CURRENT GIVEAWAY CONTESTS
Here are my current Giveaway Contests
THE PRINCESS AND THE PAGE through April 22nd
Natalie Lakosil Query Critique and THE STAR THIEF through April 22nd
Happy Easter Giveaway Hop through April 30th
Tracy Marchini Query Critique through April 29th
THE WINGSNATCHERS through May 4th
Lauren Spieller Query Critique through May 13th
Upcoming Agent Spotlights and Query Critique Giveaways
Loren Oberweger on 5/10/2017
Alyssa Jennette on 5/24/2017
Bibi Lewis on 6/12/2017
Kelly Van Sant on 6/21/2017
KELLY POLARK INTERVIEW AND ROCK 'N' ROLL PRINCESSES WEAR BLACK AND IT’S ALL ABOUT GRATITUDE BLOG HOP
Hi Everyone! I’ve got lots going on today. First I’m participating in Sheri Larsen’s IT’S ALL ABOUT GRATITUDE BLOG HOP. If you don’t follow Sheri’s blog, you can find her fantastic blog HERE. Sheri shared a video on how to be truly happy and asked that blog hop participants share how it affected them.
The video talks about one of the keys to being truly happy in this stressful world is to be grateful. And I think that is so true. I have a lot of challenges in life—my only sister died from cancer, my husband almost died in a strange town the same year, he has a chronic, life threatening disease that limits significantly what he can do, and I face a job loss this year—are a few. But over the years, I’ve been struck with there are always things to be grateful for and ways to look at our situations in a positive fashion. Like my husband’s health amazingly is getting a bit better and he’s still alive. And I’m hoping a great, less stressful job will open up once I get laid off this year.
We’ll always have hard challenges at various times in life. But being grateful for all the blessings we have can really make the difference in how we handle them and staying happy in general.
Today I’m excited to have follower and friend Kelly Polark here to share about her new MG contemporary story ROCK 'N' ROLL PRINCESSES WEAR BLACK that releases in a few weeks. Kelly is also the author of three picture books, ROCKABET, HOLD THE MUSTARD, and BIG SISTER, BABY BROTHER. Kelly’s new story sounds like a fantastic contemporary story that I think many of you would really enjoy. I’m looking forward to reading it too.
Here’s a blurb about ROCK ‘N’ ROLL PRINCESSES WEAR BLACK:
When classmates tease her about her clothes and even double dare her to (gasp!) wear another color, Stef decides a minor makeover may be in order. Can Stef change for others and still stay true to herself?
Hi Kelly. Thanks so much for joining us.
1. Tell us about yourself and how you became a writer.
Well, I’m a married mom of three. I used to teach third grade until I had my first child. I was a stay at home mom for 11 years and felt like I needed a creative outlet. I love books as a teacher, mom, and reader, so I decided to take some online writing classes. I also started attending local SCBWI meetings and went from there!
2. I bet being a teacher really helped you in your writing. Where did you get your idea for your story? And I know you love music. How did you combine that love with this story?
I love rock music, and I want people of all ages to become familiar with cool bands. So I came up with the idea of a middle grade with a rocker edge. Rock clothing is popular for kids. Music oriented TV shows are popular. I hope kids find this book a whole lot of fun, too.
3. So true that music plays a bit role in middle grade kids’ lives. Voice is so important in middle grade stories. Did Stefani’s voice come to you or did you have to work to get it right? Do you have any tips on nailing a middle grade voice?
Stefani’s voice did just come to me, but when I wrote this, my kids were watching Disney and
4. What was most challenging craft-wise in writing this story—setting, plot, character development, or voice—and what did you learn from working through your challenge?
I think plot might have been the hardest to work through. I had a few agents give me good advice on how to make the plot bigger and the story more fluid. I actually wrote this as a chapter book, and an agent suggested I change it into a middle grade. Her advice was spot on!
