Posted by: Kathy Temean | August 10, 2019

Illustrator Saturday – Chiara Fedele

Chiara Fedele was born in Milan, Italy. After graduating from art school, she attended the Brera Academy in Milan. Chiara works mainly for children publishers all around the word, storyboarding for advertising and movie. Magazines. She uses a combination of mixed traditional media and digital. 

She attended Art School in Milan and took a degree in Illustration at La Scuola del Fumetto in Milan. She also attended several workshops with illustrators such as Gianni DeConno, Arcadio Lobato, Svjetlan Junakovic and a course with the publisher Paolo Canton (Topipittori) called Projecting Books. Her illustrations have appeared in many picture books. 

Chiara also teaches drawing and painting techniques. She lives in Pavia, Italy.

First i draw a rough of the illustration.

When I work in traditional media I use watercolour and gouache base.

I add black ink and other layers of gouache and acrylics, starting to do details with coloured pencils.

Close-up view.

I finalize the illustration with digital.

There is a book giveaway for this book. I will be picking the winner in a few days, so use this link, https://kathytemean.wordpress.com/2019/07/18/book-giveaway-the-brave-cyclist-the-true-story-of-a-holocaust-hero/ leave a comment, and get in the running to win.

MORE BOOK COVERS:

INTERVIEW WITH CHIARA FEDELE:

How long have you been illustrating?

I have been illustrating since 2001, when I started to work on educational book. In 2004 I worked on my first own illustrated book.

From The Brave Cyclist

From The Brave Cyclist

What and when was the first painting or illustration that you did where someone paid you for your artwork?

My first payed illustrations have been the little drawings for educational books.

From The Brave Cyclist

From The Brave Cyclist

Have you always lived in Milan?

I lived in the city of Milan until I was 26, then I moved in the country just 50 km far from Milan.

How did you decide to attend the Art School in Milan?

I always loved drawing and painting, has been natural studying in that direction for me.

The Internet mentions that you attended the Brera Academy in Milan. Is this the name of the Art school you mention in your bio?

The art school is an High School where you start to study artistic subject. Brera Academy is a College course just for Art. I didn’t finish this course because I started another School specialized in Illustration.

What type of classes were your favorites?

I always loved figure drawing, watercolors and painting techniques.

What made you decide to continue your education and study Illustration at La Scuola del Fumetto in Milan.

Since I was teenager I love to reed, specially fantasy books like “The Lord of the Ring” and all the books of Marion Zimmer Bradley, I said to myself one day I will be the illustrators of the covers of these books.

The Scuola del Fumetto in Milan at that time was one of the two only school teaching, illustration that was what I wanted to do.

Did art school help you get illustrating work when you graduated?

The school taught me how to illustrate, there were not so much illustrators in Italy when I finished the school so I started working doing some experience by myself.

Was this the time when you did storyboarding for advertising, movies, and magazines?

That kind of work is arrived later, when I had more working experience.

When did you decide to illustrate children’s books?

When I was at Scuola del Fumetto, I discovered the children’s  book market.

Was Il Kamasutra dei Koccodrilli the first book you illustrated?

No, my first book is “The library Mouse” a Greek book, the first of a series about a mouse that live in a library.

How did the publisher discover your illustrations?

My first publisher is Patakis Publisher in Greece, I met the publisher in 2003 in Frankfurt Book fair.

When I started fairs were very important for find clients.

From The Brave Cyclist

How did the contract to illustrate your latest book, The Brave Cyclist come your way?

I have an American Agency: Astound.us. They got me this project.

From The Brave Cyclist

How many children’s books have you illustrated?

I think I lost the count, but they are more than 20.

How long has Astound been representing you and how did that come about?

I’ve been represented from them since 2015. I was looking for an Agency in that moment for the English and American Market and I found them. Has been my fortune.

Do you have any desire to write and illustrate your own book?

I do time to time, I write down ideas, but I know is something it would take me lot of time so there are some ideas there,  waiting to be realized when I will decide to take this time for me.

What do you feel influenced your illustrating style?

I love the history of art, my inspiration almost always comes from there. I love the Secession movement in Vienna, Klimt, Schiele. I love all the 1800 European paintings. Also I like the medieval paintings. Every art period is a discover and an inspiration.

Do you work full time as a free-lance illustrator?

I also teach Illustration in International School of Comics. Now just in Genova, before in other Italian cities like Padova and Brescia.

Does the Society of Children’s Book Writer’s and Illustrators (SCBWI) have a chapter in Milan? If so, do you belong? If not, are you involved with another illustrator group?

No there is not this society in Italy, there is the Italian Illustrator Society, there are some other associations and when there is a festival or an event I often go to meet colleagues. It is very important to keep relations with friends and colleagues to share information about this work.

Do you have a studio in your house?

Yes I have a studio near my house and I share this space with a colleague.

Would you illustrate a book for an author who wants to self-publish?

Unfortunately I have very little time for this kind of project, but if I fall in love with the story I can keep some time for this.

Have you worked with educational publishers? Which ones?

Yes, is one of my first kind of Job and I am quite specialized on that. I worked for Oxford Un. Press, Cambridge Un. Press, AZ Lerner publishing.

 

Have you done any illustrating for children’s magazines? Which ones?

I worked for Highlights last year.

Have you ever thought about illustrating a wordless picture book?

My personal project are all silent books, because I am not a writer.

What do you think is your biggest success?

Do the work I always wanted to do.

The Internet says you were nominated for the State Literary Award for Best Illustrated Children’s Literature. When did this happen and what book got out the nomination?

Is the Greek Prize for Children book. Is for the books of the Library Mouse.

What is your favorite medium to use?

My favorite medium is mixed media, I like digital too, but I’d rather prefer jobs where I have time to use traditional media.

Has that changed over time?

I am always evolving. Every work is different from the other.

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

No it depends from the job I am working on.

Do you take pictures or research a project before you start?

I love research before start a work. It is not just a pleasure but a duty of an illustrator be well informed on the subject of the work. We must study every time different things.

Do you think the Internet has opened doors for you?

Yes, internet has been a real revolution for my profession. Social media too. Has been a good revolution with a dark side unfortunately.

Social Media has brought a lot of superficiality and has lowered the quality of the illustration.

Do you use Photoshop or Painter with your illustrations?

I use Photoshop when I use digital medium.

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

I have a Wacom Cintiq 13hd to work.

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

One day I will retire myself in a house near the Atlantic Ocean  (Ireland or France) to paint for myself, creating books and printing xylography.

Be more like an Artist than Illustrator. That’s my dream. I don’t know if I will realize it but dreaming is free, so…

What are you working on now?

I am working on some educational books for Italy, I just finished a cover for a big Publisher in Italy, I have a Picture book starting in Autumn for Patakis.

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 don’t know if you have the same products in USA but I love Arches Paper for Watercolor and mixed media, is the best cotton paper I think.

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

I think the tip is Study. Be always curious and study always. Knowledge is fundamental.

From The Brave Cyclist

Thank you Chiara for sharing your talent and expertise with us. Make sure you share you future successes with us. To see more of Chiara’s work, you can visit her at:

Website: http://chiarafedeleillustrator.it/
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/chiara.fedele.illustrator/

If you have a minute, please leave a comment for Chiara. I am sure she’d love to hear from you and I enjoy reading them, too.

Talk tomorrow,

Kathy

I am delighted to introduce August’s Agent of the Month, Danielle Burby, agent at Nelson Literary Agency. Danielle is attending the Fall Avalon Retreat in September 2020. Here is a chance for you to submit a first page for the chance to win a first page critique with her. Summer submissions are always low, so this is the time to submit a first page and get lucky.

Agent Danielle Burby at Nelson Literary Agency

Based in New York City, Danielle became an agent at Nelson Literary Agency (NLA) in January 2017. Previously, she was an agent at a NYC-based firm where she managed foreign rights in addition to building her client roster. She also interned at several top agencies and publishers before graduating from Hamilton College with a dual degree in creative writing and women’s studies.

