With winter right around the corner, I thought today would be a good day to share a new children's book with you. A Warm Winter Tale by Carrie A. Pearson, will have snuggling up with your children as you read this easy to understand book about animals adapting to winter weather.
I had the opportunity to interview the author, and wanted to share her responses below. When you are done learning more about Carrie and her new children's book, enter to win a copy of this title to share with your little one(s).
Tell me about your book. How did you come up with that (story, angle, idea)?
A Warm Winter Tail is a cozy nature book about how animals adapt to winter weather. But it is told from the perspective of baby and mama animals and uses lyrical language – not your typical science book! It has a repeating line to encourage reader participation and while quiet, isn’t the least bit sleepy. Christina Wald, the illustrator, is a master (mistress?) at creating scenes that are real life but child-friendly.
This story came to me one exceptionally cold winter day when I was snowshoeing on the trails by my house. As I walked across a bridge deep in the woods, I noticed a deer watching me. His head was cocked to the side as if he was trying to figure out what I was. I decided I must look strange to him with my hat, mittens, and many layers of clothing. That’s when I had the idea of animals wondering how humans stay warm in the winter.
How did you get interested in writing this particular genre?
I loved picture books as a child because of the interactive experience of reading with an adult. Much later as a parent, I love them for the same reason. There is something magical about the blending of illustrations and words; particularly when illustrations add elements that are unique or their own storyline. For instance, in A Warm Winter Tail, the final illustration depicts mama whitetail deer peeping in at a mama and child reading A Warm Winter Tail. I adore the story within the story that illustration provides.
Do you have any favorite authors or favorite books?
As a child, I was a total bookworm nerd, spending every spare minute with my nose buried between pages. Depending upon my age and interest at the time, some childhood favorites were: Never Tease a Weasel by Jean Conder Soule and Denman Hampson, Bread and Jam for Francis by Russell and Lillian Hoban, Misty of Chincoteague by Marguerite Henry – nothing much in common in that list except animal characters. Today, I enjoy a range of genres from humorous picture books like I Wanna Iguana by Karen Kaufman Orloff and David Catrow, to middle grade historical fiction like Moon Over Manifest by Clare Vanderpool, and contemporary middle grade like As Easy as Falling Off the Edge of the Earth by Lynne Rae Perkins (my wonderful SCBWI-MI mentor for a year).
What's a typical working day like for you? When and where do you write? Do you set a daily writing goal?
Unfortunately or fortunately, there is nothing typical about my working days. There are some common themes around them, however. My office has great light but no door, so I do 90% of my writing early in the morning before my three teenaged daughters and two labradoodle dogs are awake. My husband is an early riser as well, but he’s good about being quiet. My creative time happens when I’m active everyday (running, biking, stand up paddling, hiking, skiing, etc.). This is when new ideas come to me or I sort out problems with characters, plots, or stubborn rhymes. I don’t have daily writing word count goals but I keep a running to-do list of various projects I’m working on and the mini-goals I need to accomplish that week. It gives me great pleasure to cross off an item!
What is the hardest part of writing for you?
The hardest part is the actual butt in chair time; I get stiff and sore! I set an alarm to ring each hour to push away from my desk and move. The worst is when I’m on a deadline and feel the need to sit for longer stretches of time.
What’s the best thing about being an author?
The best thing is when the story that started in my imagination becomes tangible – an object that can be touched, smelled, heard, and seen. If I ever publish a board book for babies and toddlers, I will add “tasted” to that list!
What are you working on now?
I’m working on a companion story to A Warm Winter Tail tentatively called, “A Cool Summer Spitbath” about how animals adapt to heat. The research phase is so interesting! I’ve completed a middle grade historical novel set in 1961 about a North American boy who is placed in an orphanage with 40 boys who have come to the US from Cuba as part of Operation Pedro Pan. I will seek agent representation for this. I have other picture books in various stages of development and more ideas than I will ever have time to write.
What advice would you give aspiring writers?
Jump in! I hear from many people that they want to be a writer but they don’t know how to start. I say, “Start by writing!” Put words on paper and solicit reactions from people in your inner circle. Watch their faces as they read. Note where your words impacted them and how. Be open to their feedback and revise accordingly. Join a critique group that works on books in your genre. Join the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators and frequent online resources like Children’s Book Insider and Verla Kay’s blue boards. Read, read, read children’s books and pay attention to what moves you. Most of the time, it is a long and winding road to publication requiring passion, stamina, and a willingness to learn and adapt. If you possess those qualities, you will eventually transition from writer to author.
What question have you always wanted to be asked in an interview? How would you answer that question?
Hmmm. How about “How do you define success as an author?”
Don’t tell my publisher this, but for me, success isn’t about the number of titles I write or copies sold. I most want to create memorable books for children – books that resonate, enlighten, and present something new – books that children want to haul around with them and experience over and over. I believe this type of book will sell well and stick in the memories of children and their caregivers. Whether I end up writing two or 200 books in my lifetime, they each need to be memorable.
About the Author:
Carrie A. (Ann) Pearson is originally from Hillsdale, Michigan, and now lives in Marquette, Michigan on the sandy shore of Lake Superior. A former early elementary teacher, she is an active member of the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators (SCBWI) and is the winner of the SCBWI-Michigan Picture Book Mentorship Award. Her nonfiction work has appeared in Michigan History Magazine. Currently she is working on several picture book manuscripts as well as an historical novel for middle grade readers set in an abandoned orphanage. Along with her husband and their three daughters (and their two labradoodles), she hikes, bikes, runs, and skis in the woods, windsurfs, kayaks, stand-up paddles, and swims in the chilly water and writes about what she experiences around her. The idea for A Warm Winter Tail, her debut picture book, came from an encounter with a whitetail deer on a wintry day. Stop by Carrie’s website www.carriepearsonbooks.com to learn about her school and library visits.
Want to win a copy of Carrie's new children's book to read with your little one(s)? Then, complete the entries on the Rafflecopter form below. Good luck!a Rafflecopter giveaway
Disclosure: I was sent a copy of this book by the publisher in order to participate and feature author in this book blog hop. The views above are mine and mine alone.