Friday, April 11, 2014

Nonfiction Archaeology: An Interview of Kristen Fulton by Tina Cho

I recently took an awesome online nonfiction picture book class that I just have to share with you all! It's called Nonfiction Archaeology, taught by author Kristen Fulton. She coached us from book idea to the submitted product. For this one month online class, lessons are delivered on weekdays to your email, and every Monday night there's a live webinar. (It's also recorded.) I even participated live from the other side of the world! Kristen is wonderful, flexible, and can really help you find the essence of your story. So I decided to interview Kristen for the Grog blog.

1. How did you get started in writing for children? 
The idea was always in the back of my head, but I had a career that I loved and short on time. I will never forget the moment, June 23, 2011 at exactly 5:10 pm, my phone rang, and my world turned upside down. The simple words, “You have breast cancer, it appears to be aggressive stage 3.”

My youngest had graduated that May. My husband and I were entering a new time in our lives, and I was leaving behind my career. Due to the amount of lymph nodes removed from my left arm, I had pretty much lost control of my left hand. I am left-handed.

After a long battle, my wonderful husband asked me in December 2012, “Now What?” My answer, “I’ve always wanted to write for children.” He discovered the SCBWI and made me come out of my pity party. 

January 2013- I attended my very first conference.
June 2013- I entered remission.
July 2013- I signed with my agent Kendra Marcus.
October 2013- I sold my first story.

2. How did you find an agent and sell two of your stories? 

Carefully :-) I am a plotter; I write outlines before I type. I research before I speak, and I calculate my decisions. Sounds boring, huh? I laughingly say that I have CDO, (OCD in the proper alphabetical order).

I researched agents and kept a spreadsheet on each one that interested me. I thought of it like a marriage; I wanted it to last forever. When I found my top 3 favorites, I started submitting. My agent compliments me perfectly; her strengths are my weaknesses.

My first story was purchased after a critique with Margaret Minks, Editor for Spider Magazine. She asked for the story right then and there. My second story which will be a picture book has been on a roller coaster. First, it was being edited for Beach Lane books after Andrea Welch wanted the story; then they decided it needed to be fictionalized. I was against that. So, then Grace Kendall at Scholastic acquired the story. It doesn’t stop there. Grace left and went to FSG and wanted to take my story with her, but after speaking with Scholastic they still wanted to retain my story and contract. I am not sure who the editor will be yet, hopefully I will find out soon. My third book is with Laura Whitaker at Bloomsbury and that is also the same editor that has asked for me to write a minimum two book MG series.

So, that is where I am.

3. How did you get the idea to start the class Nonfiction Archaeology? 

I love nonfiction and this summer as I was researching a story, I had to really dig deep. Hence the name- Archaeology. Truthfully, I didn’t think that I should teach a class. I am not even published yet. After several people asked, “How,” I decided to create a class that shared my steps/techniques. 

I absolutely LOVED how Susanna Hill's class for picture books was presented, and I LOVED the webinars from the Picture Book Academy. So, I combined both. Four-week class, Mondays are a webinar, and Tuesday-Friday are daily e-mail lessons. We have a lot of activity in the class Facebook group so everyone always learns from each other as well.

4. You're also hosting a retreat in July. Can you tell us a little about that? 

Our retreat is called WOW (Week of Writing) and will be held July 7-13 just outside Atlanta, Georgia. We have a stellar line-up of agents, editors and authors attending to help everyone have a hands-on education. It is dedicated to Picture Books and extremely well-priced. All workshops, meals and lodging for $800. This is for an entire week working with a stellar staff.

We currently have 4 spots left. For more information, click here.

Thanks so much, Kristen, for joining us today! Now all of you who want to write a nonfiction picture book, check out her class here! 

You can find Kristen Fulton at her blog Explore Nonfiction with Kristen Fulton.

And if you're interested in joining a nonfiction Facebook group that she administers, let us know! 

Kristen Fulton is represented by Kendra Marcus of Book Stop Literary. She writes from her RV in Florida where she travels with her rocket scientist husband and a small herd of dogs. To find out more about her, check out her blog.

30 comments:

  1. What a journey you've been on, Kristen, and what amazing strength and sense of adventure you have! Thank you for telling Tina your story. And I'm hoping to take your class sometime very soon.
    Quick question for you. Your book with Scholastic is nonfiction - is your book with Bloomsbury also nonfiction? Can you share the titles with us? (Okay that was two quick questions...)