Danielle represents all genres of YA and MG along with picture books and select passion projects in women’s fiction. She particularly enjoys complex female characters, quirky adventures, narratives that ask readers to think deeply, girls with swords, and seaside novels. Danielle also looks for a strong narrative voice and characters she wants to spend time with. For more information about her wishlist, check out NLA’s Submission Guidelines page.

Daneille says, “I’m the kind of nerd who always has the book I’m reading in my bag plus a backup book plus my Kindle just in case. Growing up, I was completely obsessed with Harry Potter (Fun fact: I would fluff my hair so I could look like Hermione). I also ravenously devoured anything Tamora Pierce, Sarah Dessen (The Truth About Forever and Just Listen are her best novels and I will fight you about it), Robin McKinley, Gareth Nix, Diana Wynne Jones, Judy Blume, Jane Austen…you get the picture. I have a Virginia Woolf quote tattooed on my shoulder blade. Authors have always been my biggest stars. In fact, one of my most exciting high school moments was when Newsday hired me to review the Ella Enchanted movie and then gave me a choice between interviewing Anne Hathaway and Gail Carson Levine–I chose Gail Carson Levine. My job gives me the excuse to professionally fangirl on a daily basis.

“I double majored in creative writing and women’s studies at Hamilton College (both “impractical majors” that have been incredibly practical for me) and figured out that creative writing classes do a really great job of honing your editing and critiquing skills. After internships at several top literary agencies and publishers, I spent four years at New York agency and began building a client list before moving to NLA in January 2017. Now, I work out of my NYC apartment where my office cat likes to remind me that she is boss.”

Danielle is seeking:

  • Middle grade and young adult (all genres)
  • Select passion projects in women’s fiction
  • A strong voice, nuanced writing, plots with unexpected twists, high concept
  • Complex female characters, quirky adventures, complicated family dynamics, romantic plotlines that are an element of the narrative but don’t dominate it, seaside novels, girls with swords, stories that take place in the aftermath of disaster (whether personal such as the death of a loved one or bigger picture such as a revolution), magical realism, YA psychological thrillers, sister stories
  • Social justice themes, own voices authors, a special interest in LGBTQ+ stories
  • Recent reads I have loved include (in no particular order) The Thing About Jellyfish, It’s Not Like It’s a Secret, We Are Okay, Landline, The Sun Is Also a Star, Uprooted, Salt to the Sea, We Were Liars, A Spool of Blue Thread, When Dimple Met Rishi, Six of Crows, anything Liane Moriarty, anything Kristin Cashore, anything Sarah Dessen

She gravitates toward stories with a high concept and strong voice. She particularly enjoy complex female characters, quirky/humorous adventures, narratives that explore social justice issues, stories with a sense of wonder, complicated family dynamics, girls with swords, seaside narratives, and #ownvoices narratives. She finds it hard to resist gorgeous writing and is a sucker for romantic plotlines that are an element of the narrative, but don’t dominate it. Mainly, she’s looking to represent novels that keep her spellbound, no matter the genre.

You can find details about her recent sales on Publishers Marketplace.

USE THIS LINK TO QUERY DANIELLE: https://querymanager.com/query/1352

BELOW IS PART ONE OF MY INTERVIEW WITH DANIELLE:

What made you decide to become an agent?

I have always loved books and admired authors. When I found an author I loved, I would follow their careers closely and read every book they ever wrote. Watching author careers and the decisions made around those careers was my version of sports growing up. So when I realized authors worked with people who helped to look at those big picture career questions I got very excited. Now I get to work with authors who I love and I get to be in the arena with them, helping them strategize and fighting on their behalf for good deals. I love it!

How did you get the job with the Nelson Literary Agency?

I’d followed Kristin Nelson’s blog for years and had learned so much from it and admired her from a distance. When I found out she was looking to bring on some new agents I jumped at the chance to learn from her.

It looks like you lean towards YA and MG, but are open to all types of books. Do you have a favorite genre?

I love so many genres! The thing I look for in a read is depth, complexity, nuanced characters, and beautiful language. Whether I find that in a YA fantasy, MG contemporary, or a whimsical picture book, that is the common thread in every book I represent.

Have you ever read something that is not for you, but you feel another agent at your agency might like it and pass it on?

All the time! My colleagues and I are constantly sharing queries with each other.

If a manuscript has a prologue, would that count as the first chapter when submitting?

My general wisdom is to exclude prologues from a query submission because they don’t give the agent a sense of the overall voice of the book. That said, Rosaria Munda broke that rule in her Fireborne query package and it was the thing that got me very excited about her project. So it can work. I’d say it generally isn’t advisable to include a prologue and I would recommend that authors be mindful of whether the prologue will be their best foot forward.

How important is the query letter? 

It is pretty darn important! If your query isn’t strong enough or professional enough, an agent may not get as far as your pages.

What would you like to see in the query letter? Should writers try to keep it short?

I like a clear sense of genre, word count, age group it is geared toward (i.e. MG, YA, adult, etc.), and comp titles. I also want to know who the protagonist is as well as the goal and inciting incident. And, of course, the author bio!

Should the word count for your manuscript be included in the query letter?

Yes! I think it is very important to know the word count.

Do you like comps mentioned in the query letter?

I think it is really helpful to get a sense of some comp titles. If you can’t think of two specific titles to comp to, I also find it useful to get a sense of which authors you would compare yourself to and which audience you’re looking to engage. i.e. “for fans of AUTHOR.”

Would you be interested in representing a writer/illustrator?  

If the right one came along I definitely would!

HERE ARE THE SUBMISSION GUIDELINES FOR AUGUST 2019 FIRST PAGE CRITIQUES:

In the subject line, please write “AUGUST FIRST PAGE CRITIQUE” Example: 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: August 23rd.

RESULTS: August 30th.

CHECK BACK NEXT FRIDAY FOR PART TWO OF MY INTERVIEW WITH DANIELLE.

Talk tomorrow,

Kathy

Trinka Hakes Noble has a picture book titled, A FIST FOR JOE LOUIS AND ME, published by Sleeping Bear Press. She has agreed to share a copy with one lucky winner. 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 do to share the good news, so I can put in the right amount of tickets in my basket for you.

Sharing on Facebook, Twitter, reblogging really helps spread the word for a new book. Thanks for helping Trinka and Nickie!

If you have signed up to follow my blog and it is delivered to you everyday, please let me know when you leave a comment and I will give you an extra ticket. Thanks!

BOOK DESCRIPTION:

Gordy and his family live in Detroit, Michigan, the heart of the United States automobile industry. Every night after coming home from work at one of the plants, Gordy’s father teaches him how to box. Their hero is the famous American boxer Joe Louis, who grew up in Detroit. But the Great Depression has come down hard on the economy. Detroit’s auto industry is affected and thousands of people lose their jobs, including Gordy’s father. When his mother takes on work with a Jewish tailor, Gordy becomes friends with Ira, the tailor’s son, bonding over their shared interest in boxing and Joe Louis. As the boys’ friendship grows, Gordy feels protective of Ira, wanting to help the new boy fit in. At the same time, America is gearing up for the rematch between Joe Louis and the German boxer, Max Schmeling. For many Americans this fight is about good versus evil (US against Nazi Germany). Against the backdrop of the 1938 Fight of the Century, a young boy learns what it means to make a stand for a friend.

BOOK JOURNEY:

A Fist for Joe Louis and Me has a long book journey.  It all started about ten years ago when I was speaking at the Michigan Reading Association Conference in Detroit, Michigan.  The conference was held in downtown Detroit’s Cobo Center.  On my way to my presentation, I was inexplicably drawn to a display case in the middle of the busy lobby, which held a rather small, unassuming bronzed boxing glove.  Underneath was a sign that read: THE GLOVE THAT FLOORED NAZI GERMANY…Through the generosity of Michigan Jewish Sports Hall of Fame, Fred and Marguerite Guinyard.

