For Kimberly Ridley, it's animals that have lived on earth for millions and millions of years. Horseshoe crabs! Goblin sharks! Tardigrades! Comb Jellies! They have lived through extinction events and keep on going...
I was first introduced to Ridley's writing through her first book, The Secret Pool. She wrote another about an estuary (The Secret Bay), and now this, Extreme Survivors, out last fall. Like her others, this book is published by Tilbury House, a small, award-winning publisher tucked somewhere in the town of Thomaston, ME.
Since it's her third book with Tilbury, I invited Kimberly to share what she likes about writing for this small press. Also, because she is a science journalist like me, we had a wide-ranging conversation - some of what you can find over at my Archimedes Notebook blog this Friday.
Extreme Survivors is part of the "How Nature Works" series. There are a number of very interesting titles in the series, and I wondered how Kim got a book included in the series.
Kim: After The Secret Bay came out, I was brainstorming with editor (and co-publisher) Jonathan Eaton. I felt like I had a relationship with Tilbury House, and I was interested in doing another book. So we began talking about horseshoe crabs - Jonathan has a background in marine sciences - and he mentioned the "How Nature Works" series. I checked out other books in the series. I really love the idea of asking "how does nature work?" - this is a question all scientists are asking - so my ideas evolved in that direction.
|Kim with salamander eggs in a frisbee|
GROG: What attracted you to Tilbury in the first place?
Kim: I think it was the response I received when I pitched ideas to (editor) Jennifer Bunting. Having worked as a science journalist for a few years, I sent a letter pitching a handful of ideas for a children's book. I said that I work with scientists and wanted to write for children. Jennifer was familiar with my writing, so she acquired The Secret Pool, my book about vernal pools.
Working with a small publisher was a good fit for me. I appreciate the back and forth with editors through the revision process. The editors at Tilbury House work closely with writers, and they take tremendous care with the book through the writing and revision process. They also pay a lot of attention to detail. A good example is the care they put into acquiring the high quality photos for Extreme Survivors.
GROG: Speaking of photos, was part of your job to secure the photos for the book?
Kim: They asked me to help find preliminary photos, and then they followed up by purchasing the rights to use photos. The people at Tilbury House were also receptive to my feedback on layout and design. I admit I can be opinionated, having been an editor myself.
|Kim shows wood frog eggs to students.|
You can learn more about Kim and her projects at her website. And if you think you might like to submit a manuscript to Tilbury, take some time looking through their website.
Photos of Kimberly Ridley are from her website and used with permission.