Sunday, April 28, 2013

The Next Big Thing

The Next Big Thing is a blog hop that was started in Australia and has gone global. The object is to bring awareness to authors and illustrators and their current work. Thank you, Leeza Hernandez, for tagging me! I'll answer the 10 questions about my next children's book and then tag another author/illustrator to answer these questions about her newest book. Here goes...

1) What is the working title of your next book?
PENGUIN CHA-CHA. It's available for pre-order from Random House (or Barnes & Noble, Amazon, or your favorite indie bookstore).

2) Where did the idea come from for the book?
I had drawn an illustration years ago of dancing penguins for my portfolio. I used to be in a performance and competition dance group and I like penguins, so I had combined the two for that sample piece. Numerous editors and art directors asked if I had a story to go along with that sample illustration. I said yes. Then I wrote story after story about dancing penguins. Some of my stories were good, but not great enough to be published by a major publisher. It took years and lots of critiques before I got the writing part right. In the case of this book, the illustrations came first before the writing.

3) What genre does your book fall under?
It's a funny picture book.

4) What actors would you choose to play the part of your characters in a movie rendition?
The little girl, Julia, could be played by my dancing daughter in another couple years, and I think Dreamworks would need to handle the penguins unless you know of some quite talented penguins.

5) What is the one-sentence synopsis of your book?
Follow a determined girl named Julia as she tries to join in the fun of a mischevious group of dancing penguins.

6) Who is publishing your book?
Random House Children's Books

7) How long did it take you to write the first draft of the manuscript?
I first drew dancing penguins in 2007. Writing the first draft of a dancing penguin story was quick, but then came complete rewrites with entirely different plots. This version was acquired in 2011 by Random House after an editor saw an illustration of my dancing penguins on my website and asked if I would submit my dummy to him. It will be published in August, 2013.

8) What other books would you compare this story to within your genre?
Dancing animal theme: Hilda Must Be Dancing and Prancing Dancing Lily
Penguin theme: One Cool Friend and Lost and Found

9) Who or what inspired you to write this book?
For years I performed and competed in a swing and Latin dance group called The Fourth Street Alley Cats. I loved it! Since being in that group inspired me to draw and write about dancing, I included my dance group in the first spread of the book.

10) What else about the book might pique the reader's interest?
Illustrators often put small personal touches in the illustrations that most people aren't aware of. I always stick a mouse, monkey, or hippo in each of my books. You'll find all three in this book if you search. For the random background people at the zoo in my illustrations for this book, I used a lot of my friends and family. Maybe you should become a close friend to a children's book illustrator and see if you end up in a book!

Now that I've answered, I'm tagging:
Angela Dominguez, the talented author/illustrator of LET'S GO, HUGO!