 It took a few minutes for me to realize that this was the glove that Joe Louis wore when he knocked out the German boxer, Max Schmeling in what was called The Fight of the Century in 1938.   The very same glove!  I couldn’t move and stood there in awe for a long time.  I knew a little about Joe Louis and that fight, but I needed to learn more, understand more about this boxing glove, Joe Louis and what was happening in America at that time.  Inspiration began to build inside me.  I knew right then that I had to write a story for young readers about this important event in our history.  Needless to say, I was late for my presentation, but since my audience was primarily book lovers, I thought they would understand.

Years went by, and during that time I wrote many other books for children including several historical fiction books for the Sleeping Bear Press series, Tales of Young Americans: The Scarlet Stockings Spy (2004), The Last Brother (2005) and most recently, Rettie and the Ragamuffin Parade (2017).  Yet, Joe Louis’s boxing glove never left me.  But would it make a good story for kids today?  Do they even know who Joe Louis was?  Can I tie it in with American history and still make a good story?  Then, I began to think of it as a Tales of Young Americans and that gave the possibility credence.  Slowly I began to form tentative characters and a loose plot.  I knew I wanted the two boy characters to be affected by their time: the Great Depression, the rise of Nazi Germany and looming World War II.  But more importantly I wanted them to learn what it means to take a stand, to defend what is right, just like Joe Louis did in the Fight of the Century, all against the backdrop of 1938 Detroit.  And yet, I hadn’t written a word.

Then, in 2017, while having lunch with my brilliant editor, Barb McNally at Sleeping Bear Press, I began to tell her a little bit of this story that was swirling around in my head.  Her eyes brightened and she flashed a winning smile.  “I love it!” she said.  Believe me, this is music to any writer’s ears, but it also means that now I have to write it, and make sure she still loves it when she reads that first draft, and the second and the third.  Now the real journey of A Fist for Joe Louis and Me was underway.

Over the next year, with input from Barb, I wrote and rewrote several more drafts of this manuscript until it began to evolve and solidify.  Finally, my manuscript was submitted to acquisitions.  To my delight, the story was acquired by Sleeping Bear Press and slated for its Tales of Young Americans series for the fall 2019 list.  Now the search for just the right illustrator began.  I was so happy when the talented Nicole Tadgell was chosen, and the equally talented Jennifer Bacheller was on board as the book designer.   I couldn’t have asked for a better team than this.   Now A Fist for Joe Louis and Me was on its way!

But the writing part of this journey was not finished. As Nicole’s artwork began to come in, Barb and I studied her illustrations to make sure that all visual information and details were historically correct for 1938, but more importantly, we tweaked the text to make sure it matched her illustrations.  In a picture book, text and art must fit together like a glove. Even a day or two before the book was off to the printers, we changed a word here and there. That is how much care and attention is given to a book, not only by myself, and my editor, but also by the whole Sleeping Bear Press team.

Below Coloring Page of Above Illustration:

Coloring Page
But this book’s journey is still not complete until it is in the hands of a young reader.  It is my sincere hope that A Fist for Joe Louis and Me will evoke in all readers, young and not so young, the same powerful feelings and deep inspiration I felt when I first saw Joe Louis’s boxing glove in Detroit all those years ago.

TRINKA’S BIO:

Trinka Hakes Noble is the award-winning author of over thirty picture books.  The Day Jimmy’s Boa Ate the Wash, (ALA Notable, PBS Reading Rainbow feature, Booklist Children’s Editors’ Choice, IRA Children’s Choice, American Book Award, Scholastic Book Club Selection), illustrated by Seven Kellogg, just celebrated its 39th year in print.  Three more Jimmy’s Boa books complete the series.  Meanwhile Back At The Ranch (PBS Reading Rainbow feature, American Book Award, Arizona Young Readers Award, North Dakota Flicker-Tail Award) is celebrating its 30th year in print.  Apple Tree Christmas, which she wrote and illustrated, (Cricket Magazine, The Golden Books Treasury of Christmas, Junior Literary Guild Selection) is presently in a Holiday Classic edition.

 

Other titles include The Scarlet Stockings Spy, (ILA Teacher’s Choice, Chicago’s Crystal Book Award of Excellence, Learning Magazine Teacher’s Choice Award), The Last Brother, (IPPY Award Bronze, PLA Carol Field Honor Book, Storytelling Magazine Honor Award, Scholastic Book Club Selection), and The Orange Shoes (ILA Teacher’s Choice, NAPPA Honors, Jefferson Cup Award Nominee, CBC Best Books).

Her latest titles are The Legend of the Jersey Devil (2013), Lizzie and the Last Day of School (2015), The Legend of Sea Glass (2016), and Rettie and the Ragamuffin Parade (Fall/2017)Her newest title is A Fist for Joe Louis and Me (2019).

Ms. Noble graduated from Michigan State University with a BA in painting, and went on to study children’s book writing and illustration in New York City at Parson’s School of Design, the New School University , Caldecutt medalist Uri Schulivitz’s Greenwich Village Workshop, and most recently at New York University.

Ms. Noble is a board member of The New Jersey Center for the Book, The Rutgers University Council on Children’s Literature, The Author’s Guild and the Society of Children’s Book Writers & Illustrators.  In 2002, she was awarded Outstanding Woman in Arts and Letters from the state of New Jersey for her life-time work in children’s books along with letters of accommodation from The US House of Representatives, the US Senate and the US Congress.  She was also awarded Author of the Year, 2016/2017, by the New Jersey Association of School Librarians.  She lives in a circa 1780 house in historic Northern New Jersey.  Learn more at www.trinkahakesnoble.com

NICKIE’S BIO:

I was thrilled to work on something that had to do with Detroit, as I was born there! My sister helped out with the research, finding video resources of kids boxing in the 1930s. Together we found many boxing images from that time. I really saw this as an opportunity to paint a city using an usual color techniques that I enjoy I wanted to use color in a unique way that show the liveliness that is in an urban setting. I did not want it to look at all depressing!

Although I work traditionally, I do use several digital techniques along the way. I used my iPad for some of the rough sketches, I scan, clean up, and do some composition corrections in Photoshop. Then I print the final drawings directly onto watercolor paper, and paint traditionally, then I scan the work and adjust a little, and upload files for a completed book!

A book is always a team effort. I have so much gratitude for the author, the editor, and all the staff that I worked with at Sleeping Bear Press. I was happy to use memories of the neighborhoods. My grandparents and extended family lived in 1930s style Bungalows in those old Detroit neighborhoods. I relied primarily on memories of what it felt like to be there in order to evoke a strong emotional connection, which is central to how I create my art. I hope everyone enjoys this book!


Trinka and Nickie, thank you for sharing your gorgeous book and its’ journey with us. I am so happy that you sent me a copy. I am really impressed by the quality of the pictures books Sleeping Bear Press is publishing. Everyone who reads this book will be struck by the story, the writing, and the illustrations. Great team effort!

Talk tomorrow,

Kathy

Posted by: Kathy Temean | August 7, 2019

Mira Reisberg’s Spork Update

What Happened to Last Year’s Acquisitions: An Editor/Art Director Looks Back by Dr. Mira Reisberg

Last year, I wrote a blog post about some books that my publisher Callie Meter-Smith (Clearfork/Spork Children’s Books) and I acquired and why we acquired them. https://kathytemean.wordpress.com/2018/12/27/new-books-from-spork-2019/

This year, I want to do a follow up and talk about what happened with four of the books and the process involved.

