CURRENT GIVEAWAYS

Here are my current Giveaway Contests

THE LIGHTHOUSE BETWEEN THE WORLDS through November 24th
THE PROPHET CALLS through November 24th
Gratitude Giveaway Hop through November 30th

Upcoming Agent Spotlights and Query Critique Giveaways

Weronika Janczuk Agent Spotlight Interview on 11/26

SHERRY ELLIS INTERVIEW AND BUBBA AND SQUIRT’S BIG DIG TO CHINA


Happy Monday Everyone! Today I’m excited to have author Sherry Ellis here to share about her new MG BUBBA AND SQUIRT’S BIG DIG TO CHINA. It sounds like a great book for younger MG readers with its short chapters and fast-paced plot.

Here’s a blurb from Goodreads


You can’t dig a hole to China!

Squirt doesn’t believe Bubba can dig a hole to China. But when the hole swallows them, the kids find themselves in Xi’an, China, surrounded by Terracotta Warriors.

It gets worse when the ghost of the first emperor of China appears. He tells them they can’t go home until they find his missing pi. The kids don’t know where to begin until they meet a girl and her grandmother who promise to help find the pendant.

Soon they realize they are being followed. And they are no closer to finding the missing pi. Will Bubba and Squirt ever make it back home?

Hi Sherry! Thanks so much for joining us.
Hi, Natalie! Thanks for having me here today.

1. Tell us about yourself and how you became a writer. 

I’ve always enjoyed writing, but I never thought I’d be a published author. The journey started about fourteen years ago, when my daughter was three years old. Her little brother was a terrible sleeper who kept the family up all night. While I was sitting in the rocking chair during those long nights, I came up with a story:  That Baby Woke Me Up, AGAIN! I shared it with my daughter who thought it was good enough to be a book. That got my wheels turning, and the rest is history.

2. Where did you get your idea for BUBBA AND SQUIRT’S BIG DIG TO CHINA?

When I was a kid, I tried to dig a hole to China. Since I lived in Florida at the time, I got nothing but a hole full of water. But I wondered, what could happen if you were able to dig one? Bubba and Squirt’s Big Dig to China explores the possibility.

3. What a fun way to come up with the idea for a book. I love that this is set in Xi’an China because I’m pretty sure my daughter and I went there on a heritage tour of China. What research did you have to do into this location and historical time? 

I knew about the Terracotta Warriors and thought it would be cool to have Bubba and Squirt see them as they emerged from the hole. As far as research goes, I went to the library and read a lot of books about the warriors, Emperor Ch’in Shi Huang-ti, China, and its culture. My mom had taken a trip to Xi’an in 2007. I looked at all her pictures and asked questions about her experience there. By putting it all together, I was able to create the story.   

4. Awesome that your mom went there. Your book has been described as a page turner. Share your tips on how you plotted this out and how you were able to tell a complete story with shorter chapters. 

As I outline a story and do the research, I think about what kind of interesting things can happen in each chapter. I always end the chapter with a cliff-hanger, so readers will want to keep going. My publishing experience has been in writing picture books. When you write those, it’s important to consider every word and tell the story in as few words as possible. So, writing a short story really wasn’t a problem for me. I have more trouble writing longer novels.

5. I agree with you that every word counts in a picture book. I'd have a hard time with that. What was a challenge you faced in writing this story? How did you overcome it? 

Bubba and Squirt’s Big Dig to China takes place in a period of less than twelve hours. The challenge was to come up with enough interesting material to create the story as well as allow readers to get to know and connect with Bubba and Squirt. To overcome these challenges, I had to create subplots and a back story as well as give the characters quirky, distinctive personalities.

6. I believe that you signed your book contract with Dancing Lemur Press through a Twitter contest. Share how your book deal came about. 

Yes. I participated in a Twitter pitch sponsored by the Insecure Writers Support Group. I hadn’t been
submitting the manuscript because I had been working on other picture books. When I saw the pitch, I decided to jump in and see what would happen. Dancing Lemur Press liked my pitch. Following submission instructions, I sent the manuscript. The publisher liked the story but had some suggestions for making it better. I rewrote some things and added a subplot, which gave it more depth. I resubmitted, and it was accepted!

7. For anyone that does not know about The Insecure Writer's Support Group, this is a great resource for you. This is not your first book. Tell us about your writing and publishing career so far. 

My first picture book was published in 2005. Since then, I’ve had three others: That Mama is a Grouch, Ten Zany Birds, and Don’t Feed the Elephant (also released this year). Bubba and Squirt’s Big Dig to China is my first middle-grade book. 

8. How are you promoting this book? What have you learned about publishing over the years from publishing your other books? 

Right now, I’m doing a lot of online promotion, using social media and blog visits. Stage two will be library, bookstore, and school visits. I have found that in-person visits for children’s books works best for getting the word out. I’m hoping to get some good reviews which will also spark some interest. It’s like running a marathon. You can’t peeter out the week after your book is released!

9. What are you working on now? 

I’m working on a possible second book of Bubba and Squirt’s adventures:  Bubba and Squirt’s Mayan Treasure. The first draft has been written. Now I’m revising. I’m hoping the first book does well, so that we can have a second. Or more!

Thanks for sharing all your advice, Sherry. You can find Sherry at Facebook, Twitter, Goodreads, Blog, Website, Amazon Author Page.


Sherry's publisher has generously offered a hardback of BUBBA AND SQUIRT'S BIG DIG TO CHINA 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 November 3rd. If your e-mail is not on your Google Profile, you must leave it in the comments to enter either contest.

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 years old or older to enter. This giveaway is U.S.

