firstname.lastname@example.org. Without further ado I’m pleased to present Nancy’s interview.
DMc: What or whom inspires you to write?
NS: I belong to three great critique groups. One is a group of 8 professional writers, Wordsmiths at www.wordsmiths8.wordpress.com. The other is a Christian group of writers that is open to everyone at every level called CHAIRS at www.chairs7.wordpress.com. The other is an online picture book critique group called Pens and Brushes at www.PensAndBrushes.wordpress.com. Every time I meet with each of my groups, I get so inspired to keep on as a writer. I get encouraged to move forward in spite of the rejections. I get challenged to improve my skills and try to be the best writer I can. And of course, I am most inspired each day by the greatest book of all time, the Bible.
DMc: How did you get started?
NS: I first started writing as a stay-at-home mom 24 years ago. I wanted to write picture books because I fell in love with all the wonderful picture books we’d borrow each week from our library.
DMc: What compelled you to write "Yes! You Can Learn How To Write Children's Books, Get Them Published, And Build A Successful Writing Career"?
NS: This book had an amazing beginning. I started a blog about two years ago. Mostly it focused on strategies and techniques that I wanted to share with my friends and fellow writers to help them build a successful writing career like I’ve been blessed to have. One day out of the blue, a publisher contacted me. She said she’d been reading my blog and wanted to offer me a book contract to write a book with the exact same material I’d been posting on my blog. I was thrilled with the opportunity!
DMc: Do you have an agent? If yes, how long did it take for you to find one?
NS: No, I currently don’t have an agent, although I have had 2 at different times in the past. Each time, I found an agent fairly quickly. To find an agent, I looked at various websites and market guides and contacted ones that seemed to be a good fit for my purposes at that time. I appreciated each of their input in my career. As my career has shifted over the years, so has my need for an agent. Right now I’m looking for an agent again because I want to target the picture book market, and to do this effectively, an agent is essential.
DMc: Do you have a particular genre you prefer to write for?
NS: I enjoy writing for a variety of genres. These include magazine stories, puzzle books, craft books, beginning readers, novelty books, nonfiction books, books for the Christian market, books for the educational market, and books for the ethnic market. Right now, after years of studying this challenging genre, I’m enjoying writing for the picture book market.
DMc: What is the best writing advice you've ever received?
NS: Just write. That’s it. It’s easy to talk about writing and dream about writing, but unless we just sit down and write, our dreams will never come true.
DMc: Thus far, what has been your most memorable writing experience?
NS: After 24 years of writing and 75 books under my belt, I have had so many amazing and wonderful once-in-a-lifetime “moments” that my cup is bursting over with joy at being a writer. There was my first sale after 5 years of total rejections when I won a newspaper contest with a story about my dad. There was the day an editor called to say Costco had ordered the entire warehouse of my book, A Kid’s Guide to African American History. (She asked me first if I was sitting down.) There was the time a publisher circulated to everyone in the publishing house a quote from a reader on Amazon saying my one book D is for Drinking Gourd should win both the Caldecott and the Newbery. There was the time a friend told me she was photocopying my book, Depression: What’s a Christian To Do? and mailing it in letters to men and women in prison because she wasn’t allowed to mail them books. And then, most recently, there was the post on my blog a couple of weeks ago when someone I never heard of before said she got my new book, Yes! You Can, started trying the strategies, and landed her very first book contract within the week. Those are just some of the memorable highlights of my career. I have been truly blessed.
DMc: Please share with us your current Work-in-Progress.
NS: Right now I’m working on a book of readers theatre plays about math. It’s for 4th through 8th graders and it’s fun to refresh my math skills while writing silly plays that will hopefully help learners at all levels learn to love math and build confidence with their reading skills all at the same time. It’s for Libraries Unlimited. The deadline is December 30, 2009.
DMc: What would you be if you were not a writer?
NS: I am a homemaker, but this summer we became empty nesters so there are no more kids at home! I’ve worn many different hats over the years including Bible study leader, Women’s Ministry leader, quilter, and craftsperson. If I could not be a writer, at this point of my life I would want to be a speaker at writer’s conferences, an agent to help shape other writers’ careers, or an acquisitions editor at a children’s publishing house.
DMc: Where can our readers visit you?
NS: My website is www.nancyisanders.com. From October 5 (today!) until October 16, I’m hosting a Virtual Book Tour on my blog at http://www.nancyisanders.wordpress.com/ to celebrate the release of my newest book, Yes! You Can. Please stop by and visit!
Nancy, it was a pleasure interviewing you today. Best wishes for your continued success.