All of the books that Callie and I acquired came from the Children’s Book Academy’s Craft and Business of Writing Children’s Picture Books course. http://bit.ly/CBACBWPB I’ve gotten flack for hiring my students but for me my students are as close as I get to having kids, plus I fall in love with them and their work in the process of teaching them how to write and sell exceptional picture books.

I’m going to start with the books that are really close to publication and then talk about the ones that aren’t ready yet and why.

The most recently published book is Vanessa Keel and Adriana Hernandez Bergstrom’s Boomer At Your Service. While there was quite a bit of back-and-forth to get it as fantastic as it is, both Vanessa and Adriana were total pros, willing to do whatever it took to make it fabulous. The editing and art directing process is really magical, where it often shows logic flaws that aren’t always obvious in the text alone (this is one reason why making a dummy or mini-dummy is really helpful plus it can also show you where you can cut telling words that can be shown in pictures) and it’s so lovely to see characters evolve as the work takes on a life of its own.

Vanessa also connected with a wonderful service dog training organization who vetted the book and to whom Vanessa will be donating all her pre-order sales money to. Here are some images that will hopefully whet your appetite to pre-order this book, which is off to the printer very soon if not already, and help Merlyn’s Kids as well. Boomer at Your Service includes diversity in a very inclusive and non-didactic way as well as diversity in terms of disability. It also gives kids guidance in how to deal with service dogs that they meet. I love the humor, heart and soul in this book.

When disaster strikes at Boomer’s Service Dog Graduation Day, he sets off to find a family on his own. Catastrophe after calamity leave him feeling hopeless until a furry feline changes his fate forever. Boomer discovers friendship, his happily-ever-after home, and his special purpose in life.

Next up is, If Sun Could Speak, written by Kourtney LaFavre and illustrated by Saki Tanaka. I adore this book because of how incredibly creative it is and how much you get to learn by reading it. It is cheeky and fun, with a fabulous voice in both the text and the art. Sun includes both multicultural mythology from different cultures as well as scientific solar system history discoveries from BC to the present.

The book had stops and starts because of life getting in the way. I did a trip to Australia where I did one of my over the top presentations for my first Keynote ever and then a massive move to Portland Oregon. Kourtney’s exquisite son, Isaac, had some major health challenges but despite all this, we all plugged along to create something that’s kind of genius. Here are just some of my many favorite spreads.

The third book in the series that is inching its way to the printer is Walkout, Written by Tina Shepardson and illustrated by Terry Sirrell, Walkout is about two young friends whose friendship is challenged when one decides to defy the principals orders, by walking out with the upper grades in protest against gun violence, and the other one is too fearful to join her. As one of my favorite students was killed when I was teaching at Northern Illinois University, the story was very resonant for me, and with everything that’s going on in the States, it’s an extremely important story. I paired Tina with illustrator Terry Sirrell to defuse some of the intensity of the subject matter, and Tina also did a really good job of focusing on the friendship to make it age-appropriate. Tina also provides back matter for kids on what to do if there’s violence at their school while providing all sorts of other resources. Like all the books I get to work on whether during class or after acquisition, I feel both honored and proud to be a part of this book’s journey into the world.

The fourth book that I’ve been working on is Mac & Cheese and the Personal Space Case, written by Jolene Gutiérrez and illustrated by Heather Bell. We have all the black and white sketches for this and some of the color spreads, so I’m not sure when that one will be ready. Here are some pictures of this WIP (Work in Progress) about being neuro-diverse and having to navigate different personal space issues, especially when your space and friendship role-models are a pair of classroom guinea pigs.

I can’t wait to tell you about other wonderful books in the works but this will do for now. As you’ve probably gathered, editing and art directing these books is an incredible joy and a lot of work for everyone involved. I hope that you will pre-order them with these links:

Boomer at Your Service: http://bit.ly/BoomerAtYourService

If Sun Could Talk: http://bit.ly/IFSUNCOULDSPEAK

Walkout: https://www.clearforkpublishing.com/store/p141/Walkout.html

Some of these books are also available on Amazon, but the author, illustrator, and publisher make much less money this way. The one advantage of purchasing via Amazon is that you can then write a review, which is enormously helpful. I hope this has given you some insight into the publishing world and how magical it can be. ~ Mira

MIRA’S BIO:

Dr. Mira Reisberg has worked in the children’s book field for over 30 years and has worn just about every hat in the industry. Besides editing and art directing at Spork, Mira also runs the Children’s Book Academy where she is preparing to co-teach the Craft and Business of Writing Children’s Picture Books, starting August 26th, with Sterling Editor Rachael Stein. Currently, there’s a $70 discount with the 19PBLove code and twelve exclusive editor/agent submission opportunities along with a lifetime learning experience. Mira’s students have published or contracted over 370 books. She is looking forward to the next milestone of 400 student books.  Find out more about the course here: http://bit.ly/CBACBWPB and more about Mira here http://www.mirareisberg.com

Talk tomorrow,

Kathy

Posted by: Kathy Temean | August 6, 2019

Book Giveaway: MOLDILOCKS by Lynn Marie

Lynne Marie has written a picture book titled, MOLDILOCKS AND THE THREE SCARES, published by Sterling. She has agreed to share a copy with one lucky winner and a half hour FB Video Consultation with another. 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 do to share the good news, so I can put in the right amount of tickets in my basket for you.

Sharing on Facebook, Twitter, reblogging really helps spread the word for a new book. Thanks for helping Lynne Marie!

If you have signed up to follow my blog and it is delivered to you everyday, please let me know when you leave a comment and I will give you an extra ticket. Thanks!

BOOK DESCRIPTION:

A fun, shivery take on a favorite fairy tale!  

ONE CHILLY NIGHT Papa Scare, Mama Scare and Baby Scare take a stroll to let their very hot Alpha-Bat Soup cool. But while they are out, a lonely little zombie named Moldilocks sleepwalks into their haunted house, eats their soup, breaks a chair…and maybe even answers the Scare family’s nightmares!

Though slightly spooky, this is also a sweet, poignant story about belonging – and being adopted into a new family that’s just right!

IN A HUGE HAUNTED HOUSE, with room enough for four, there lived three Scares:

Papa Scare, Mama Scare and Baby Scare.

One special night, the family returns home after a midnight walk in the graveyard only to find a little zombie named Moldilocks asleep in Baby Scare’s bed…

Forget Goldilocks and the three bears—MOLDILOCKS and the THREE SCARES are here, in a delightfully zombie-tastic new version of the popular story. Papa Scare (a monster), Mama Scare (a mummy), and Baby Scare (a vampire) live in a haunted house where they eat finger sandwiches and alpha-bat soup. One night, they go out to walk their dog (a bloodhound, of course) to let their soup cool down. While they’re away, in walks the zombie Moldilocks, looking for food, a chair, and a bed that’s just right. Kids will love this hauntingly funny story with its surprise ending!

BOOK JOURNEY:

I love wordplay – playing around with language and rhyming existing words to make them something else. While I do this often for fun and without being prompted, in this case, I did it in conjunction with brainstorming ideas for Storystorm (at the time PiBoIdMo). It obviously sprung from rhyming the Gold in Goldilocks with Mold. Of course, a character named Moldilocks could be none other than a Zombie! And the Scares (rhymes with Bears) would be monsters! But then, I needed a fresh spin on the tale, and I wasn’t quite sure what that was. So the idea sat, dead as a doornail.  From time to time, I’d recall it, but it didn’t come to life.

Then one day – honestly one random day although it could have been a rainy day with lightning — all the parts fused together and took on a life of their own (much like Frankenstein’s monster).

