I met Savannah, a.k.a. Karin, at a writer's conference. We were both rejected by agents, and compared our sob stories.
Having other writers around you, going through the same ups and downs of this business, is key to keeping your sanity.
Below are the questions I asked her:
1. Your story How Harris and Grace Save Their House is in Herman’s Horrible Day, a collection of read-aloud stories for children. Can you tell us a little about that?
I was honored to have my story in their collection. The collection has thirty-one great short stories, which are perfect for reading to your child at bedtime. How Harris and Grace Save Their House is a sweet tooth story for sure!
2. What's the funniest thing that a child has done while you were their nanny? And will we see that in your books?
Being a nanny provided me with a lot of comedic moments. One in particular was a two-year-old girl. I would constantly hold my pointer finger up and tell her to give me one minute, and I would get what she needed. One day we were running late to the library and I told her to please hurry up, and she held her pointer finger up at me and she goes, “Give me one minute.”
I surely put elements of the children’s personalities I have nannied for in my stories.
My writing style is all over the place! I would say, ninety-nine percent of my stories I don’t use an outline. Most of the time if an outline comes into play it is after my first draft is complete because something is out of place, or I use an outline to make sure I’ve gotten everything all the needed elements.
My ideas come from incredibly deep (and constant) analyzing and viewing everything around me. Of course, this usually leads to my mind never really “shutting off.”
4. Why write?
I really can’t explain why I started writing, because I hated reading when I was growing up and I was horrible at it as well. One day it just kind of clicked. I wrote an action rhyme, submitted it, and it was accepted by Highlights High Five…the rest is history.
5. Do you belong to a writer's critique group? If so, how has it helped you? If no, what why not?
I was in a critique group that was incredibly helpful, mostly because when you edit others you learn more about your work. Our group “broke up” and I have yet to get back into one with my busy schedule.
6. How are query letters for you? Love writing them? Hate writing them?
I HATE writing them, but I’ve gotten incredibly good at them, I think.
7. What is your advice on sending out manuscripts?
Don’t waste money on ink, paper, stamps or time if it is not your very best!
Change the font for your final edit; it helps you catch mistakes that you missed the first fifty times under the font you have been staring at for weeks, months, years.
8. Have you taken any writer's classes or gone to any workshops that you believe helped you? If so, which ones and how have they helped?
I have a diploma from The Institute of Children’s Literature, which gave me a great overview of the writing world and experience with the development of my own writing.
I have attended several SCBWI workshops (and made great contacts and friends!), but I have found the most help through reading books on craft and listening to other writers.
9. Who is your biggest cheerleader?
My boyfriend is by far my biggest cheerleader. He always encourages me to write, to believe in myself, and to question why I received a rejection. His positivity and support towards my writing is incredible.
10. Give 3 words of advice to newbie writers:
Absorb (everything on writing from books, classes, people).
Practice (different ages, genres).
Try (writing is 99% rejection; you have to learn to accept these and keep trying regardless).
12. Do you belong to any writer's organizations, such as SCBWI? Which ones and why?
I have been with SCBWI since 2006. I stumbled upon them when I decided to really take charge of being a writer and I have met some really talented and kindhearted people through SCBWI.
13. Where can you get a great cup of Joe/Tea in your town?
14. Describe a typical writing day for you: What's your schedule like?
I work full time and I’m getting my master’s degree. I write whenever I have enough energy left in the day, and sometimes even when I don’t.
15. Any big news?
I just signed a contract for a non-fiction book. It is just in the beginning stages, so I can’t say much at this point, but I am very excited.