5. That’s awesome how agent advice helped you and that it resulted in your chapter book expanding to be a middle grade novel. Stefani sounds like a cool kid. And I’m sure kids will relate to her love of wearing one color. I remember when my own daughter would only wear blue. Share a bit about her as a character.
Stefani’s dad and cousin are in a local cover band so she is in on the rock ‘n’ roll scene a bit. Stef loves to wear black because of that rocker edge, but also because it’s easy to just wear one color. She likes school and feels a bit betrayed when some friends start badgering her about it.
6. She sounds really cool. Tell us about your path to publication and why you chose going that route.
I submitted this story to agents at first. Many agents requested fulls. One asked for revisions after the full, but the agent thing didn’t quite work out. I knew it was a good story, and I knew it was in a niche market that isn’t really represented, so I decided to publish with my new press to share the story.
7. Sorry getting an agent didn’t work out but it’s awesome how close you got. And glad you realized that your book needed to be published. You publish under your own press, Big Smile Press, LLC. Why did you decide to set up your own press versus publishing under your author name and what was the process like?
I guess you would call me a hybrid author as two of my picture books are through Meegenius. But this business is very subjective and publishers accept only so many books. With self publishing being so popular now (and profitable for some friends), I decided to go for it and put my publishing career in my own hands where I can be in more control. Having my own business is a lot of work, so I am still open to publishing some of my stories with traditional publishers and publishing others on my own. There’s only so much time in the day!
8. I know what you mean about only being able to squeeze so much into the day. I know you’ve gone back to work full-time and have a family. Share your tips on also being productive in your writing and publishing career.
I don’t stress myself about writing (unless there is a true deadline). I work all day in an early childhood classroom then I chauffeur my three kids to all their activities in the afternoon and evenings. I fit in writing and the business side of Big Smile Press when I can. Mostly after 9pm! Summers off help, too!
9. That’s a great attitude toward writing. I don’t stress about mine as much either. I just do what I can with working and the chauffeuring and volunteering duties that come with being a mom. What are you working on now?
Right now I am working on marketing ROCK ‘N’ ROLL PRINCESSES WEAR BLACK. Next, I want to work on another picture book that I am excited about. After that, I want to finish another middle grade novel that I started a few years ago but never finished. So many ideas, so little time.
Thanks for sharing all your advice, Kelly. You can find Kelly at:
Her blog: Kelly Polark http://www.kpolark.blogspot.com
Her celebrity book recommendation site: BOOK RECS OF THE ROCK AND FAMOUS http://www.bookrecsthatrock.blogspot.com
Kelly has generously offered a signed copy of ROCK 'N' ROLL PRINCESSES WEAR BLACK for a giveaway. To enter, all you need to do is be a follower (just click the follow button if you’re not a follower) and leave a comment through March 15th. I’ll announce the winner on March 17th. If your e-mail is not on your Google Profile, please leave it in the comments.
If you mention this contest on Twitter, Facebook, or your blog, mention this in the comments and I'll give you an extra entry. You must be 13 or older to enter. International entries are welcome.
Here’s what’s coming up:
On Friday I’ll be participating in the Lucky is Reading Giveaway Hop. I’ll have lots of new YA releases to choose from.
Next Monday I’m interviewing debut author Christina Farley and giving away a copy of GILDED, her fantastic YA contemporary fantasy set in Korea. You really felt like you were there and I really loved this page-turner.
The following Monday I’m interviewing debut author Kristi Helvig and giving away an ARC of BURN OUT, her YA sci-fi story. It’s a great story set on Earth about Tora, who may be the only person on Earth, who really needs to leave and has to decide if she can trust the people who come knocking on her door.
Wednesday that week I’m interviewing Susan Quinn and giving away a copy of FAERY SWAP, her fantastic new MG fantasy I really enjoyed and THIRD DAUGHTER, her NA steampunk fantasy that sounds really good. Susan is a successful self-published author and she has lots of advice to share with us all.
And don’t forget Casey’s Agent Spotlights.
Hope to see you on Friday!
Posted by Natalie Aguirre on Wednesday, March 05, 2014