With our upcoming 2018 25th Annual SCBWI MD/DE/WV Conference: And Still We R(ev)ise coming up, you know what that means … another round of Coffee & Conversation interviews with our awesome presenters as a way for attendees to get to know them! This has become a tradition here at As the Eraser Burns that I hope you enjoy as much as I do. I’ll also be sharing some tips in the coming weeks in hopes it will help you get the most from your conference experience, so be sure to subscribe!
Until then, let’s get the chatter started with our first C&C with picture book author, Laura Gehl!
Laura is the author of ten published picture books from houses including Simon & Schuster, Macmillan, and Penguin Random House, with many more picture books to come out over the next few years. When Laura reads adult fiction, she skims over all the descriptive passages, which makes writing picture books—where the art replaces any wordy description—a perfect fit. Laura lives in Chevy Chase, Maryland, with her husband, four kids, and large stash of dark chocolate.
And Still We R(ev)ise, Saturday at 2:40 PM – 3:30 PM
With Laura Gehl, Carollyne Hutter, Megan Wagner Lloyd, Sue Macy, Lakita Wilson, Moderator: Suzanna Banwell): A panel of authors from various genres discuss their tried-and-true techniques for making their work better with each draft and how to handle the emotional ups and downs of the revision process.
Picture (Book) Perfect, Sunday at 9:00 AM-12:00 Noon: Intensive Workshops
A two-part workshop for writers of picture books.
Part One – Leaving Room for the Pictures: If a picture book writer is doing his or her job correctly, the words are just one (albeit important) part of the story. Conversely, a professional illustrator has so much more to contribute than simply drawing illustrations that match your words. Learn how to leave room for art in your manuscript—and room for an illustrator’s talent to shine—while avoiding the unnecessary illustration directions that editors hate.
And now, on to the interview!
What was your favorite book as a child? As a teen? And now, as an adult?
A few favorites from different stages of life:
How were you inspired to write your current or upcoming release?
MY PILLOW KEEPS MOVING started as a game I used to play with my kids. I would put my head down, using one of the kids as a pillow, and pretend to fall asleep—snoring dramatically. Inevitably, my “pillow” would wriggle and giggle. And after repeating “My pillow keeps moving” over and over, in my best cranky voice, I would threaten to return the pillow to the pillow store. Substitute dog for kid and curmudgeonly gentleman for me…that game turned into the book!
If you followed the career path you chose for yourself in high school, what would you be doing for a living now?
I would be a child psychologist.
For one day, time travel is a reality and you have the opportunity to visit any famous deceased author you want. Who do you pick?
You magically find a $100 bill in your box of cereal. In what frivolous way would you spend it?
Books! Did you even have to ask?
LOL, okay, you got me there! What is your favorite quote?
“I said that I thought the secret of life was obvious: be here now, love as if your whole life depended on it, find your life’s work, and try to get hold of a giant panda.” –Anne Lamott
What do you enjoy doing when not writing?
Walking in the woods, traveling, and—of course—reading.
If you could sum up your best advice for new writers in only four words, what would they be?
Write. Get critiques. Revise. (And, if I can beg for a fifth word, REPEAT!)
And finally, what’s your favorite:
Time to work? After eating chocolate.
Music to listen to while writing? Complete and total silence. (I can’t even have somebody else breathing near me when I am in my deepest writing trance.)
Guiltiest pleasure? A Belgian Chocolate Shake from Haagen Dasz, with no sprinkles and lots of extra hot fudge.
Awesome, thanks so much for stopping by, Laura, and we’re looking forward to seeing you at the conference!