Interview with FINDING WILD author, Megan Wagner Lloyd

In a world full of ringing cell phones, honking cars and screaming talk show hosts, what’s a person to do to escape the hubbub and appreciate nature? Read FINDING WILD, the debut picture book from fellow EMU, Megan Wagner Lloyd, that’s what! I was lucky enough to get to chat with Megan about her new book, looking for fairies in the forest, deer dancing in circles and all things wild! 

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JG: What inspired you to write FINDING WILD?

MWL: I’ve always loved spending time outside. Some of my best memories from my childhood include experiences like looking for fairies in the beautiful flower gardens my mom grew, gazing up at the starry sky by the Grand Canyon with my dad, spying on a blue heron that visited a creek behind my house, and walking among the fall colors on the Appalachian trail.

When I had my own kids, I really wanted them to feel connected to the outdoors as well–in big ways, like enjoying hiking and camping and exploring–but also in little ways, like stopping to notice flowers and bugs and just spending time playing outside in the fresh air.

So I think FINDING WILD grew out of my own love for the outdoors and my yearning for my kids, and other kids, to feel the connection and peace and respite that can be found in nature, in what can be a really harsh and stressful world.

Do you have any fun/exciting/scary stories from your own time out in the wild?

One of my favorite fun experiences with the wild lately was when we lived in a rental house right next to a wooded park. We could look right out our back windows at the woods and see red foxes curled up in the sun, white-tailed deer running and eating, the occasional Barred Owl, squirrels and chipmunks dashing around, and many cardinals and other birds. I learned that foxes are usually alone or in pairs, deer sometimes dash around in circles together (I don’t know why!), and chipmunks make a super-cute chirping noise. It was like having a front row seat at a nature show every single day!

One scary thing that happened during that same time was when an absolutely massive tree fell in the middle of the night. It made an incredibly loud rushing and slamming noise, shook our house, and took out several trees on its way down. I woke up thinking that the house was collapsing–that’s how loud and jarring it was (but fortunately it didn’t hit our house!). It was a reminder to me of the raw power of nature.

Were there any major changes from the manuscript you initially submitted to your editor and what we read now? What was the editing process like?

There weren’t any huge changes, but lots and lots of little ones. We shifted some of the lines and were very deliberate about the word choices. Working with my editor, Julia Maguire, was great, because she’s awesome, and she had a wonderful vision for the book from the beginning.

Abigail Halpin’s illustrations are gorgeous and really make you feel like you are out in the wild. What went through your mind when you first saw her illustrations accompanying your words?

YAYYYYY!!!!

But, really, from the first moment I saw Abigail’s initial sketches, I knew I was going to adore her illustrations for FINDING WILD. I absolutely LOVE her work and am so thrilled to be working with her on a second book, FORT-BUILDING TIME, which will come out in the fall of 2017, also with Knopf/Random House. I’ve already seen some sketches for that one, and had a similar YAYYYYY!!!! reaction!

I loved when Elaine Vickers asked this question of Pat Zietlow Miller in a previous EMU’s Debuts interview, so I’m going to steal this question from her:) Finish this sentence: the perfect reader for this book would be…

Anyone who needs the magic of the outdoors in their life (so pretty much everyone!).

 

FINDING WILD releases on May 10th from Knopf/Random House. You can find it at IndieBoundBarnes & NobleAmazon, or your favorite bookstore!

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IMG_2512 - WEBJason Gallaher is a picture book and middle grade writer who loves to create stories that mix the flamboyantly whacky with the slightly dark. His debut picture book, WHOBERT WHOVER, OWL DETECTIVE, releases in Summer 2017 from Margaret K. McElderry Books/Simon & Schuster. When not writing, Jason zips between Los Angeles, California and Austin, Texas. His favorite experiences in the wild include unearthing stegosaurus fossils in Wyoming, handing out snacks to pigs on Pig Island, and swimming in the ocean hoping to run into mermaids. Jason is a self-described Hufflepuff, and he is actively looking for an Andalite friend. Anjelica Huston, if you’re reading this, let’s grab coffee. (Photo Cred: David-Gabe Photography)

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A Week of Kids, Kids, Kids

Last week was action-packed for me – a writer whose usual day consists of trips to Starbucks, the library, the grocery and periodic lunches or dinners out with my husband and/or friends. On Tuesday, I drove 180 miles round-trip to and from a school author visit. I have no clue about how this principal stumbled across my web site, but I am glad she did. It was a long but fulfilling day spent with lively students. They were great listeners, excellent questioners, and good readers who laughed in all the right places at my PowerPoint presentation about my books, Seeds, Bees, Butterflies, and More! Poems for Two Voices (for grades 3-5) and Little Red Bat (for grades K and 1).

