Our series of pre-Team SCBWI in MD/DE/WV Conference faculty interviews continues! Missed our first two? No worries, mate, just click on these links. And don’t forget that critiques are due on February 12th! #nagnagnag
- Ava Jae, writer and Assistant Editor at Entangled Publishing
- Stephen Barbara, agent with InkWell Management Literary Agency
Today we have author (and fellow MD/DE/WV member) Laura Shovan joining us in the cyber café! Laura is a poet, children’s author, editor, and educator. She is Howard County Poetry and Literature Society’s current writer-in-residence. Laura edited Maryland Writers’ Association’s anthology Life in Me Like Grass on Fire: Love Poems and co-edited Voices Fly: An Anthology of Exercises and Poems from the Maryland State Arts Council Artists-in-Residence Program, for which she teaches. The Last Fifth Grade of Emerson Elementary, her middle grade novel-in-verse, debuts in April (Wendy Lamb Books/Random House).
Laura Shovan’s engaging, big-hearted debut is a time capsule of one class’s poems during a transformative school year. Families change and new friendships form as these terrific kids grow up and move on in this whimsical novel-in-verse about finding your voice and making sure others hear it.
one year of poems,
one school set to close.
Two yellow bulldozers
ready to eat the building
in one greedy gulp.
But look out, bulldozers.
Ms. Hill’s fifth-grade class
has plans for you.
They’re going to speak up
and work together
to save their school.
Laura’s Saturday Session: Dancing Down the Page
Children’s novels-in-verse are enjoying a moment in the sun, with BLACK GIRL DREAMING and THE CROSSOVER winning major book awards. Join debut verse novelist and poet-in-the-schools Laura Shovan for an overview of this genre. “Dancing Down the Page” will focus on three key ways that poetry appeals to young readers: white space, wordplay, and voice. Laura will also lead a writing exercise that authors of any genre can use to hone a character’s voice.
And now that Laura is settled with a skim latte, no sugar, and her favorite snack … sharing apples with her dogs that know the sound of an apple being cut and come running for their piece…
… (please send a picture of that next time, Laura 😉 … let’s get started! First up, what was your favorite book as a child?
And now, what’s your favorite book as an adult?
I recently re-read an old Ray Bradbury collection (THE VINTAGE BRADBURY from 1965) and fell in love with his short stories all over again.
You magically find a $100.00 bill in your box of cereal. In what frivolous way would you spend it? (Key word: Frivolous!)
I’m obsessed with unusual costume jewelry, so I’d take that $100 to Old Ellicott City and scout the antique and boutique shops for something funky.
You’ve been locked in a bank vault Twilight Zone style, so you finally have time to read! Your glasses are fine (whew!) so what’s the first book you crack open?
The collection of Sondheim books that’s sitting on my shelf. Imagining performances of A FUNNY THING HAPPENED ON THE WAY TO THE FORUM and other Sondheim musicals would keep me happy for a long time.
If you followed the career path you chose for yourself in high school, what would you be doing for a living now?
Exactly what I’m doing, but in a quaint brownstone in Greenwich Village. Possibly wearing a beret.
For one day, time travel is a reality and you can visit any famous deceased author you want. Who do you pick?
What’s your favorite motivational quote?
I don’t know if anyone else will find this motivational, but my favorite quote right now is from GONE-AWAY LAKE by Elizabeth Enright: “Outer space, and inner pie.”
If you could sum up your best marketing advice for new writers or illustrators in only four words, what would it be?
Build a strong community.
Happy writing and drawing!