Well, this is embarrassing.
You know how I posted all those pre-conference interviews with faculty and presenters? Well, I missed a couple of them: Quressa Robinson’s because I had moved her email to the wrong Outlook folder and Laura Shovan‘s because of issues opening the Google drive file.
<<Buries head and blushes with shame.>>
Considering the time these ladies took to answer my interview questions, I’m feeling pretty rotten about this. So despite our lovely conference is over, I’m still sharing them with my deepest apologies. If you’ve missed any previous Coffee & Conversations, head on over to this recap and for more awesome regional upcoming events, check out our website!
Laura is an award-winning poet, children’s author, editor, and educator. Her debut middle grade novel, The Last Fifth Grade of Emerson Elementary, was a NCTE 2017 Notable Verse Novel, a Bank Street College of Education Best Children’s Book of the year, and won a Cybils Award for poetry, as well a Nerdy Book Club award. She is a longtime poet-in-the-schools and the author and editor of three books of poetry for adults. Her second middle grade novel, Takedown, publishes in June, 2018 from Random House Children’s Books.
Laura was part of an amazing presentation on The Online Pitch Contest Phenomenon that left me very inspired! She’s also done two other interviews for As The Eraser Burns! Click on the links to check them out:
And now for her 2018 interview!
Coffee & Conversation
When did you first know you wanted to be a writer?
In third grade, my class created book jackets for a novel we’d read. My teacher, Mrs. Khoury, said that the jacket copy I wrote (for one of the Little House books?) was practically professional. I adored Mrs. Khoury, so this was a huge compliment! I think I wanted to be a writer starting at that moment.
What was your path to publication like?
I joined SCBWI in 2003 and signed with my agent in 2014. It was slooooow, and then very fast. Two weeks after I signed with Stephen Barbara, we had offers on my debut novel.
Seeing as how hindsight is always 20/20, what would you have done differently?
I would have asked my agent to screen trade reviews for me. It’s good to have a buffer and most agents are happy to do this.
Every writer has a collection of abandoned manuscripts. How many are in yours and which was the hardest to leave behind?
I have one middle grade, two young adult, and multiple picture book drafts in my abandoned projects drawer. Maybe I’ll salvage some of them at some point, but others were more for my learning than for anyone else’s bookshelf. The main character of my MG novel was fun to write, so I’m sorry he’ll never have his day in print.
What is your favorite writing podcast?
I can’t decide between Corrina Allen’s Books Between, which focuses on MG, and KidLit Drink Night. What’s better than books and a cocktail?
How do you know when your manuscript is finished?
When my editor and I start working on individual word choices and small details, I know we’re getting close.
What is your favorite POV and why?
So far, first person has been most comfortable for me to write. This is probably because I studied dramatic writing for my BFA, and first person voice is similar to a long-running monologue.
Which do you prefer, writing a rough draft or editing and why?
When I’m drafting, I’ll swear up and down that revision is my jam. When I’m revising, I complain about missing the free-wheeling days of drafting a new story.
What advice do you have for beginning writers?
I love Tim Gunn’s advice, “Make it work.” Figuring out a way to solve your manuscript’s problems is the best way to learn and improve your writing.
And now for your Five Favorites:
Favorite TV Show: Fixer Upper
Favorite Movie: Howl’s Moving Castle (Sigh… Wizard Howl)
Favorite Musical: A Little Night Music
Favorite Song: “Don’t Recall” by K.A.R.D.
Favorite Holiday: National Poetry Month
I LOVE how that’s your favorite holiday! Thanks so much for stopping by, Laura, and again … my apologies for posting this late!
Happy writing and drawing, everyone!