Saturday, August 27, 2011

Interview Author Brenda Sturgis

I interviewed author Brenda Sturgis, whom I got to know while illustrating Sweet Dreams. She was kind enough to answer some questions about the business of children's book writing. Enjoy!
1. How did you come up with the idea for "10 Turkeys in the Road"? After watching the book trailer I couldn't help but giggle. Humor abounds in the writing and the illustrations.
Thank you Nancy! The original idea presented itself one day when I was driving my daughter to school. There were about 10 turkeys blocking the road that we live on, (a country road in Shapleigh, Maine) strutting, creating a ruckus, and then they’d fly off into the trees. I woke up one night at 3:00 a.m. and the story was in my head, and I wrote the first draft fairly quickly. I sent it to my good friend, editor of Flashlight Press, Shari Dash Greenspan, and she liked it as well, and she added some funny illustration notes, the turkeys were doing all kinds of crazy things that she thought up. I reworked the text. I entered it in Smart Writers 2007, and it took an honorable mention, while the Football Game, now titled Touchdown, won first place in the same contest. In 2008, I took 10 Turkeys in the Road, on a road trip with me to RUCCL (Rutgers Council for Children’s Literature) a selective conference where you’re matched one-on-one with an editor. I was paired with Margery Cuyler, of Marshall Cavendish. She read the manuscript, laughed out loud and loved it. But said she’d like to see it about a circus. I went home and started a revision, had to change 10 entire stanzas each one had to rhyme with “One turkey flew away,” which is the refrain. I was able to rewrite the whole story to Margery’s specifications, it was submitted to her, and she acquired. She asked for two additional stanzas which I was happy to write for her, and the rest is turkey history!

2. What types of marketing techniques do you use to promote your work?

My website, designed by Donna Coons Farrell is turkey themed, and my daughter-in-law, educator, Whitney Reeves, (co-creator of The Bitzy Baby) wrote the lesson plans for me. My good friend and critique partner Carrie Clickard wrote the puzzles for me, and I created the book trailer myself with Movie Maker. I’ve contacted The National Wild Turkey Federation who looked over my puzzles and my website, and agreed to do a book review, also Avner the Eccentric, (he was in The Jewel of the Nile movie with Michael Douglas and Kathleen Turner.) Avner was the juggler in the market scene. He’s a performer still and has agreed to do a book review as well. Also, I contacted The World Circus Federation and have agreed to donate two signed copies for a silent auction in Monaco. I work with Kirsten Cappy of Curious City, http://visitcuriouscity.wordpress.com/ and we have a marketing plan in place as well. Book signings, school visits, and promo events are sure to follow.

3. What are some of the other book titles you've done?
I have a poem in the Sweet Dreams anthology titled Snuggled Child with Blooming Tree Press, illustrated by the fabulous you. Also have a lot of titles in project portfolio of picture books, polished and ready to find a home. Have had a lot of great feedback on several pieces but no additional sales yet, and am presently searching for an agent that will be a good fit both professionally and personally.

4. Can you tell us about any future books that will be released?

Nothing I can share just yet, but some good things are in the works!

Brenda, thank you for taking the time to share your work! To learn more about Brenda visit her site www.brendareevessturgis.com/ .

Saturday, August 20, 2011

Visual Illusion


 It's amazing how contrast and values work in this one.