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    1. The one with Scholastic is called Flight with Freedom. The one with Bloomsbury is called Rocket Boy. Grace of FSG will be taking another of my very serious picture books. Spider took my story based on me, if I were a child. It's called the Elusive Moose of Yellowstone. Spending 1/2 of our lives in a motor coach takes me to exciting place. When we visited Yellowstone Nat'l Park all I wanted to see was a Moose. I finally did, on the very last day.

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    2. crud, I forgot to answer- Yes, all of my stories are nonfiction but the Yellowstone story is historical fiction since I made up the child as the MC.

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    3. I'm looking forward to seeing the books! Thanks for giving us the skinny. And, I have to say, "child of the motor coach" sounds very interesting -- I bet it provides a well of stories to draw upon.

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  2. This is an awesome class. Great interview.

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  3. wow Kristen you are amazing. You are certainly an inspiration. Nothing keeps a good woman down for long.

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  4. Tina and Kristen - Thank you for this wonderful interview. I saw the class posted on Nancy Sanders blog comments and I am signed up for May! It's just the kick in the pants to get me to finish something I have been working on a long time. Kristen your strength is nothing short of inspiring. I can't wait!

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  5. Great interview. I'm looking forward to the retreat and reading your books!

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  6. I never tire of hearing more about your road to getting published, Kristen! I get more inspired at every webinar, and I'm looking forward to tagging along on your journey!

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  7. The WOW retreat is going to be epic! I'll be there only in spirit though - THIS year! Thanks for a fun interview Kristen and Tina.

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  8. Truly an inspiring story, thank you. I cannot wait for the WOW retreat, and almost fell off my chair when you brought up wanting to see a moose while on vacation, Kristen. I spent a week driving in-country in Alaska, and my sole mission was to see a moose, one of my very favorite animals. It was the last day and it started off pouring. But out came the sun and a rainbow...and a magnificent moose. Got it video taped with The Three Tenors in the background, no less! ;0)

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  9. Kristen you so inspire me! Great interview, Tina!

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  10. Thank you for sharing your very personal story, Kristen! You are inspirational! Wonderful post and interview!

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  11. What a truly inspiring story, Kristen. Your spirit is encouraging. Thank you for sharing it with us and giving us hope to get through our own lives without giving up our love and hope of writing and publishing wonderful children's books. Also, you have an amazing husband to stand by you and encourage your writing passion :)

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    1. I am blessed to have a great family.

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  12. Loved the interview! Thanks Tina and Kristen.

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  13. Thanks, Tina and Kristen. I learned something new today. It's been a blessing to join with you both in NFA. It's a stellar course!

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  14. Great Interview! Kristen is inspiring. After my husband had brain cancer, I decided life was too short not to live my dreams.

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    1. Lisa, I am so sorry to hear about your husband. We absolutely reevaluate our lives.

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  15. Tina and Kristen, Thanks for this post. I've taken Kristen's course with Tina, and I must say it's helped me expand, yet focus my thinking. I recommend it highly. The webinars add the frosting to Kristen's sweet cake!

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  16. Thanks, everyone, for your kind comments for Kristen!

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  17. Thank you Tina! I love Kristen's webinars! I am so excited to be going to WOW in July. Can hardly wait!

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  18. What an awesome story! I like the idea of a course on non-fiction writing. I love the name on it too! ;)

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  19. Thank you, Tina and Kristen, for such an inspiring interview! Kristen, I love the way you took what life handed you and let it motivate you to follow your dream. And the fact that you're helping other writers make their writing and publishing dreams a reality through your classes and workshops is awesome. I'm wishing you the very best!

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  20. Appreciation to Tina & Kristen for sharing & caring about the GROGGERS, so beautifully.

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  21. What an amazing journey Kristen! I knew some of your story but not all...you are an inspiration to writers who think that there is a time-frame on how long it takes to get published. It's about the work, not the time! Congratulations on your upcoming books and I can't wait to meet you in person at WOW in July!

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  22. Thanks for sharing your passion, Kristen. Your ongoing story is inspiring, and thanks for continuing to share in this writer's community. - Damon Dean

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  23. You're an inspiration, Kirsten! Your course sounds terrific, and I appreciate your mentioning mine :)

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  24. Great journey!. Thanks for sharing it with us.

    Visit us at for more non-fiction books at Waldorfpress

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