Coffee & Conversation with Laura Shovan

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

Laura ShovanToday 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).

Last FifthLaura 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.

Eighteen kids,
one year of poems,
one school set to close.
Two yellow bulldozers
crouched outside,
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…

apples-490474__180… (please send a picture of that next time, Laura 😉 … let’s get started! First up, what was your favorite book as a child?

GingerTwo of my favorites were Lewis Carroll’s Alice books and GINGER PYE by Eleanor Estes. My favorite poetry book was Robert Louis Stevenson’s A CHILD’S GARDEN OF VERSES.

And now, what’s your favorite book as an adult?

Vintage BradburyI 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?

Erma Bombeck.

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.

Fantastic, thanks so much for stopping by and we’re looking forward to hearing you speak at our Team SCBWI in MD/DE/WV conference! Best of luck, also, with The Last Fifth Grade of Emerson Elementary.

Happy writing and drawing!

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About Laura Bowers

Laura is a writer, runner, reader, runDisney addict, and blogger at As The Eraser Burns, Joyful Miles, and Write, Run, Rejoice. In the past, she's been a waitress, telemarketer, cook, real estate agent, and during her college days, a costumed character at holiday parades. (Memories of being terrorized as a candy cane still haunt her at night.) At the age of thirty, she pursued her dream of being a writer. Her first novel, Beauty Shop for Rent, a “Steel Magnolias for teens,” was inspired by a rusted sign by a charming old house, and now, she can honestly say that writing is a thousand times more rewarding than being a candy cane!
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9 Responses to Coffee & Conversation with Laura Shovan

  1. Thanks for sharing Laura. I too have apple loving dogs.
    If I could ask a question it would be, “What keeps you writing when the demands of the world are pulling you to stop?”

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  7. Looking forward to Dancing Down the Page with you!

  8. Pingback: Team SCBWI: Tips, Info, and All Things Conference! | As the Eraser Burns

  9. Pingback: Happy Book Birthday Laura Shovan!! | As the Eraser Burns

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