I am so thrilled that this day has finally arrived for her! After many months, (I’ll let her tell you how many), her first amazing picture book, The Raindrop Who Couldn’t Fall, is being released this month! Let’s give a warm welcome, and a standing ovation from my end, to... Kirsti Call!
What was the inspiration for your new picture book, The Raindrop Who Couldn’t Fall?
I was at Home Depot, trying to order kitchen cabinets for about 5 hours. I had all five of my kids with me and everyone, including me, felt extremely bored! It was raining outside, so I told the kids a story about a raindrop who couldn't fall. It kept them entertained, so I went home and wrote it down.
How did your background as a Licensed Marriage & Family Therapist help you with this book?
I was thinking about learning disabilities when I wrote the story. It's so hard to see other people easily accomplish things that are hard for you to learn. Sometimes you try and try and you still can't succeed without help from others. In my story, Plink needs her grandmother's help in order to succeed.
How long had you been submitting picture books prior to receiving your first publishing contract with Character Publishing?
I started subbing stories almost as soon as I wrote them. The Raindrop Who Couldn't Fall is my second story and I got the contract 6 months after I wrote it. A woman in my critique group had published with Character Publishing, so I submitted to them. It's a blessing that I found the right publisher for the story so quickly.
Were you able to communicate with Lisa M. Griffin, the illustrator of your book, during the editing stages?
Lisa and I never talked about the illustrations until they were completely done. That's when I Facebooked her and told her I thought they were fabulous!
Do you typically use illustration notes in your picture book submissions?
I only use illustration notes if I think they are absolutely necessary...
How long did the publication process take, from contract signing to release date?
2 and 1/2 years.
What is one thing you learned about the publication process during this first book?
I learned to be flexible. When I submitted my story I had backmatter with questions to help kids process and talk about what it feels like to try really hard and still feel like you're failing. Now, the book is less therapeutically focused and more science focused. This works well for the core curriculum, teachers and water cycle enthusiasts!
What has been the most challenging thing for you as a writer? The most rewarding?
Rejection is definitely the most challenging part of being a writer. You just have to have faith that what you're writing is worthwhile, despite dozens of rejections. The most rewarding part of writing is when I read one of my stories to a kid, and they laugh or smile. If my stories help kids want to read, then I'm happy.
What types of support do you utilize as a writer?
Well Carrie, I have you, my phenomenal critique partner! I also have an on-line critique group and an in person critique group. I'm a member of SCBWI, Children's Book Insider, Julie Hedlund's 12x12 forum, and several children's writing facebook groups.
You wear a lot of different hats in life! Mom, wife, therapist, writer, vocalist, …and more! How do you manage your time so well? Do you have a special routine that you utilize that might help other writers?
I don't really have a special routine. When I find a few quiet moments I try to make a conscious decision to write or revise instead of checking e-mail or facebook.
In the last year, I've made writing more of a priority by joining Julie Hedlund's 12x12 challenge, and Tara Lazar'sPiBoIdMo. Just having a community of writers really keeps me motivated to keep writing and submitting. I'm also a regular contributor to Writer's Rumpus, which keeps me thinking about writing for children as less of a luxury and more of a way of life.
I understand you have dedicated a picture book manuscript to each of your kids. What sparked this movement? Do most of your ideas come from your kids?
Almost every single one of my 30 manuscripts was inspired by my kids. Their endless curiosity and creativity helps me create! I'm completely grateful for every single intense little personality in my family.
You are so inspiring, Kirsti! We will look forward to seeing what comes next for you! Thank you for sharing your time with us!