Welcome back to the GROG Blog! I hope you have brand new notebooks and your pencils have been sharpened... A question at the back?
January seems like a natural start to new literary beginnings, whether it's a new story or heading off on idea-collecting expeditions. And I'm not the only one - there's a whole bunch of people who brainstorm story ideas at this time of year. We gather at our digital water cooler over at StoryStorm, where we share insights on the art and craft of writing. (Registration is open through January 9th). By the end of the month we've got 30 (or more) ideas so we can hit the ground running in February and work on getting the stories onto the page. If you need help finding ideas, check out Stalking the Wild Ideas from last year. Then pull on your woolly socks, grab a cuppa, and start scribbling.
Eileen has authored three picture books and has contributed poetry to anthologies and children's magazines. Patricia Toht popped by for a quick New Year's chat with Eileen.
PT: Welcome, Eileen! We're so glad to have you here!
EM: Thanks, Patty! Joining a group blog seems like so much FUN, and I've long admired friends who actively blog and create online resources for writers.
Recently, my husband and I made a big move (literally). After spending many, many years in the Midwest, we've decided to also spend part of the year working and living in North Florida. I love my new town and friendly neighbors, but find that I miss my circle of KidLit friends. By joining the GROG, I'm hoping to better connect with writers and illustrators online, so that my KidLit community is with me wherever I go.
PT: My New Year's resolutions always seem to be to complete last year's resolutions. Do you make resolutions?
EM: I love lists, and I love goal-setting, so New Year's resolutions are right in my wheel-house!
Actually, joining the GROG helps me check off one resolution right away - to get more involved in the online KidLit community. Hooray! I look forward to connecting with my fellow GROGgers, interviewing authors and illustrators, and seeing what our readers have to say.
A second item on my list is to be more consistent with morning walks. When I'm in Florida, I usually spend an hour walking at sunrise, and this quiet time allows me to accomplish a few different things. First, I begin my day with exercise -- always a good thing for those of us who sit at a desk for much of our day. I also have time to give thanks for the day stretching before me; this "attitude of gratitude" helps me begin the day in the right frame of mind. And, finally, I use the time to mull over current writing projects and sort out options. Often I'll come up with a new approach to a stumbling block. And getting up early is worth it to experience this magical scene!
PT: So, anything special on the horizon for you?
EM: I'm delighted to share that I've sold a picture book, THE SUPERLATIVE A. LINCOLN: POEMS ABOUT OUR 16TH PRESIDENT, to Charlesbridge Publishing. It will be released in late 2019.
This project initially received rejections from agents that I queried. I heard: "Poetry is difficult to sell. We love this content -- would you rewrite it in prose?" I held out hope that the poems would eventually find the right home. The manuscript went on to win the Most Promising Picture Book Award at the 2015 SCBWI Summer Conference in LA. The award led to finding my agent Deborah Warren at East West Literary Agency. She submitted the work to publishers where she saw the best fit, and it connected. I'm very excited to work with the amazing folks at Charlesbridge!
PT: Well, we are so lucky to have you join us, Eileen, and can't wait to follow your explorations in GROG land!
Readers, if you think that Eileen looks familiar, it's because she has stopped by the GROG before. Check out these posts in May 2015 and February 2016. You can learn more about her on our "Meet the GROG authors" page, and over at her website. Check out her picture books, too:
HAPPY NEW YEAR, readers!