Pam Calvert is the author of the adorable Princess Peepers and Multiplying Menace picture book series. Pam is back for her second year of mentoring with Writing with the Stars. Last year, her mentee went on to sign with an agent and Pam is looking to help someone else this year.
Tell us a bit about your new book, BRIANNA BRIGHT, BALLERINA KNIGHT (June 5, 2018) and the idea spark behind it.
My editor was looking for a “pink” book and I’d had an idea for a ballerina book for some time. I thought about what if this ballerina also wanted to be a knight—there weren’t very many princess knight books out at the time, but there were NO ballerina knights. I also got my idea for a fighter who dances from Game of Thrones—when Arya Stark was training with her sword, eloquently using her blade as if she was dancing.
What is the best advice you’ve ever received from an industry professional?
Well, the best advice came from Anastasia Suen in her picture book intensive workshop. She said we needed to look at our story from a picture perspective. Think in pictures. Without this, most picture books are actually short stories and will never sell. Once I reoriented my mind, doors opened for me where picture books were concerned. I sold almost immediately after taking her workshop.
If you could star in a picture-book-made-to-movie, what PB character would you want to play (besides Princess Peepers)?
I’d want to play Vampirina from the Vampirina Ballerina series by Anne Marie Pace. A vampire and a ballerina? A perfect blend of fun!
What does your writing schedule look like? Do you write every day?
I write about three days a week in the mornings. On other days I usually critique, catch up on emails, etc. I don’t always write picture books. I’m working on a young adult novel as well!
During school visit season (in the spring), a lot of days I’m working or traveling. I don’t get any writing done then. 😉
What do you find to be the most difficult part of the artistic process?
Getting that great idea then molding it into a good story with enough emotional depth for an editor to like it. It’s a lot of luck finding that golden nugget but when it happens, it’s magical!
What is a writing goal you are still working towards?
I still would like to write novels as well as picture books. I’ve come close to selling several middle grade novels but twice the editors that wanted my books were laid off during the process. Publishing can be so frustrating. I’ve had an easier time with picture books because my editors have stayed. Thank God!
You also have a picture book critique service. When is it the best time to use your services?
When you’ve exhausted all other avenues and you believe your manuscript is ready to go. I’d advise you take classes first before using a critique service because one critique cannot tell you what dozens of classes can. Additionally, have it critiqued in a group of fellow writers. After that, sending it to a professional is a good way to hone your already good manuscript into a masterpiece. Because your story needs to be at masterpiece level in order to sell!
(Info on critique services can be found at www.pamcalvert.com)
Thank you, Pam! I am looking forward to reading BALELRINA BRIGHT this summer. Please remember to support these mentor authors. Buy their books, review them online, and tell your librarians how awesome they are.