Rather than be an intruder, as in the original tale, Moldilocks would be the answer to the Scare’s nightmares (as you can tell, I’m a fan of assonance and consonance, too). How? There would be something missing in each of their lives until she showed up. I still wanted to mix things up a bit, so I flipped monster roles as well. I assigned Papa Scare the role of homemaker/cook and had him prepare the Alpha-Bat Soup (instead of porridge) and I put Mama Scare to work in the lab. I added a bloodhound named Plasma because, well, honestly because I couldn’t resist, and also gave Moldilocks a little silent sidekick of a maggot-fly named Zombee. The only problem remaining was that my main character, Moldilocks lacked a true problem and motivation. I brainstormed possibilities and also integrated my own situation as an adopted child. And so she was alone and in search of home! When she smelled the warm soup that the Scares left to cool, it lured her in – it smelled like home, something she had longed for for a long, long time. Playing around with the details for the chairs and beds and integrating the puns was just – well, FUN!

 

In total, I did about 7 rounds of critiques with my critique groups (I’m a member of a few groups and like to get varied feedback) before I sent it out. This was pretty low, as I think I did 27 with Hedgehog Goes to Kindergarten, although I did only three with its sequel, Hedgehog’s 100th Day of School and 7 with The Star in the Christmas Play. However, it takes as many as it takes to get it right, and each round would have had anywhere from 3-7 people critiquing it. So there’s that…

 

I was an active member of Kid Lit College at the time Moldilocks came to life and I submitted it for a critique-and-chat. KLC director Jodell Sadler told me it would sell the first time she saw it. She even recommended the big pause in the book. Leslie Shumate of Little Brown did the critique and expressed an interest in taking it on, but just after she left publishing altogether. When that happens, with no one to bring the manuscript forward, the opportunity just dies.

At the 2016 SCBWI FL Conference in Miami, I had submitted another favorite manuscript of mine for critique, THE DINO STORE (still available). This time, the wonderful Meredith Mundy at that time of Sterling Children’s Books, was my critiquer. At the onset of the critique, she revealed, “I really loved THE DINO STORE, but we have nine other dinosaur books, so if I took yours on, it would only be competing with those. So what else do you have?” I pitched her Moldilocks first (since it had just died at Little Brown), as well as a few others. She asked to see the manuscripts, three at a time. I sent them out right away. After that, there was along of waiting and wondering (and waiting and wondering and waiting and wondering – you get the idea), but eventually she MADE AN OFFER! The entire process from conference to contract was January, 2016 to October, 2017, with the book’s release date being today, August 6, 2019! And it was worth EVERY moment of the wait. I am so thankful to Meredith Mundy, my Agent — Deborah Warren, Eliza Berkowitz, Ardi Alspatch, and David Rodriguez Lorenzo, as well as Jodell Sadler and the many members of my fabulous critique groups who were part of and who helped me breathe life into Moldilocks and were with me on this journey.

Here’s the Book Trailer:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PCnKNTlCej0

 

Lynne Marie is the author of Hedgehog Goes to Kindergarten – illustrated by Anne Kennedy (Scholastic, 2011), Hedgehog’s 100th Day of School – illustrated by Lorna Hussey (Scholastic, January 2017), The Star of the Christmas Play — illustrated by Lorna Hussey (Beaming Books, 10/16/2018), Moldilocks and the 3 Scares — illustrated by David Rodriguez Lorenzo (Sterling, 2019)  and her first non-fiction picture book, Let’s Eat! Mealtime Around the World — illustrated by Parwinder Singh (Beaming Books, 2019) and more forthcoming. Her stories, poems, folk tales and crafts have appeared in many magazine markets, including Family Fun, Highlights, High Five, Spider, Baby Bug and more. She was a first-round panelist for the 2016 and 2017 Cybils Picture Book Awards. In addition, she’s an on-staff writer for Jon and Laura Bard’s Children’s Book Insider and a book reviewer.

When she’s not cruising around the world, she lives on a lake in South Florida with her family, a Schipperke named Anakin and several resident water birds. She’s represented by Deborah Warren of East West Literary Agency. You can learn more about her at www.LiterallyLynneMarie.com.

She lives on a lake in South Florida with her husband and two children.

VISIT THE AUTHOR:

CHECK OUT MY AUTHOR WEBSITE: http://www.LiterallyLynneMarie.com

CHECK OUT MY CRITIQUE WEBSITE: http://www.thepicturebookmechanic.com

ON AMAZON.COM: https://www.amazon.com/Lynne-Marie/e/B0065SF8EO/ref=dp_byline_cont_book_1

ON FACEBOOK: https://www.facebook.com/WordsandPictures.by.LynneMarie

MY AUTHOR FACEBOOK PAGE: Children’s Author Lynne Marie  https://www.facebook.com/LiterallyLynneMarie/

ON INSTAGRAM: https://www.instagram.com/pictures.by.pixel.pixie/

ON TWITTER: @Literally_Lynne

VISIT MY BLOGS

My Word Playground (Writing and Reading for Children) https://literallylynnemarie.blogspot.com/

My World Playground (My Travel Blog *NEW*) https://myworldplaygrounds.blogspot.com/

MY YOU TUBE CHANNEL: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCAcYhJhh8xjx_sf7YaRweqQ

Lynne Marie, thank you for sharing your book and journey with us. It looks like a must have fun Halloween picture book that kids and their parents will love.

Talk tomorrow,

Kathy

Posted by: Kathy Temean | August 5, 2019

Agent Jennifer Chen Tran

Jennifer Chen Tran is an agent at Bradford Literary, joining in September 2017. She represents both fiction and non-fiction. Originally from New York, Jennifer is a lifelong reader and experienced member of the publishing industry. Prior to joining Bradford Literary, she was an Associate Agent at Fuse Literary and served as Counsel at The New Press. She obtained her Juris Doctor from Northeastern School of Law in Boston, MA, and a Bachelors of Arts in English Literature from Washington University in St. Louis.

Jennifer understands the importance of negotiation in securing rights on behalf of her authors. She counsels her clients on how to expand their platforms, improve on craft, and works collaboratively with her clients throughout the editorial and publication process. Her ultimate goal is to work in concert with authors to shape books that will have a positive social impact on the world—books that also inform and entertain.

Jennifer is very interested in diverse writers and #ownvoices from underrepresented/ marginalized communities, strong and conflicted characters who are not afraid to take emotional risks, stories about multi-generational conflict, war and post-war fiction, and writing with a developed sense of place. In non-fiction, she loves books that broaden her world view or shed new light on ‘big ideas.’

In short, Jennifer is looking for:

  • Fiction:
    • Women’s Fiction (Contemporary, Upmarket, Literary)
    • Select Young Adult (must have distinct voice)
    • Select Middle Grade
    • Graphic novels and visually-driven projects
  • Non-Fiction, particularly in the areas of:
    • Narrative non-fiction (biography, current affairs, medical, investigative journalism, history, how-to, music, pop-culture, travel)
    • Cookbooks & culinary projects
    • Lifestyle (home, design, beauty, fashion)
    • Business Books (social entrepreneurship, female and/or minority-led businesses, and innovation)
    • Select memoir with an established platform
    • Parenting
    • Relationships and Psychology
    • Mind, body, spirit

Jennifer is NOT looking for:

  • Children’s picture books
  • Science Fiction, Fantasy, Urban Fantasy
  • Westerns
  • Erotica
  • Poetry
  • Screenplays

Fun facts about me:

I’m originally from New York and have lived in St. Louis, Boston, and San Francisco. I was originally an art major before I became an English major. The way to my heart: cheesecake.

Twitter: @jenchentran

Submission Guidelines

Submissions should be emailed using Jennifer Chen TranUse this form

To avoid falling into spam, the subject line MUST begin as follows: QUERY: (The title of the manuscript and any SHORT message you would like us to see should follow). We do not open email attachments, unless specifically requested by an agent. Your entire submission must appear in the body of the email and not as an attachment.

Queries not following the above guidelines will be deleted unread.

Fiction

Please email a query letter along with the first chapter of your manuscript and a synopsis pasted into the body of your email. Please be sure to include the genre and word count in your cover letter.

