Nancy Viau is the author of Samantha Hansen Has Rocks In Her Head (MG 2008), Look What I Can Do!(March 2013), and Storm Song (April 2013), and (Middle-Grade Novel, 2008). She is having a book signing and you are invited.
You had a book launch party when your first middle grade book, Samantha Hansen Has Rocks in Her Head, debuted. What are your “Send Off” plans for Look What I Can Do!?
There are no local bookstores in my area, but I’ve always been in love with Children’s Book World of Haverford, PA, and visit there as often as possible. So, the second I found out I would (finally) have a picture book published, I called them up and asked if they’d consider hosting my book launch. They said YES! The date/time is set for March 23rd at 1:00. Visitors will also get a sneak peek at Storm Song (release date, April 16th), and I have few copies available already! Everybody is welcome. Bring the kids! I’ve got a ton of goodies for them.
Did an agent help sell Look What I Can Do to Abrams?
I was unagented when Abrams made the offer.
What was the idea spark for Look What I Can Do!?
I live next to a forest with a field and stream nearby and one day it hit me: Those cute little creatures out my window work so hard at every thing they do, and they don’t ever give up. I pictured my own kids working equally as hard at human things—walking, talking, skipping, catching a ball, etc. and that’s when the idea really took off. The refrain says it all:
Friends of forest, field, and stream,
Keep trying on your own.
Be proud today.
Have fun and play.
In time you will be grown.
Can you tell us about the journey that you took to get Look What I Can Do picked up by Abrams?
It’s a really long story that spans almost ten years. Suffice it to say, that an editor at Abrams rejected this piece early on, but gave me personal comments. Many other editors did the same. I let the story slide into oblivion, but in 2008 I brushed it off and began revising it (for the twentieth time). Abrams bought it in 2009.
Did you have any involvement with choosing Anna Vojtech to do the illustrations for Look What I Can Do?
Abrams knew that I wanted real-life animals in the spreads, not cartoon-like ones. For a long while, award-winning illustrator Nancy Tafuri was the frontrunner for illustrator but that fell through. I had sent Abrams a few illustrators I liked and Anna was one of them. Abrams didn’t bite and they sent me others to consider. A year or so went by. Then one day, I got an email that included Anna’s name as a possibility! I guess it was meant to be. I really believe her work is exceptional and perfect for my story.
Since it takes so long to get a picture book published and I see that Robin Benjamin was the editor for Storm Song, I wonder if this book started out with Marshall Cavendish?
Yes, Storm Song was acquired by Marshall Cavendish, and I was thrilled to be associated with that house because their books have always been among my favorites. However, M.C. sold the children’s division to Amazon, and I was one of a couple hundred authors who ended up with a new publisher. At first I was concerned, but Amazon Children’s Publishing/Two Lions Imprint has been awesome. I have a team of seven marketing professionals on my side, and have had conference calls with all of them at once! Their support is incredible and the book is beautiful. What more could I ask for?!
How much interaction did you have with Robin Benjamin?
Robin has been my editor since Marshall Cavendish originally made the offer. I didn’t hear from her a bunch because she felt that only one stanza needed revision. (Whew!) They did ask me what I thought of Gynux, the illustrator (he’s amazing!), and once his sketches were done, I was even able to give feedback on one spread that I felt needed tweaking. Robin always kept me informed about the book’s progress, and it has been a pleasure working with her.
Did an agent sell this book?
It sold a few weeks after my agent and I broke up, but that agent remains the one on record for it.
Are you working with an agent now?
Karen Grencik of Red Fox Literary is my wonderful agent. We celebrate a one year anniversary soon!
What things are in the pipeline?
Stay tuned! ; )
Do you have any words of wisdom to share with other children’s writers?
1. Be patient, and 2. Drink lots of wine.
Nancy, best of luck with the books. I am so sorry your party is on the same weekend as the Writer’s Retreat I am attending.
WRITERS TIP: I you live anywhere within driving distance to Children’s Book World in Haverford PA, it would be worth your while to get to know them. They are very supportive of children’s authors.
Filed under: authors and illustrators, Book, Interview, success Tagged: Abrams BFYR, Amazon Children's Publishing, Book launch party, Children's Book World, Nancy Viau, Robin Benjamin Display Comments Add a Comment