Welcome, ladies, and congratulations on the February 6th release of Goldi Rocks and The Three Bears! Beth, being that you were an aspiring author at the time, I am curious to hear the story of your chance meeting with Corey.
Beth: I “met” Corey one day a few years ago when I was searching online for outstanding picture book authors. I knew that this was a genre that I wanted to pursue, for publication, as I was working in an elementary school library at the time and I just couldn’t get enough of picture books! In my hunt for quality authors, I came across Corey, and read that she welcomed collaboration! I was all over that like a fly on flypaper and, well, the rest is Goldi history…
I understand Goldi Rocks is your debut book, Beth. Congratulations! Did you encounter any unexpected experiences as a first time author?
Beth: Thank you! It’s been a great ride- so much fun, and a very cool experience. Thank goodness Corey has been down this road a time or two before and I can learn from her! What was unexpected to me was the fact that the wheels of publication turn very slowly; but now I understand it’s just the way it is, and must be accepted by anyone who wants their book published traditionally.
I know this is not the first time co-authoring for you, Corey, as you co-authored Hop Plop with Tali Klein. Did the first experience better prepare you for this collaboration? What complications present themselves to authors who wish to collaborate?
Corey: Well, I have actually collaborated with three people in all. (Unless, I count my hubby. Then it’s four) And the process is different with each person. I truly believe that the whole is greater than the sum of its parts and that everyone has something valuable to contribute. The only complication I can imagine would be if both writers had their own representation, but I haven’t had to confront this issue yet.
Beth: It used to be that distance would have presented a problem to collaborating authors, but with the awesome technology like Google Docs, no distance can separate! When you work together on a project, there needs to be flexibility, a commitment to seeing things from another’s point of view, and a general agreeable spirit to work with in order to produce one result from two writers. I think we handled those things well!
Beth, was this the first manuscript you circulated into submission as a picture book writer? If not, how long have you actively been submitting work as a children’s writer?
Beth: No, this was not the first one I’ve submitted out to publishing houses. I had submitted my first piece, April May, It’s Library Day, a few years back, but it was not picked up by any of the houses I submitted to. I have learned a lot since then and have applied it to my writing. I have two other manuscripts I’m currently working on, and I’m taking my time to make them “just right” before I let them leave my nest!
What resources do you regularly utilize as authors?
Beth: I try to read a lot of picture books. I love to buy them, so I usually have plenty to read! I also blog, and that gives me a chance to keep working on my writing and getting things “out there” for someone to read. I also like CBI Clubhouse as a writer’s resource!
Corey: As someone who almost always writes in rhyme, I live on www.rhymezone.com and www.thesaurus.com. These two sites are a rhymer’s best friends!
Corey, one of my first grade students came to me the other day when we were at the library. He requested that I help him find The Three Ninja Pigs Christmas. Although I knew there was no such book, I assured him I would pass on his request to you. I am excited to see that Ninja Red Riding Hood is coming out in July of this year! What can you share with us about the production adventure for this book? Are there any plans for Ninja Pig sequels in the future?
Corey: Aw, that is SO cute! I’m currently working on Ninja Gretel but it remains to be seen if Putnam will pick it up or not. I really think Dan Santat really outdid himself with NINJA RED.. The artwork is phenomenal! Here is a sneak peek:
Corey: Well, the very first Halloween I can remember, I was Little Red Riding Hood. That was back in the day when you had to make your own costumes, and I remember my mom sewing a red cape and hood for me. The funny thing is… we were living in Tokyo at the time! So, I guess it really foreshadowed Ninja Red! Ha. But… truthfully, my real interest came from reading other fractured tales as an adult: The True Story of 3 Little Pigs, The Three Horrid Little Pigs, Falling for Rapunzel. I love them all!
I am so impressed with the list of illustrators you have been blessed to work with, Corey! Olivier Dunrea! Dan Santat! And now Nate Wragg! Can you share any incredible interactions you were able to have with them?
Corey: Oh, what’s really incredible is how technology is changing the author/illustrator relationship. With Olivier Dunrea, I had no contact whatsoever. With Dan, he told me on Facebook that he was illustrating THE THREE NINJA PIGS before I even heard it from Putnam! (And I didnt’ even believe him at first! I thought Tara Lazar put him up to it! Ha!)
What is one fun thing that we (and the rest of the world) may not know about you?
Beth: I lived next to inspiration for many years- the late Stan and Jan Berenstain of The Berenstain Bears were my neighbors since I was 14 years old. I used to love going into their house occasionally and seeing their Bears everywhere! They were an amazing, ordinary couple who had extraordinary talent.
Corey: I have a Masters in Deaf Education and I love speaking in sign language!
Thank you so much for being our Mystery Authors! We look forward to seeing your future success!