Non-fiction

Please email your full non-fiction proposal including a query letter and a sample chapter.

Please send your query to only one agent at a time.

Please follow the guidelines on our agency website: http://bradfordlit.com/submission-guidelines/

Talk tomorrow,

Kathy

Posted by: Kathy Temean | August 4, 2019

Book Winners – Kudos – Book Cover Reveal

BOOK WINNERS:

Melanie Ellsworth won NOT QUITE SNOW WHITE by Ashley Franklin

Heather Stigall won A BOY LIKE YOU by Frank Murphy

Donna Taylor won THE MOST MARVELOUS INTERNATIONAL SPELLING BEE by Deborah Abela

Kim Jolly won MY FOURTH OF JULY by Jerry Spinelli

  • Carl Scott won SHATTER THE SKY by Rebecca Kim Wells

If you do not have a dot before your name, please send your name, address, title of the book you won to kathy.temean(at) gmail.com – PUT BOOK WINNER and the name of the book in the subject line. Thank you!

KUDOS:

Congratulations to:

David L. Harrison. This is his 50th Anniversary as a published children’s author.

David has published ninety-six books including poetry, fiction, and nonfiction for young readers and educational books for teachers. He is poet laureate of Drury University and David Harrison Elementary School is named for him. His work has been anthologized in more than 185 books, translated into twelve languages, sandblasted into a library sidewalk, painted on a bookmobile, and presented on television, radio, podcast, and video stream. David has given keynote talks, college commencement addresses, and been featured at hundreds of conferences, workshops, literature festivals, and schools across America. He holds science degrees from Drury and Emory universities. Two universities have presented him with honorary doctorates of letters. Among dozens of awards, David’s poetry collection, Pirates, represented Missouri at the 2013 National Book Fair in Washington, D.C. The Society of Midland Authors honored his most recent book of poetry, Now You See Them, Now You Don’t, with its Children’s Nonfiction Literary Award for books published in 2016. David lives with his wife, Sandy, in Springfield, Missouri. See more at http://davidlharrison.com . His blog is http://davidlharrison.wordpress.com

COVER REVEAL:

Congratulations to author Vivian Kirkfield and illustrator Alleanna Harris for Making Their Voices Heard: The Inspiring Friendship of Ella Fitzgerald and Marilyn Monroe. It is coming out in January 2020. It is available for Pre-Order on Amazon.

INDUSTRY CHANGES:

Allison Hellegers will join Stimola Literary Studio on August 12 as literary agent and subrights director, representing middle-grade, young adult, and select adult fiction and nonfiction.

Kendra Levin will join Simon & Schuster Children’s as editorial director on September 1. She was most recently an editorial director at Penguin Children’s.

Callie Garnett has been promoted to editor at Bloomsbury.

Claire Fletcher has been promoted to senior managing editor, children’s at Chronicle Books.

Giulia Rizzo joined HarperCollins Italia as children’s editor, reporting to editorial director Sabrina Annoni.

In the UK, Strawberrie Donnelly has joined Bloomsbury Children’s in the newly created role of art director, starting August 1 and reporting to creative director Stephanie Amster. She was previously at Scholastic.

MJ Johnston has been promoted to associate editor of Sourcebooks and Sourcebooks Landmark.

Susan Canavan has joined Waxman Literary Agency. Previously she was senior executive editor at Houghton Mifflin Harcourt.

CONGRATULATIONS EVERYONE!

Talk tomorrow,

Kathy

Posted by: Kathy Temean | August 3, 2019

Illustrator Saturday – Jennifer Slatter

Jennifer Sattler is the award winning author and illustrator of several children’s books including SYLVIE, UH OH, DODO! the popular series CHICK ‘N’ PUG and PIG KAHUNA and FRANKIE THE BLANKIE and DOLLOP AND MRS. FABULOUS. This past February launched a new line of original board books from Sleeping Bear Press includes Dirty Birdies and Jungle Gym. She grew up outside of Philadelphia and then went on to study painting and drawing at the University of New Hampshire and then the Hope School of Fine Arts at Indiana University in Bloomington. In 1996, she won a grant from the National Endowment for the Arts . Her books have won The Mockingbird Award for picture books and The Georgia Children’s book Award. She is married and has two children and two dogs. Jennifer lives in upstate New York. 

You can visit Jennifer at http://www.jennifersattlerbooks.com

Jennifer didn’t always want to be an author and illustrator. When she was in third grade her teacher, Teacher Marty, mentioned that she was 40 and had never had a cavity. Jennifer thought that Teacher Marty was “ the bees knees” so she decided that she would be a dentist when she grew up and vowed never to have a cavity. 

Jennifer went on to become an artist. She pretended to be a grown up for several years, teaching college students how to paint and draw. But when her kids were born, her inner goofball could be contained no longer!  Her passion was making kids laugh and making picture books. 

She’s not a dentist. But… still no cavities!

HERE’S JENNIFER DISCUSSING HER PROCESS:

Each of my illustrations ends up to be about 30-40 layers when I finally put them together in photoshop. All of the painting in drawing is done with traditional materials. Then I put them together in photoshop using my Cintiq.

Here’s an example of the evolution of a page:

Interview with Jennifer Sattler

How long have you been illustrating?

I got my MFA in painting in the early ‘90’s, so I’ve been a painter for many years, but the first book I illustrated was 10 years ago.

What and when was the first painting or illustration that you did where someone paid you for your artwork?

My first  nationally published book was Sylvie. It was published by Random House in 2009.

How did you decide to attend the University of New Hampshire for your BFA?

When I was in high school I was looking for a liberal arts college with a great BFA program. I knew I wanted to be a painter but I was also really interested in English and didn’t want to go to an art school. UNH was perfect for me. Even 35 years ago UNH’s BFA program was known as one of the best in the country. Now they also have an MFA program.

Did you take any time between getting your BFA and getting your MFA from Indiana University, Bloomington, Hope School of Fine Arts.

I took a year after getting my BFA living in 2 empty, unfinished apartments that my parents were renovating to rent out. One had a working bathroom, one had a small kitchen. It was strange and not very convenient…but free! I was saving money for grad school.

What made you leave New England to attend a school in Indiana?

The whole time I was in undergrad I heard from the professors I most respected; Jennifer Moses, Grant Drumheller and Craig Hood, that IU had an amazing MFA program. I went there specifically to study with Robert Barnes, a fantastic painter.

Did take any classes in either school on illustrating?

This was almost 30 years ago. Neither school had any illustration classes (that I was aware of ). Even if they did, illustrating wasn’t even on my radar.

Were you painting landscapes and selling them right out of school or did you take a job using your art?

I actually don’t know anyone who lives off of selling their paintings, then or now. Right out of Grad school I got a job teaching at Buffalo State College. I taught there for a year as a Visiting Artist. I met my husband, Paul, at IU. He got a job teaching painting at BU. After a year of living so far apart (and just 1 winter in Buffalo!) I moved to Boston. I worked at a great bookstore in Faneuil Hall called Waterstones (it’s not there anymore). I’m not a city person at all, so living in Boston and painting landscapes was not an easy task. I would take a bus out to the Arboretum. I had a French easel and the largest canvas I could carry. I couldn’t bring my dog Sally ( a 90 lb Doberman/mix and my favorite painting companion) so it was NOT ideal. Eventually Sally and I went back to the house in the country that I grew up in to paint for the winter. I would do jumping jacks every 15 minutes or so to try and keep warm. It was heaven. Luckily I’m married to a painter who completely understood that I needed to live in Pennsylvania for the winter to paint.

When did you decide you wanted to do children’s book illustrations?

It wasn’t until my first daughter, Mayzie, was born that children’s books were even on my radar. My mother in law, who teaches children’s literature to graduate students at the College of Notre Dam in Baltimore, and is a lifelong teacher and lover of children’s books, would send Mayzie book after book, long before she could even look at them. I started to fall in love with children’s books.

