy Temean | November 2, 2017

Book Giveaway – Me and Mr. Fluffernutter by Jennifer Gray Olson

Congratulations to Jennifer Gray Olson on her new book – ME AND MR. FLUFFERNUTTER launched October 10th. Jennifer has agreed to give one book away. All you have to do to get in the running 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 to discover the winner.

BOOK’S DESCRIPTION:

From the creator of Ninja Bunny comes a new story about a little girl and her beloved cat, who learn that friendship is the best compromise of all.
 
A little girl and her cat, Mr. Fluffernutter, are best friends. They do everything together, all the time. But what happens when Mia wants to have a tea party, and play dress-up, and go for a swim? And when Mr. Fluffernutter prefers to stare at the fish bowl? And stare at the fish bowl some more. . . . Can these two be so different—and still be best friends?

Here are two new characters to fall in love with—and a celebration of differences, compromise, and friendship.

Praise for Ninja Bunny:

“Sweetly humorous fun.” —Publishers Weekly

“Gorgeous illustrations add a level of humor and whimsy. . . . Ninja Bunny is sure to delight young warriors of all stripes.” —New York Journal of Books

“Marvelous simplicity.” —Examiner.com

“Funny and full of motion.” —Kirkus Reviews

BOOK’S JOURNEY:

ME AND MR. FLUFFERNUTTER began as many of my book ideas do, with a warmup sketch. I do warmups every day before beginning my regular illustration work. I think of it as sort of my mental commute to work. I need to clear my mind of whatever images or feeling are trapped inside so that I can better focus on my projects. On one day in particular, I was feeling a bit annoyed about having to get dressed up for an event and would’ve much preferred to stay in that night. I felt that I looked somewhat like a cat would look if you forced it to wear a wig and tiara and sent it out into public. So that’s what I drew.

Mr. Fluffernutter started out as just a serious cat with a ridiculous name, but as I thought more about him, I became more attached to the character and wanted to write him a story. The story of Mr. Fluffernutter and his best friend Mia, is about the comprises you sometimes have to make in a relationship when you and your friend don’t always share the same interests all of the time. Like in any successful relationship, the characters learn to respect each others differences and find common ground. On some level though, this story will always be about feeling like a tortured cat who would rather star at the fish all day.

JENNIFER’S BIO:

Jennifer Gray Olson is a children’s book author and illustrator based in Southern California.  Her love of creating entertaining characters and the worlds in which they live led her into illustrating.  Her work is created through a combination of ink and watercolor.  She lives in Corona, Ca with her husband, three children, and too many pets.

Represented by Kerry Sparks of Levine Greenberg Rostan literary agency.

Jennifer was featured on Illustrator Saturday in 2012 – Here is the link: https://kathytemean.wordpress.com/2012/11/24/illustrator-saturday-jennifer-gray-olsen/

Thank you Jennifer for sharing your new book and journey with us. It looks like such a wonderful picture book. I am sure the winner will be clicking their heels.

Talk tomorrow,

Kathy

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