By Kathy Halsey and Janie Reinart
Kathy and I are going to share the love and put a little love in your heart. Kathy you go first.
Thanks, Janie. In this season of hearts and flowers, we’re going to share and lift up two deserving authors - Brenda Reeve Sturgis and Susanna Hill.
Brenda’s book, STILL A FAMILY, Part I was featured last Thursday. Today we’ll conclude with Part II of Brenda's interview and also share Susanna Hill’s Valentiny contest.
In STILL A FAMILY, Brenda takes us into the life of a homeless family through the point of view of a young girl. The book’s theme illuminates Brenda’s heartfelt words that, “It's not all about me, and it's not all about you, it's about US. We can make this world a better place, one loving heart at a time.” And Brenda did just that at her book launch this past weekend that featured a drive for homeless shelters. Big hearts abound, so gather ‘round for more from Brenda.
K: What do you want GROG readers to know about the heart of STILL A FAMILY?
B: Homeless are people just like you, and just like me, that probably had a home and a family at one time and something happened that changed the trajectory of their lives and I'm hoping STILL A FAMILY will help to change that trajectory back by raising awareness.
K: Please share more about your writing path..
B: Nobody ever told me how difficult it would be. If I had known all of the obstacles that I would have to overcome, I might have quit. But, I wanted THIS. I attended my very first conference in January, 2005 in New York. I joined critique groups, wrote, went to conferences, and I learned. In 2007, I won a contest. TOUCHDOWN won grand prize, and 10 TURKEYS IN A ROAD received an honorable mention. THIS win in Roxyanne Young's Smart Writer's contest opened doors and got me the attention of my first agent. We parted ways amicably after 2.5 years.
After many months of querying, I signed with another agent, but that only lasted 6 weeks before we realized we weren't a good fit, either. I wanted to quit, but I pressed on. FINALLY, I heard about Emma Dryden, and her consulting company, and we arranged a phone meeting. When you have turned over every stone and you are getting nowhere you have to keep searching, keep looking for inroads. When the student is ready, the teacher will appear. Emma Dryden was my teacher, and Emma has become my friend. She read over my work, told me what needed to be revised and said that agent Karen Grencik of Red Fox Literary would be a great fit for me.
I queried Karen (with Emma's name in the subject line) and heard back within a few days. She wanted to work with me. YAY! Karen is my perfect fit. We compliment each other nicely. Our styles of communication are similar. We get each other.
K: How else did you get Karen’s attention in your query?
B: I am weak in writing a query because it's in prose. But your query is as important as your story. It shows your voice and draws an agent or an editor in. I sought help in this area as well. My writing friend, Christine Tricarico, (Cock-a-Doodle Dance, MacMillan) is a wizard at writing a query. For a nominal fee, she helps writers craft the most amazing queries ever.
K: Any more advice for pre-pub writers?
B: Preparation, time, meeting people, making connections, continuing on will guide you and lead you to where you need to be at just the right time, like it did for me and STILL A FAMILY. Everything in publishing and everything in life is cumulative. We are all on individual journeys to become the best writers we can be, to leave our stamp on the world, and to make a difference.
Susanna Hill is all about sharing the love with her 2nd
Annual Valentiny Contest. She has a lovely blog that you can subscribe to by email. Susanna teaches writing, does school
visits and has over ten books published. Way to go Susanna. 💗
And guess what? I have an idea for the contest. Woohoo! First time to have an idea for a story that matches the criteria and first time to enter. On Friday, February 10, 2017 my story will be posted here for the contest. The rules are in this link. And there are prizes! 💗
Join me and enter your own 💗 story.
"Post your story on your (personal) blog between 12:00 AM EDT Friday February 10th and Tuesday February 14th by 11:59 PM EDT and add your post-specific link to the list that will accompany my (Susana's) February 10th post."
So how do we share the love? Let me count the ways:
💘 Write stories.
💘 Sponsor contests to give voice to new writers.
💘 Nurture critique partners.
💘 Support kid lit community.
💘 Read books.
💘 Lend a helping hand.
The world is a better place when we put a little love in our hearts.