What do you feel influenced your illustrating style?

When I first set out to write and illustrate it was with a local publisher in Saratoga Springs. I had been an abstract landscape painter for years. I thought I had to change everything to become an illustrator. From oil paint, to watercolor, from large canvases to small sheets of paper. It felt really strange and forced. It was when I was working on Sylvie with Heidi Kilgras at Random House that I showed her what I really wanted the book to look like. She was so supportive and enthusiastic.

Was Bella’s Saratoga Summer the first published book you wrote and illustrated?

yes

How did that come about?

I went to a group meeting at a Barnes and Noble for aspiring children’s book writers. This publisher was there. After the meeting I went up to him and said “don’t you think there should be a children’s book about Saratoga Springs? I could do that.” After just a couple of phone calls and a sketch or two he said “Sounds great. Do it.” That is NOT how it works.

How many books have your written and illustrated?

I’m working on my 24th book right now.

I found a few books that you wrote, but did not illustrate. Was that because you were too busy to do the illustrations and the publishers did not want to wait?

No, they (Little Simon) wanted a different kind of illustration for those two books (Go to Sheep, Hide and Sheep). At first it felt so strange to give up that part of making the book. But they turned out to be so cute! Benson Shum is great.

How did you the series of Chick ‘n’ Pug books come about?

I was sketching in the children’s book section of our library (something I love to do) and I drew this spazzy little chick. I started thinking of old Looney Tunes episodes (my absolute favorite). I knew this chick needed a counterpart. Once I started drawing Pug their personalities came alive for me and Chick ‘n’ Pug was born.

Is ONE RED SOCK your latest picture book?

Yes. It comes out August 15th. I’m very excited. Last Monday Kathy featured this book with a book giveaway on Writing and Illustrating. You can still leave a comment and get in the running to win a copy. Here is the link: https://kathytemean.wordpress.com/2019/07/30/book-giveaway-one-red-sock-by-jennifer-sattler/

How did you get that contract?

When my agent, Anna Olswanger, first sent it out it was a board book idea. I had worked with my editor at Sleeping Bear Press, Barb McNally, on several board books. She called me one day and said “I really think this hippo needs her own picture book!” I was thrilled!

Which company has the bragging rights to publishing the most books by you?

Bloomsbury has published 8 of my books. Many of those are both picture books and board books, so they’ve done a lot.

How long have you been making a living from illustrating?

10 years.

Have you ever illustrated someone else’s picture book?

No. But my good friend and fantastic writer James Preller and I have been working on a picture book that he wrote and I illustrated. It’s been so much fun collaborating! This can be a lonely business when it’s all coming from your own head!

Do you have an agent? How did you connect with them and how long have they been representing you?

I have a new agent, Allison Remcheck at Stimola Literary Studio.  Anna Olswanger was my agent for the past10 years. She was wonderful.

Have you worked with educational publishers? Which ones?

Scholastic approached Bloomsbury and have put out editions of several of my books with them. Barron’s published My Friend Moe and Who’s Hatching?

Have you done any illustrating for children’s magazines? Which ones?

no

Have you illustrate a book for a self-published author. Is that something you would do now?

no

I noticed you have won a number of awards for your books. Which ones are you most proud of winning?

Boy, that’s a hard one. I think the biggest honor of my career so far has been the special edition of Sylvie that Random House printed for the Vicki Soto memorial fund. Miss Soto was an amazing teacher killed in the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting. She loved Sylvie. I was invited to go to Connecticut by her incredible family where I spoke to a large group of children and adults. It was so moving. What an amazing family and community.

Have you ever thought about illustrating a wordless picture book?

It’s funny, I remember so well reading to my kids before bed every night. Once in a while a wordless picture book would make it into the mix. As an exhausted mom, making up my own words and answering my daughters’ questions about it was NOT what I felt like doing at the end of the day. That said, I know of some beautiful wordless books. I just identify so strongly with that tired mom…. I want to write the words for her.

What do you think is your biggest success?

Sylvie was my first internationally published book. Sylvie has been published in Chinese and Turkish. Random house just published a board book version in May. The fact that Sylvie is still going strong after 10 years feels really good.

What is your favorite medium to use?

I like to mix it up.

Acrylic, water color, colored pencil and photoshop.

Has that changed over time?

I used to do the backgrounds separately and then use tiny scissors to cut out the characters that I had done mostly in colored pencil. I still do them separately but now I can use photoshop to really make that transition much more seamless. I have a Cintiq tablet that really makes using the computer feel like, well, like I’m not using a computer.

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

Mornings are my most productive time. Depending on if I have a deadline coming up, I try to spend a few hours a day. Once I really get going on a book I tend to work pretty obsessively.

Do you take pictures or research a project before you start?

When I’m developing a character I do tons of drawings of that animal until I can get it looking clearly like whatever that animal is, but distinctly mine and with a very specific personality. So I look at pictures in the beginning but then not again.

Do you think the Internet has opened doors for you?

Hmm. Good question. I think that giving me access to everything that everyone else is doing, as well as giving anyone who’s interested access to my books is only possible with the internet. But I’m not sure how useful it is for my writing and illustrating.

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

I’d love to see a plush doll of some of my characters. I want to hold them!

What are you working on now?

Right now I’m working on a Christmas board book that’s part of the Sleeping Bear series. I’m also about to start work on a picture book that’s really dear to me. It’s kind of my version of “Oh the Places You’ll Go!”.

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.

Experiment ,experiment, experiment! You’ll know what works for you when you see it.

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

I think that really remembering what it was like to be a kid the age you’re writing for is so important. Spend time with them. Remember how their minds work. What makes them laugh? What do they care most about? And when you’re illustrating try not to think about how it’s “supposed to look”. And the first thing I would do if you want a career in writing or illustrating is join the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illlustrators ( www.scbwi.org) It’s an invaluable resource where you can meet agents, editors and other people who love the same things you do. People who spend their lives making books for children are really very generous and kind. After years in the “Fine Art World” when I entered the children’s book community I finally found my people.

Thank you Jennifer for sharing your talent and expertise with us. Make sure you share you future successes with us. To see more of Jennifer’s work, you can visit her at: https://www.jennifersattlerbooks.co

If you have a minute, please leave a comment for Jennifer. I am sure she’d love to hear from you and I enjoy reading them, too.

Talk tomorrow,

Kathy

Posted by: Kathy Temean | August 2, 2019

August Agent of the Month – Danielle Burby

I am delighted to introduce August’s Agent of the Month, Danielle Burby, agent at Nelson Literary Agency. Danielle is attending the Fall Avalon Retreat in September 2020. Here is a chance for you to submit a first page for the chance to win a first page critique with her. Summer submissions are always low, so this is the time to submit a first page and get lucky.

Agent Danielle Burby at Nelson Literary Agency

Based in New York City, Danielle became an agent at Nelson Literary Agency (NLA) in January 2017. Previously, she was an agent at a NYC-based firm where she managed foreign rights in addition to building her client roster. She also interned at several top agencies and publishers before graduating from Hamilton College with a dual degree in creative writing and women’s studies.

Danielle represents all genres of YA and MG along with picture books and select passion projects in women’s fiction. She particularly enjoys complex female characters, quirky adventures, narratives that ask readers to think deeply, girls with swords, and seaside novels. Danielle also looks for a strong narrative voice and characters she wants to spend time with. For more information about her wishlist, check out NLA’s Submission Guidelines page.

