I'm delighted you have stopped by to help me and my fellow Guardian Angel Publishing authors to celebrate Children's Book Week. Today, I'd like to share with you interviews with myself and illustrator, K.C. Snider conducted by Homeschool Specialist, Amy O'Quinn:
Donna McDine is an award-winning children's author, Honorable Mention in the 77th and two Honorable Mentions in the 78th Annual Writer’s Digest Writing Competitions, Literary Classics Silver Award & Seal of Approval Recipient Picture Book Early Reader, Global eBook Awards Finalist Children’s Picture Book Fiction, and Preditors & Editors Readers Poll 2010 Top Ten Children’s Books ~ The Golden Pathway.
How did you come up with the idea to write a book about a young boy who helps a slave escape?
I have always had a fascination for American History and living in the historical hamlet of Tappan, New York is a constant reminder of the rich history of our country. And when the opportunity arose at the end of the Institute of Children’s Literature Writing for Children and Teenagers course to create an outline for a book idea I naturally gravitated towards the Underground Railroad.
How much research was involved and how long did it take to write the book?
I initially visited my local library and researched both children’s and adult books on the Underground Railroad. The wealth of information was endless, but once I focused on the central character being the son of a slave owner the story flowed. From start to finish after research it took about a year to edit and fine tune the manuscript to feel confident enough to submit to the Writer’s Digest Writing Competition. After placing 12th in the Children’s/Young Adult category I then met Lynda Burch of Guardian Angel Publishing and submitted. After several more edits and expansion of the story, Ms. Burch offered me my first children’s book contract, adding about another two years to the process. It may seem like a long time, but it’s all worth it.
How did you become a children's author?
After working for Fortune 500 companies for many years I came across the Institute of Children’s Literature ad and I was immediately intrigued. I eagerly completed their aptitude test and mailed it off. After a month or so I received my acceptance into their “Writing to Children and Teenagers” course and haven’t looked back since. Even though I still hold a virtual assistant position to help pay the bills my true place is as a children’s author.
What advice do you have for young aspiring authors?
Just like taking up an instrument or sport - practice, practice and practice some more is essential in honing your writing skills. Participate in writer’s workshops in the genre you are interested in is a key component in developing your unique voice. Many times people think writing for children is a snap, when it is the complete opposite. Children are quite intuitive and know when you are preaching or speaking down to them.
Studying the market and what publishers want is imperative. If your goal is to write for children’s magazines, taking the time out to read back issues will provide you with insights on the direction of a particular magazine. For children’s book publishers, review their catalogues for what they are currently publishing. You may just find a niche that needs to be filled. And whether you are submitting to children’s magazines or children’s book publishers reading their submission guidelines is imperative. I cannot stress enough how important it is to follow the specific guidelines to the “letter.” Even if you go over the word count by a few words it can mean instant rejection.
Never be afraid to ask questions. We all have something to learn each and every day and you’ll be surprised how many people have the same question as you.
Happy writing to you all and let your voice soar.
Interview with illustrator, K.C. Snider:
K.C. Snider, a prominent Oregon artist, has branched out into a variety of styles and subjects. Her collection of oil paintings, lithographs, and pencil drawings include the All-American Cowboy and Cowgirl and their historical lifestyles with magnificent wolves, buffalo herds, eagles and birds of prey along with horses and domestic animals. Her artwork has won numerous awards including the Snaffle Bit Award and the Pioneer Award.
Snider lives in the high desert with majestic views of the Cascade Mountains' snow capped peaks. K.C. also illustrates children's books: Alleycat; The Christmas Angel; Preston, the Not-So-Perfect Pig; One Family's Christmas; Cartwheel Annie; The Magic Violin; Does Heaven Get Mail?; Andy & The Albino Horse Series; Baby Jesus is Missing' Katydidn't; A Short Tale About a Long Tail; Monster Maddie; RV Mouse & Ruthie and the Hippo's Fat Behind.
A three piece triptych from the second book in the Andy & the Albino Horse Series won 1st Place in The Western Art Roundup 2008 and another Andy story triptych won 2nd Place in The Western Art Roundup 2009.
How did you become artist/illustrator?
I attended commercial art school and graduated as a commercial artist in the late 1970’s. I have been working for Guardian Angel Publishing for about 5 years, now.
What inspires you as an artist?
Everything around me! Everything around us is art.
Tell us about your experience illustrating The Golden Pathway, and how closely did you work with Donna on the project?
I worked very closely with Donna in researching for historical accuracy. A lot of email flew back and forth between us.
What advice do you have for young, aspiring illustrators?
Draw a lot and learn as many styles as you possibly can. Success is in being versatile and being able to draw anything from realism to cartoon.
Fred and K.C. Snider
Snider Art Studio
Snider Art Studio
I invite you to visit with my fellow Guardian Angel Publishing authors at their blogs during Children’s Book Week 2012 and beyond:
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Donna M. McDine
Award-winning Children's Author
The Golden Pathway ~ August 2010 ~ Guardian Angel Publishing, Inc.
~ Literary Classics Silver Award and Seal of Approval Recipient and Dan Poynter's Global e-Book Awards Finalist