I am happy to host Virginia S. Grenier this week. I hope you enjoy reading about this children’s author and her new book, Babysitting Sugarpaw.
Let’s learn more about the author by a bit of Q & A:
Q: Congratulations on your exciting publishing announcement of your first children’s book, “Babysitting Sugarpaw,” for July 2009. “Babysitting Sugarpaw,” started out as a short story and won 15th place for Fiction in the P&E Readers Poll. What prompted you to submit further to a publisher?
VS: After I wrote SugarPaw and the Babysitter, I could see the various illustrations of this little bear creating mayhem for his babysitter. Therefore, I set to work on the picture book version of this story entitled Babysitting SugarPaw. I knew this could be a really fun story for babysitters to read when tucking in all those little pranksters to bed at night while mommy and daddy are out.
Q: Did you need to expand the story further for a picture book submission? If yes, what did you add? If no, did you always envision this particular story as a picture book?
VS: I actually ended up cutting the story up, with a lot of red ink and sleepless nights, down to the bare bones. In other words, into a picture book outline. Writing a picture book is very different from writing a short story, so it took some reworking. After seeing the guts of the story on page, I knew Babysitting SugarPaw was ready to be written as a picture book.
I had always hoped to take SugarPaw and the Babysitter and turn it into a picture book. After all, a picture inspired the story to begin with.
Q: Were you a babysitter at one time? If yes, did you incorporate any of your experiences into your story?
VS: I only babysat once for a family outside my own family that is. Man was that a total mistake for both parties. I was never cut out for babysitting being an only child until the age of fifteen. LOL. Of course, I wouldn’t say I was much better once my sister was around either. It takes a certain type of girl to be a babysitter, and I wasn’t it. I was more a tomboy growing up.
However, Babysitting SugarPaw does reflect a lot about how I was when babysat by others. Now that I’m a mom, I can relate to Bonnie Whiskers, too.
Q: When researching publishers, did you seek out at least three possibilities or did you focus solely on one publishing house?
VS: Actually, I’m a Freelance Editor for Halo Publishing; so no, I didn’t look into other publishers for Babysitting SugarPaw. However, writers should have a list of at least three publishers in mind for any book they are getting ready to submit.
But don’t think I didn’t have to go through the same process as any other writer submitting to Halo Publishing. My submission had to be reviewed by many editors before I got my acceptance. After that, it had to go through the editing process and, believe it or not, the editor cut more out of my story and tightened up a bit more. The only difference for me was I knew most of the illustrators personally and was able to work closer with the illustrator, too.
Q: From your experience, what has been the greatest obstacle you needed to overcome to achieve publication?
VS: Sitting down and finishing my book. No, really! I’m so busy with running Stories for Children Publishing and its many divisions: Stories for Children Magazine, SFC Newsletter for Writers, and SFC Blog Families Matter, that finding time to sit down . . . write . . . research publishers . . . and so on, just isn’t on my mind. But I’m glad I took the time to get Babysitting SugarPaw in the shape it needed to become a published book. Now to make the time for my other manuscripts.
Q: Please share what current works-in-progress you have in the fire.
VS: Oh, there are so many. Well besides Stories for Children Magazine, which is always a work-in-process, I have four other picture book manuscripts I’ve been working on for about a year now. I also have the first four chapters of a fantasy YA novel and an outline of another book that is more of a mystery/crime novel for teens based on true events from my high school years.
Lastly, I am currently in the process of putting together the second Best of Stories for Children anthology.
Drop back by this blog Monday to learn more about V.S. Grenier’s book, Babysitting Sugarpaw. See you then!