How to Write Like a Professional

How to Write Like a Professional
6 Surprising Mistakes That Make Writers Look Like Amateurs... and How to Avoid Them

Friday, March 21, 2014

High Five #29: Another Debut Success Story Falls From the Sky

This is week 2 of the High Five 14:14. 14 interviews with debut picture book authors in 14 weeks. If you missed last week's interview with Romelle, you can still read her story. Also, be sure to check out how to be an engaged writer, once you read today's interview.

Today's debut author is Kirsti Call. Happy HIGH FIVE for your debut picture book. Congratulations!!!

Title: The Raindrop Who Couldn’t Fall
Author: Kirsti Call
Illustrator: Lisa Griffin
Publisher: Character Publishing
Release date: December 15, 2013
Word count: 516
"How many times do you try before you give up?" wonders little Plink. He's a raindrop who can't seem to fall, no matter how many times he tries. Learning to do things isn't always easy and sometimes it takes the support and love of others to succeed. 
Question ONE: What are three of your favorite picture books? I know, I know. Only three?!

1. Mustache Baby by Bridget Heos
2. The Day the Babies Crawled Away by Peggy Rathmann
3. Leonardo, The Terrible Monster by Mo Willems

Question TWO: Monsters and babies. Maybe you'll write a baby monster book one day. Do you feel like you have an extra special bond with your children because of books?

I have five children. My oldest and youngest are boys and I have three girls in the middle. They are 12, 10, 8, 6, and 3 years old! Reading is part of our daily life. I keep books in every room and in the car.  If we have a spare moment, or we are waiting for the older kids in car line, I read to the younger kids. All of my kids would listen to me read for hours if I could! Night time reading parties are the best--I feel like I’m sharing something important with my kids and learning how to be a better writer at the same time!

Question THREE: I love that dual action of reading/sharing and learning at the same time. My kids are 7 and 9 and a lot of times when I read at night, they're busy doing other things at the same time. Like drawing, playing with stuffed animals or Legos, or playing DS games. So, how might teachers use your book in the classroom?
 
My book is peppered with fun facts about the water cycle, cloud formation, and the science of rainbows (among other facts), offering an age-appropriate introduction to science. It includes activities, supplementary material, and a glossary.  Teachers can also use the story of Plink who fails and keeps trying despite getting bullied and feeling discouraged.  Persistence is an important skill for kids to learn.

Question FOUR: Sounds fun! I love books that have facts peppered throughout. Persistence is indeed an important skill for kids to learn. And here's the juicy question...what was your road to publication like? I hope you have a juicy answer.

I told this story to my kids when we were stuck at Home Depot trying to order cabinets for 5 hours!  It was raining outside and in a desperate attempt to entertain them, I told them the story of Plink.  They liked the story, so I wrote it down about 3 years ago.  It was my second picture book manuscript and after joining a critique group and showing it to them, I submitted to two publishers. I was blessed to get a contract with Character Publishing 6 months later.  I only got one rejection with this story, but I’ve had dozens or maybe even hundreds of rejections on other stories, since.  I’m now submitting to agents and publishers, hoping to find homes for many other stories.  I’ve got 24 in various stages of revision and 7 that are submission ready right now :)

Question FIVE: That's an amazing amount of stories. I probably have 24+ in idea stage. And maybe 7 submission ready. My children love to help me come up with stories. Unfortunately for me, those ideas are never marketable. What are your top three writing tips you can offer to writers seeking publication?

1.  Write. Revise. Submit. Repeat.
2.  Don’t give up.  Rejections are just proof that you are a real writer!
3.  Research your publishers and agents. If your story is really polished, there will be someone who loves it!

I love that 3rd tip. There WILL be someone who loves it, I am sure. It's all about being in the right place at the right time. Thanks so much for sharing some of your story and insight with us today. Debut authors always give such an inspiration to the rest of us. Thanks!!!

Come back next week for another great debut success story!

6 comments:

  1. Congratulations Kristie! I like tip number three as well.
    Great interview Christie. :-)

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    Replies
    1. Thanks Tracey! It's a blessing to have a book published!

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  2. Thanks for a terrific interview and wonderful tips. Congrats on getting your book out there.

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  3. Thanks for sharing, Kirsti! Wow, 5 kids. I bet you get a lot of story ideas from them. 24+ ideas is fabulous.

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  4. Thank you for such interesting, thoughtful interview questions, Christie! Kirsti is an amazing writer and there will be MANY more published stories in her future! This story fit perfectly into my first grade classroom... we analyzed the character of Plink and delved into the plot. It also offered an extra nod to the water cycle during our Spring 'Plants" unit in Science. But my favorite is the the resounding theme of perseverance. I continue to refer to Plink daily, and my students keep on trying!

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