I have been invited to participate in a blog hop called The Next Big Thing in which I answer 10 questions about my upcoming book then tag 5 other authors to do the same. Helen Maryles Shankman, tagged me. She is an amazing classic painter and brilliant writer. As a child of Holocaust survivors, Helen’s fiction reflects her family’s harrowing experience, but her stories are told with a unique twist. Please visit Helen at the link above to read about her fascinating new novel, Underpainting.
And now for something totally different :-):
What is the working title of your book?
Little Miss Muffet
Where did the idea come from for the book?
In my husband’s van as we drove up to Maine for our August vacation. There is something about being stuck in a car for nine hours that gets the creative juices flowing. As often happens, I brainstorm on one idea and another one pops to mind. Putting aside my version of The Farmer in the Dell, with which I’d been struggling, I looked through my nursery rhyme collections, imagining plots for various rhymes and suddenly, out of nowhere, I had a storyline for Little Miss Muffet. This happens to me time and again. I guess my muse likes road trips too :-).
You might enjoy my post about ruminating on the road: Driven to Write.
What genre does your book fall under?
Picture book for ages 4-8
Which actors would you choose to play your characters in a movie rendition?
Oh we can dream, can’t we? Actually, I am not too familiar with child actors, so I can not really answer this question, but I can show you what Little Miss Muffet looks like, and maybe you can pick an actress. (Please keep in mind that this is not a high res, high quality scan and colors and vibrancy are not as rich and true as in original art. Plus art is work in progress and may be revised) :
Spiders are not the only creatures to scare skittish Miss Muffet.
Will your book be self-published or represented by an agency?
I am very lucky to be represented by Jennifer Weltz of the great Jean V. Naggar Literary agency JVNLA (of which Helen, above, is a fellow author). The book will be out in fall 2013, published by Sky Pony Press.
How long did it take you to write the first draft of your manuscript?
A few days for the first draft, a few more days of revision on my own, and a few more days of fine tuning with my editor. But we are talking about a 245 word story.
What other books would you compare this story to within your genre?
Certainly all my other nursery rhyme extension like The Bear Went Over the Mountain or The Itsy Bitsy Spider, which share the same structure. Other authors’ retellings of traditional rhymes, like Mary Ann Hoberman’s The Eensy Weensy Spider would be somewhat comparable.
Who or What inspired you to write this book?
Really the book is autobiographical. I am an avid nature and animal lover, but I am extremely jittery, racing away and screaming bloody murder at the sight of a spider or a mouse or …. My husband and dog are so immune to my outbursts that they don’t even respond anymore. I may be in real trouble someday and get no help!
What else about your book might pique the reader’s interest?
I hope preschool teachers will appreciate my use of positional and directional words (up, down, over, under…) in the story. I also hope readers will enjoy my colorful illustrations, the expressions on Miss Muffet’s face and the funny juxtaposition of the prissy Victorian Miss and her increasing scares and dishevelment.