As part of the Writing with the Stars picture book mentoring contest, I will be posting mini interviews with the mentors to get to know them a bit better. Details of the contest can be found on the “WWTS Contest” tab on the main page.
I am thrilled to get to interview my very own mentor. Stacy has been instrumental to my new-found success and I thank my lucky stars every day that she chose to give back and that I was the recipient. She has also been a huge supporter of this contest and helped me recruit the amazing panel of authors. We all owe Stacy a round of applause. She is one talented and funny lady and I’m going to be jealous (in a first-born child sort of way) when she picks her new mentee.
You are the catalyst for Writing with the Stars. If you had not mentored me, I would not be hosting this contest. What was your motivation and how did you come to the decision to take on a mentee?
I felt like I was at a good spot in my career after years of struggling, and I wanted to give back. I made so many mistakes along the way, and I could have used someone telling me don’t do that! Don’t send a query letter in the voice of your character. Don’t spend all your time trying to sell one manuscript; write more. Don’t waste hours on Facebook and Twitter. And then there’s the Kevin Spacey quote I used to launch my mentorship search last year. “If you’re lucky enough to do well, it’s your responsibility to send the elevator back down.” Those are words to live by.
One of the reasons I KNEW I would love your sense of humor was the line in Dear Santasaurus where Ernest writes, “It was her idea to sneak behind Granny and yell meteor shower!” Do you remember how you came up with that line?
I don’t remember exactly where that line came from, but that’s what my children would sound like (if they were dinosaurs). I love trying to capture a kid’s sense of logic and justice. They see the world differently than adults. And in my opinion, they are a thousand times more interesting.
Can you give us a synopsis of your new picture book coming out in February, Mr. Fuzzbuster Knows He’s the Favorite? Where did this idea come from?
Mr. Fuzzbuster is Lily’s cat—and first pet. Thus, he was her favorite. But now Lily has five pets, and they all believe they’re number one. The book is illustrated by the amazing Edward Hemingway. His five pets are beyond adorable. They need to be made into plush toys. I want to hug them all. I wrote this book because my mom used to tease my brother and me about who was her favorite. She’d say to me, “You’re my favorite…” (LONG PAUSE) “…daughter.” My brother and I were always trying to cut her off before she could add the ‘daughter’ or ‘son’. I think anyone with siblings can relate to this family struggle of wanting to be mom or dad’s favorite. But now that I’m an adult and more secure, I know for certain I am my mom’s favorite (sorry, Frankie).
Your book Beautiful has gotten accolades for its positive girl power message. Have you received any letters or comments from readers that made you particularly proud?
With Beautiful, most of the emails and comments come from adults. I even had one mom order a signed copy for her daughter who was heading to college. That made my day. I get the most comments from kids regarding the book, 101 Reasons Why I’m Not Taking a Bath. They make great suggestions for follow up books like 101 Reasons Why I’m not Doing my Homework or 101 Reasons Why I’m Not Going to Bed. I love hearing their ideas.
You are a gummy worm aficionado. Is it just the worms, or will the bears, sharks, or twin cherries do?
Haha. Actually, gummy bears are my favorite. And then worms. I’m not a big fan of the larger gummy items. Neither is my dentist.
If you would like Stacy to be your mentor, please see contest details for application.