Monday, October 5, 2009

Guest Author - Nancy Sanders

Cyberspace has certainly shown once again that you can meet people you otherwise would have not met. Recently, Nancy has been organizing her Virtual Book Tour and to my pure surprise and delight she reached out to me to host her during her cyberspace travels. And since connecting a few weeks ago, we are bumping into each other all over the Internet. I just finished attending her fabulous teleclass at the Children’s Writing Coaching Club entitled, The Importance of Voice in Fiction and Non-fiction Part 1. It was a fantastic listen and participate event. She’ll be back again in October to present Part 2. Email me for details at 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 The other is a Christian group of writers that is open to everyone at every level called CHAIRS at The other is an online picture book critique group called Pens and Brushes at 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 From October 5 (today!) until October 16, I’m hosting a Virtual Book Tour on my blog at 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.


  1. Donna,
    Great interview.

    Wow, Nancy, what a career! Your books sound wonderful. I know a couple of people who suffer on and off with Depression - I'll have to look into Depression, What's a Christian to Do?

    I also conducted Bible studies a number of years ago.

    Karen Cioffi

  2. Iam 1/3 way through your new book and I love it. It is so inspiring and I pray that with all this information that I can take my writing dreams a step further. I posted about the book on my new blog for beginning writers as well at and will continue to recommend it to others. Thanks for the great interview, Donna, you bring very important information to the table for new and experienced writers.

  3. I posted the wrong blog which refers to Nancy's book, sorry. It is at

    Still a great book and a wonderful interview.

  4. Donna and Nancy,

    Wonderful interview! I enjoyed learning more about Nancy. Ever since I've read one of her transcripts at The Institute of Children's Literature, I've been a frequent visitor to her blog.

    The new book sounds fantastic!

    All the best,

  5. Karen, it sounds like you've done so much to help people through the Bible studies you lead. I pray that your friends who deal with depression will find hope to carry on!
    Blessings, Nancy

  6. Terri, that is awesome that you're making your way through the book! You'll have to let me know when some of your dreams come true. And thanks for helping to get the word out.

  7. Lori, it's great to see your smiling face and learn that you're one of the visitors on my blog! -Nancy

  8. Donna, thanks for such a fantastic welcome to your blog! It's been so exciting connecting over cyberspace. I feel like we've been friends for a long time! -Nancy

  9. Nancy:

    It's a delight to have you here today. I look forwards to checking-in throughout the day. It truly has been delightful making a quick friendship with you and I look forward to staying in touch.


  10. You've had a fascinating writer's journey. I enjoyed learning more about you.

  11. Nancy,
    It was interesting reading about you. All the more because I write for children.

    Great Interview.

    J. Aday Kennedy
    The Differently-AbledChildren's Author
    Coming this winter “Klutzy Kantor” picture book

  12. Thanks J. Aday! I wish you the best along your journey as a children's writer. -Nancy

  13. Sounds fun. Writing and math. And a great career. Lovely to meet you.

  14. I enjoyed meeting you for the first time, Nancy. I'm a brand new writer with some successes and lots of dreams. It was inspiring to hear some of your highlights. I'll have to get your book, too.

  15. Nancy, I love your book and hope your book tour is successful in getting the word out to lots of other writers so they can benefit from it, too.

    Donna, thanks for the interview. I enjoyed visiting your site.

  16. Nice to hear from you, Kathy. Thanks for saying "hi." -Nancy

  17. Sheila, it's great to meet you too! -Nancy

  18. Thanks, Ev, for stopping by. Isn't Donna's site super? -Nancy

  19. What a fascinating career, Nancy.
    I enjoyed reading about your books. You truly are an inspiration.


  20. Thank you for your kind words, Beverly. -Nancy

  21. Karen, Terri, Lori, Linda, Jessica, Sheila, Kathy, Evelyn, and Bev...thanks for stopping by today to visit and learn about Nancy Sanders.

    It was a terrific day! was a pleasure hosting you!

    Best wishes to all for your continued success,

  22. A very impressive career in a field you obviously love, Nancy. Thanks for letting us get to know the author, Donna.

  23. Thanks again, Donna, for hosting the first official stop on my Virtual Book Tour. It was such a joy to be a part of your blogging world! Happy writing, Nancy


Thank for you taking the time out to visit with me and to learn about my writing career.

Please be sure to leave your blog address so I can reciprocate.

I look forward to visiting you too.