Daneille says, “I’m the kind of nerd who always has the book I’m reading in my bag plus a backup book plus my Kindle just in case. Growing up, I was completely obsessed with Harry Potter (Fun fact: I would fluff my hair so I could look like Hermione). I also ravenously devoured anything Tamora Pierce, Sarah Dessen (The Truth About Forever and Just Listen are her best novels and I will fight you about it), Robin McKinley, Gareth Nix, Diana Wynne Jones, Judy Blume, Jane Austen…you get the picture. I have a Virginia Woolf quote tattooed on my shoulder blade. Authors have always been my biggest stars. In fact, one of my most exciting high school moments was when Newsday hired me to review the Ella Enchanted movie and then gave me a choice between interviewing Anne Hathaway and Gail Carson Levine–I chose Gail Carson Levine. My job gives me the excuse to professionally fangirl on a daily basis.

“I double majored in creative writing and women’s studies at Hamilton College (both “impractical majors” that have been incredibly practical for me) and figured out that creative writing classes do a really great job of honing your editing and critiquing skills. After internships at several top literary agencies and publishers, I spent four years at New York agency and began building a client list before moving to NLA in January 2017. Now, I work out of my NYC apartment where my office cat likes to remind me that she is boss.”

Danielle is seeking:

  • Middle grade and young adult (all genres)
  • Select passion projects in women’s fiction
  • A strong voice, nuanced writing, plots with unexpected twists, high concept
  • Complex female characters, quirky adventures, complicated family dynamics, romantic plotlines that are an element of the narrative but don’t dominate it, seaside novels, girls with swords, stories that take place in the aftermath of disaster (whether personal such as the death of a loved one or bigger picture such as a revolution), magical realism, YA psychological thrillers, sister stories
  • Social justice themes, own voices authors, a special interest in LGBTQ+ stories
  • Recent reads I have loved include (in no particular order) The Thing About Jellyfish, It’s Not Like It’s a Secret, We Are Okay, Landline, The Sun Is Also a Star, Uprooted, Salt to the Sea, We Were Liars, A Spool of Blue Thread, When Dimple Met Rishi, Six of Crows, anything Liane Moriarty, anything Kristin Cashore, anything Sarah Dessen

She gravitatea toward stories with a high concept and strong voice. She particularly enjoy complex female characters, quirky/humorous adventures, narratives that explore social justice issues, stories with a sense of wonder, complicated family dynamics, girls with swords, seaside narratives, and #ownvoices narratives. She finds it hard to resist gorgeous writing and is a sucker for romantic plotlines that are an element of the narrative, but don’t dominate it. Mainly, she’s looking to represent novels that keep her spellbound, no matter the genre.

You can find details about her recent sales on Publishers Marketplace.

USE THIS LINK TO QUERY DANIELLE: https://querymanager.com/query/1352

HERE ARE THE SUBMISSION GUIDELINES FOR AUGUST 2019 FIRST PAGE CRITIQUES:

In the subject line, please write “AUGUST FIRST PAGE CRITIQUE” Example: 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: August 23rd.

RESULTS: August 30th.

CHECK BACK NEXT FRIDAY FOR PART One OF MY INTERVIEW WITH DANIELLE.

Talk tomorrow,

Kathy

Posted by: Kathy Temean | August 1, 2019

Book Giveaway: MARTIN AND ANNE by Nancy Churnin

Nancy Churnin has written and Illustrated a picture book titled, MARTIN AND ANNE: The Kindred Spirits of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and Anne Frank and illustrated by Yevgenia Nayberg. Published by Creston Books. Nancy has agreed to share a copy with one lucky winner. 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 do to share the good news, so I can put in the right amount of tickets in my basket for you.

Sharing on Facebook, Twitter, reblogging really helps spread the word for a new book. Thanks for helping Nancy!

If you have signed up to follow my blog and it is delivered to you everyday, please let me know when you leave a comment and I will give you an extra ticket. Thanks!

BOOK’S DESCRIPTION:

Anne Frank and Martin Luther King Jr. seem to be from different worlds, different lifetimes, but they were born the same year, 1929. Across the ocean, they both faced similar racial hatreds, ugly prejudices and violence. Both reacted to that hate with words of love, and faith in humanity, reaching out to build understanding rather than divisiveness. Martin & Anne tells their inspiring stories, encouraging all of us to choose kindness whenever we can. This is the story of their parallel journeys to find hope in darkness and to follow their dreams.

BOOK’S JOURNEY:

Picture book biography authors know it’s hard to capture the essence of a person’s life in 1,000 words or less.

Now think of how challenging it is to write about two people in that concise space. And throw in one more twist: the two have never met.

Which brings us to the question of why I wrote Martin & Anne, the Kindred Spirits of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and Anne Frank. (Creston Books) My answer:  I was compelled.

In 2017, I felt overwhelmed, torn up and terrified by the hatred and divisions that have been tearing out country apart.

As someone who processes the world through words, I looked for words of inspiration. I found them in the writings of Dr. King and Anne Frank. I drew hope from their unwavering belief, even in the face of horror, that love was more powerful than hate and justice would prevail.

I dug a little deeper into their lives. They were both born in 1929. Ideas and feelings swirled like primordial matter around this nucleus. That was the year of the Great Depression. The stock market had crashed. People were desperate, frightened, hungry, out of work. They were looking for someone to blame and maybe, without consciously realizing it, an excuse to plunder a vulnerable group.

In the United States, white Americans attacked the African American population (among others). In Europe, Christians attacked Jews (among others).

Suddenly I had my story. By telling their lives in parallel and describing the similarities of what they faced at the same ages, I could show kids how alike two people of different genders, races, religions and countries could be.

In a world where groups are pitted against each other, Martin & Anne could underscore the hopes and dreams for a better world we all have in common.

Unlike picture book biographies I had written before, I wasn’t trying to portray the full scope of either life. Instead, I was searching for connective tissue. Some parallels were magically on point. Both Martin and Anne were born to loving parents and an older sister. Yevgenia Nayberg’s eloquent side by side illustrations of the two families brings home the hope both families shared for their babies.

Over and over, opposing pages alternate the stories of Martin and Anne in a way where the reader picks up parallels that are not overtly stated. A page about Martin not being allowed to go to school with his childhood friend because of the color of his skin faces the page where Anne leaves her school because Jews aren’t allowed.

NANCY’S BIO:

Nancy Churnin is the author of eight picture book biographies, including The William Hoy Story, on several state reading lists; Irving Berlin, The Immigrant Boy Who Made America Sing, a Sydney Taylor Notable; Manjhi Moves a Mountain, a 2018 South Asia Book Award and Anne Izard Storytellers Choice winner, plus two Social Studies Notables, two Silver Eureka Award winners, a Mighty Girl listing and more.

As a former Children’s Book Academy student, Nancy is excited to be mentoring students live in the upcoming, highly-interactive, Craft and Business of Writing Children’s Picture Books e-course starting soon. http://bit.ly/CBACBWPB 

 The former theater critic for the Dallas Morning News, she’s a full time writer and peace negotiator between her dog and cats. A member of the Nonfiction Ninjas and the Book Meshuggenahs, she lives in North Texas. You can learn more about Nancy on her websiteFacebookTwitter or Instagram.

YEVGENIA’S BIO:

Yevgenia Nayberg is an illustrator, painter, and set and costume designer. Her illustrations have appeared in magazines and picture books, and on theatre posters, music albums, and book covers; her paintings, drawings, and illustrations are held in private collections worldwide. As a set and costume designer, she has been the recipient of numerous awards, including the National Endowment for the Arts/TCG Fellowship for Theatre Designers, the Independent Theatre Award and the Arlin Meyer Award. In 2018 she received a Sydney Taylor Silver Medal for her illustrations for Drop by Drop by Jaqueline Jules. Her debut author/illustrator picture book, Anya’s Secret Society, came out in 2019 and received a Junior Library Guild Selection Award. Her next book, Typewriter, will be published in 2020. She lives in New York City.

Thank you Nancy for sharing your book and Journey with us. This is such a unique book. I am sure children will be drawn to the text and the beautiful illustrations. Good luck!

Talk tomorrow,

Kathy

 

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