Wednesday, March 27, 2019

Picture Book Debut: Interview with Sarah Hoppe and Critique Give Away

By Janie Reinart

Grab your flip-flops and head for the beach. You never know what treasures you will find.
Sarah Hoppe's debut picture book tells us about Lottie as she makes an unusual discovery while beach-combing one day. 

Lottie's found a pup, but it’s not your ordinary pup. Readers are kept guessing throughout this beautifully illustrated story. Children learn about nature’s different kinds of pups along the way.

Let me introduce you to our multi-talented guest, Sarah.

GoOutsidePhotography by Sarah Hoppe
Not only is Sarah an author, but a wonderful photographer who captures the beauty of nature from the smallest slugs to the sparkliest sunsets. 

One of Sarah's greatest desires is to put good words out into the world as picture books and share the joy, magic, and importance of stories.  

Coming June 2019!  

Who Will? Will You? by Sarah Hoppe
To celebrate, Sarah's new picture book, she is giving away a picture book critique. (800 words maximum.) Be sure to sign up using the Rafflecopter at the end of the article.

GoOutsidePhotography by Sarah Hoppe

And now for the interview.

Who is your agent? 

Sarah: I am currently seeking an agent.

How did you get the idea for your story? 

Sarah: My older son loves to read non-fiction.  He always has a huge stack of animal books from the library by his bed. One day we were talking about seal pups and an idea sprang into my head.  There are so many young animals referred to as pups, there was certainly a story there.

What is your favorite part of the story?  

Sarah: I loved writing the pup reveal, but I also adore the faces of the characters as they investigate Lottie’s wagon.  The illustrator, Milanka Reardon, did an amazing job.

How long did it take to write? Get to a publisher? 

Sarah: The story itself didn’t take a long time, maybe 2-3 months of working on it off and on.  The back matter took much longer.  I wanted the back matter to be fun, informational and, most importantly, correct.  I did a lot of research and spent serious time figuring out the best way to convey the information. 

It took about 6 months to find a publisher, but I feel I was lucky in that regard.  I am a member of Julie Hedlund’s 12x12 Picture Book Challenge.  If you are a picture book author, this is an amazing resource for you!  I had the opportunity to submit a manuscript to Blue Whale Press through 12x12.  Alayne Christian at Blue Whale has been amazing, it’s been a fantastic journey.

What is your writing routine?  

Sarah: After I get my kids to school, I have a couple of hours to work.  I divide this time between writing, photography, volunteering at the kids’ school, and household chores.  I write first, while I’m freshest, and while there’s still plenty of time.  I tend to be less focused later in the day.

What is your favorite writing craft book?  

Sarah: Big Magic by Elizabeth Gilbert.  I know it’s not strictly a writing craft book, but it is my favorite.  Big Magic is so chock full of optimism, assurance, and magic that I feel invincible after reading it.

Sarah's work area.

What inspires you to write? 

Sarah: I try to always be open to inspiration, although I know that’s not always the case.  I first wanted to write picture books when I read them with my kids.  That feeling you get, when the words and pictures create something so special it gives you shivers and moves you to tears – I thought it would be the coolest thing if I could help create that experience for someone else.  But, more practically, I get ideas from nature and kids. There’s always something going on there!

What are you working on now?  

Sarah: A couple of picture books about birds.

Words of advice for writers. 

Sarah: Just keep chugging along, you’ll get there.

Sarah Hoppe
Be sure to check this summer to get your copy of Who Will? Will You?  

You can visit Sarah at and follow her on Twitter @Sarahlhoppe

A Rafflecopter Giveaway


  1. Wonderful interview Janie and Sarah! I love that this is about a seal pup!

    1. Hi Tina,
      I can hardly wait to read Sarah’s story.

  2. Love this interview and the premise of Sarah's picture book.(s)

  3. All that back matter has me already hooked, Sarah. Love the idea of seal pups, too. Congrats on your books.

    1. It will be fun to see the layout of the book.

  4. Very nice interview, Janie and Sarah! Sarah, your book sounds great. My boys were also into the NF when they were young. Yours sounds so fun. I can't wait to read it.

  5. Wonderful interview! I love hearing how a book sparks into life! And just like a baby, it takes time to grow and develop to maturity. I love the beach and finding fun things there. Congratulations!

  6. Congratulations, Sarah. I look forward to this lovely book.

  7. Congratulations, Sarah :) I look forward to reading your book.

    1. Hi Charlotte,
      Sarah’s Story sounds so intriguing.

  8. I could really use a beach day! Congratulations on your book - I can't wait to read it.

    1. Sue, right now it feels like it will never be warm enough for a beach day.

  9. Congratulations Sarah! I enjoyed reading about your journey and advice. I love the concept of all the different kinds of pups. Good luck to you!

  10. Congratulations Sarah! The book sounds wonderful and I am definitely a beach girl.

  11. Best wishes on your agent hunting journey. I'm in the same place :0)

  12. Alayne C. has been wonderful to so many of us :) And continues to be so.
    So thrilled to know about the success of this lovely beach story. Groovy to know the organic process, from son's pile of animal books. And such an intriguing hook - the seal pup. Wondering what coast you are near Sarah, as the photos look so gulf shore, which is my near beach here in North Florida.

    Janie, appreciations for bringing this author & book to us.

  13. Best wishes, Sarah. I look forward to reading your book WHO WILL? WILL YOU?

    Janie: Thank you for introducing us to Sarah.

    Suzy Leopold

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  15. Sarah, your book sounds wonderful. I can't wait to read and share it. Congratulations!

  16. What a neat idea for a book. Sounds like you have a winner there. Thanks, Janie, for introducing us to Sarah. And yes, we need to keep chugging along!