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Q&A Blog

5 Favorites from . . . Jenna Grodzicki!

Author Jenna Grodzicki

Jenna Grodzicki is the author of Finn Finds a Friend (Clear Fork Publishing, 2017), Pixie's Adventure (eTreasures Publishing, 2017), and the I See Sea Food: Sea Creatures that Look Like Food (Millbrook Press, October 2019). She lives in Connecticut with her husband and two crazy awesome kids. She has a Bachelor's Degree in Elementary Education from Boston College and a Master's in Education from the University of New England. She recently traded in her librarian hat to become a full time writer. At all hours of the day (and night) she can be found at her desk, drinking iced coffee and working on her next story.

 

So, what are Jenna’s 5 Favorites?:

 

My favorite place to write:

My office. I have a beautiful writing space filled with a big desk, about a million books, pictures of my family, and fun little knickknacks. And iced coffee. There must always be iced coffee

 

My favorite mentor texts

Books by Melissa Stewart. Her books have been so helpful with my nonfiction writing. I especially love No Monkeys, No Chocolate and Feathers: Not Just for Flying.

 

My favorite writing tip:

A quote from the author Shannon Hale: "When writing a first draft, I have to remind myself constantly that I'm only shoveling sand into a box so later I can build castles." I personally have to remind myself of this so frequently that I posted the quote on the wall in my office.

 

My favorite marketing tip:

Be authentic on social media. Engage with other writers and educators in a meaningful way. Share posts you think will be helpful to others. And always be kind.

 

My favorite book event of the year:

The annual NESCBWI conference. It's a great place to connect with other writers and hone your craft.

 

To learn more about Jenna and her work, visit her website.

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5 Favorites from . . . Cynthia Levinson!

Author Cynthia Levinson

A former teacher and educational policy consultant and researcher, Cynthia Levinson holds degrees from Wellesley College and Harvard University and also attended the Lyndon B. Johnson School of Public Affairs. She is the author of several books for young readers, including We've Got a Job: The 1963 Birmingham Children's March; Watch Out for Flying Kids! How Two Circuses, Two Countries, and Nine Kids Confront Conflict and Build Community; and Hillary Rodham Clinton: Do All the Good You Can.

 

What are Cynthia’s 5 Favorites?:

 

My favorite place to write:

Anyplace where I can look out a window.

 

My favorite mentor text:

Anything by Patricia MacLachlan or Elizabeth Partridge.

 

My favorite writing tip:

Take a walk.

 

My favorite marketing tip:

Promote good books by other people.

 

My favorite book event of the year:

Appearing on Broadway for a talkback after a play that drew on a book I wrote!

 

To learn more about Cynthia and her work, visit her website.

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5 Favorites from . . . Corinna Luyken!

Author/illustrator Corinna Luyken

Corinna Luyken is the author-illustrator of MY HEART and THE BOOK OF MISTAKES, which received four starred reviews, numerous awards, and has been praised by Entertainment Weekly, the Wall Street Journal, NPR, and more.  She also illustrated ADRIAN SIMCOX DOES NOT HAVE A HORSE, written by Marcy Campbell.  She lives in Olympia, WA, with her husband, daughter, and two cats.

 

What are Corinna’s 5 Favorites?:


My favorite place to write:

Any place that is quiet, where I won't be interrupted!  Which can be hard to come by these days.  I love early mornings at home the best, when my husband is already at work and my daughter hasn't woken up yet.  But I've discovered that airplane rides and late nights can work too. I wrote THE BOOK OF MISTAKES at 3 am, post stomach flu.  The house was quiet and I was (literally and figuratively) empty. And in that environment, the entire first half of the story arrived quite suddenly and almost exactly as it appears in the book.  Though the second half of the book took another year to sort out/write.   

 

My favorite mentor text: 

Perhaps Extra Yarn or The Very Persistent Gappers of Frip.  Though there are SO many books that  I adore,  I don't have just one favorite. School's First Day of School is brilliant.  And everything by Julie Fogliano fills me with joy.

 

My favorite writing tip:

When I'm writing, I try my best to be an empty vessel.  Meaning, to not think of any book that I'm writing as "my" story but to approach it as though this is a story that has chosen to come into the world through me.  And so my job (and my responsibility to the story)  is to be the best listener that I can be.   If I'm not a little surprised, I'm usually doing something wrong, being too controlling. I've found that most of the best stories and poems have a life of their own, and my job is to stay out of the way.


My favorite marketing tip:

I try to focus on making work that comes from the heart, that speaks to the world we live in right now.  And hopefully, from there, marketing in it's various forms becomes easier.  It helps when I've been able to take myself out of the book in the writing process, because then it becomes less about this being "my" book and more about this being a book that is going to have it's own life in the world.  From there,  the rest of what happens is really about that book's relationship with the world.  What that particular book is meant to be.  This isn't practical, or necessarily helpful advice, because I don't really think that the world needs more stuff, and  I've never been interested in trying to convince people to buy something that they don't really want or need. 

 

My favorite book event of the year:

I haven't really been to that many book events.  But I love going to friend's book launches and I love librarians and library conferences!


 To learn more about Corinna and her work, visit her website.

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5 Favorites from . . . Daria Peoples-Riley!

Author/Illustrator Daria Peoples-Riley

Daria Peoples-Riley's debut picture book THIS IS IT was published with Greenwillow/HarperCollins (February 2018). I GOT NEXT, a companion book will follow on July 30, 2019. Daria is also the illustrator of GLORIA TAKES A STAND by Jessica M. Rinker, a picture book biography about the life and work of Gloria Steinem (Bloomsbury, March 2019) .

 

So what are Daria’s 5 Favorites?:

 

My favorite place to write (and paint):

Outside, near my hummingbird feeder.

 

My favorite mentor text:

Beautiful Blackbird by Ashley Bryan. My two favorite lines: "I'll mix [the rest of] my black roots in a larger medicine gourd. I'll give what I can until it all gives out." And "We'll see the difference a touch of black can make. Just remember, whatever I do, I'll be me and you'll be you."

 

My favorite writing tip:

Share your gift of writing and/or art with those you love by giving them handwritten words and/or art. No matter what the reviews or the sales will be, those who love you will deem your work priceless, and that will nourish your journey.

 

My favorite marketing tip:

Be present and attentive when you meet your readers.

 

My favorite book event of the year:

SCBWI LA Conference

 

To learn more about Daria’s work, visit her website.

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