Marvelous Middle Grade Monday is hosted by Greg Pattridge. You can find the participating blogs on his blog.

Here's what's coming up:

Monday, October 29th I have an agent spotlight interview with Wendi Gu and a query critique giveaway

Wednesday, November 7th I have an interview with Melanie Crowder and a giveaway of her MG fantasy THE LIGHTHOUSE BETWEEN THE WORLDS and my IWSG post

Monday, November 12th I have an interview with debut author Melanie Sumrow and a giveaway of her MG contemporary THE PROPHET CALLS

Wednesday, November 14th I'm participating in the Gratitude Giveaway Hop

Monday, November 19th I have an interview with debut author Megan England and a giveaway of her YA space opera THE DISASTERS

Monday, November 26th I have an agent spotlight interview with Weronika Janczuk and a query critique giveaway

Hope to see you on Monday!

46 comments:

  1. A #IWSGPit success story! That is awesome.
    Now you need to go to China and see the warriors yourself, Sherry.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I am hoping to get there! I'm glad my mom was able to share all the pictures and information she had.

      Delete
  2. A wonderful insight into how this story came about and the author began her own adventure as a writer.

    ReplyDelete
  3. I can see how writing picture books would make you shine as a writer of novels. I loved her answers in the interview and look forward to reading this fun book.

    ReplyDelete
  4. Thank you for having me as a guest here! I really appreciate it!

    ReplyDelete
  5. A big congrats to Sherry! I love how you came up with the idea for the book.

    ReplyDelete
  6. I truly enjoyed this interview, Sherry and Natalie. I especially love the title of your book, Sherry, because my grandparents used to call my boy cousins Bubba and Squirt until they were young adults! Thanks for sharing your journey with the rest of us for MMGM.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. You're welcome! My kids' nicknames were Bubba and Squirt, too. I wonder how many kids were called that when they were young. Thanks for stopping by!

      Delete
  7. Big Dig to China is a MG not to miss. A classic!

    ReplyDelete
  8. Thank you so much for featuring Sherry and her book today.

    ReplyDelete
  9. That's cool that the story time frame was only 12 hours. A challenge, for sure! Congratulations on the book...getting picked during a Twitter pitch is awesome!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I was shocked! Excited at the same time, too! So happy to finally see this in print. Thanks for stopping by!

      Delete
  10. To keep everything within 12 hours is a challenge! So neat to learn that you were picked up through the pitch party!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. It was a challenge. But I think it worked!

      Delete
  11. A great interview and a wonderful book that middle graders and even older readers should enjoy. Congratulations, Sherry.

    ReplyDelete
  12. What an interesting interview today with Sherry! I'm even more intrigued about her book, which sounds like a great adventure. Love the story time frame of 12 hours -- much to accomplish in that short time.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. It had to move fast in less than 12 hours! Thanks for stopping by!

      Delete
  13. I remember telling my brother we'd dig a hole to China when we were kids and he told me the core was made of molten lava and that pretty much ended my desire to dig to China.

    Best of luck with the story. It sounds like a good one.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I was told that, too. But that didn't stop me. I must have a stubborn streak! :)

      Delete
  14. Growing up, we were always going to dig a hole to China... Love, love, love the title! Wishing you all the best with your new release!

    Shared via twitter: https://twitter.com/linda_lindalou/status/1054700030614007808

    ReplyDelete
  15. Love your research and the whole idea for this MG...I'm anxious to read. Bubba and Squirt will go many places, especially into the hearts of middle-graders. xo

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I hope the kids enjoy Bubba and Squirt's adventure! Thanks for stopping by!

      Delete
  16. Enjoyed the interview and congratulations.

    ReplyDelete
  17. I enjoyed this interview and am excited to read this imaginative book. I shared on tumblr: http://yesreaderwriterpoetmusician.tumblr.com/post/179355718917/sherry-ellis-interview-and-bubba-and-squirts-big

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks for sharing on Tumblr. I appreciate it!

      Delete
  18. Yeah, picture books sure go better with the less as more. Not mouthy like the cat haha Goes to show twitter pitches can work too. Hopefully book two will come due.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I hope there's a book two, too! Very happy about the Twitter pitch. I'm glad I participated.

      Delete
  19. I love the names Bubba and Squirt. That alone would be enough to get my interest. The concept sounds great. I appreciate the interview. I always learn so much from your interviews. Thanks for the post.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks for stopping by, Rosi. I hope kids like the names, too.

      Delete
  20. Great interview, Natalie and Sherry! Can't wait to dig in with my kids!

    ReplyDelete
  21. Fun! We call our oldest grandson Bubba. My dad called his mama Bubbette. So it fit. Congratulations! Sounds like good reading! angelecolline at yahoo dot com Sharing on Twitter.

    ReplyDelete
  22. Hi Natalie, loved Sherry's interview. Her book sounds super interesting. Good luck to Sherry.

    ReplyDelete
  23. Congrats to Sherry. Her book sounds amazing, fun and educational.

    ReplyDelete
  24. Our neighborhood bunch also tried to dig a hole to China! This book would have delighted us no end--and still will. :)

    Since I've won so recently, I'll pass on this giveaway, but thank you both so much for the fun interview!

    ReplyDelete
  25. Thank you, Natalie, for promoting Sherry and her newest book!

    ReplyDelete
  26. Great interview! Thank you! The book looks great and perfect for middle school. I have followed these treasures for years. I am so glad there is a book that includes them.

    ReplyDelete
  27. Wonderful to see Sherry here! I didn't realize (or maybe remember) that she won a Twitter pitch and sent in her manuscript. That's awesome! :) Wishing her all the best.
    ~Jess

    ReplyDelete