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The older kids were excited to step up to the microphone in pairs to read my poems aloud. The younger ones were fascinated by my slide show about the amazing characteristics of red bats, and the devotion of the man featured in my presentation who feeds and rehabilitates injured bats before releasing them.  The little kids also loved petting my life-size little red bat puppet. Later, using my lesson extension activities, all the students worked with their teachers on brainstorming and writing their own (non-rhyming) butterfly and bat poems.

On Friday, I spent the morning with a group of kindergarteners celebrating Earth Day at Stratford Nature Preserve, a 200-acre working farm where I volunteer one morning a week. It was a dreary, muddy, sloppy day. But that didn’t stop us from pulling on our boots and planting a tree before moving onto other adventures:  visiting the new piglets, tossing bread to the fish in the pond, playing on a makeshift teeter-totter, and petting the baby goats. IMG_0912

Saturday was the Ohioana Book Fair downtown, where 120 Ohio writers and illustrators who’ve had books published in the current year gather to sign and sell their wares, serve on panels, and meet our readers. I sold a fair number of books, met the Cincinnati illustrator of my book, The Twelve Days of Christmas in Ohio, and shared a table with a woman who illustrated my Little Red Bat and Annie Jump Cannon, Astronomer books. Despite editors attempts to keep us from directly communicating while the books were in progress, we became friends and have kept in touch via email. We hadn’t spent time together in two years, though, so it was fun to spend eight full hours catching up.

We even found time to befriend a large mouse. Not sure whose book he was attached to, but he was certainly photogenic!IMG_0913 It was also fun to meet in person the parents and teachers who buy my books and the children who read them. After thumbing through the five titles on my table, a grandmother bought Tuck-in-Time for her toddler grandchild who has night terrors. She felt the loving words spoken by the mother in my book, that ends with a goodnight kiss, would help make bedtime less of a struggle.   

Please understand that the purpose of this post is not to talk about myself. (Since I’m the writer I know best, it is – by necessity – all about moi.) The point is that all of us need to be reminded that our work matters. Whether our books are funny or heartfelt, true or figments of our imaginations, adults are reading them to young children and older children are reading them for themselves.  Now and again, it’s nice for introverted writers to meet and greet our “peeps.” It makes all those hours of sitting alone and thinking, writing, and revising (and revising some more) worthwhile.

 

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Thanks

I have been an emu now for almost three years. (This comment would need considerable clarification if made in any other venue.) So I’ve had plenty of time to say the things I wanted to say about this space in the publishing journey between contract and actual published book.

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Wait, she’s been a what?

Except for one thing and that is how grateful I feel to be working in this industry. Yes, it has oddities (not a few) and frustrations. But it also has some beautiful benefits. I’m grateful to work with people who value creativity and collaboration. I’m grateful to work with people who care about words and kids.

 

Emu’s Debuts is one of those groups that has an expiration date built in. Once you’ve published that first book, you’re no longer a debut author. So while I’ll still be around cheering on the books that are coming (because, oh, I so love some of these books that are coming), I won’t be here in the day to day way that I have been in the past couple of years. As I’ve thought about leaving, there are a few things that I’d like to thank the rest of this Emu mob for.

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Thanks for the fun. From going all out opera to celebrate Adi Rule’s debut to taking Tara Dairman’s character Gladys out to lunch to calling a number in Switzerland hoping to interview the lovely Anne Wilsdorf (and hoping that whoever answered the phone would have more English than I had French), there have been a lot of moments that were just fun. Those of you who read the blog, sometimes get to see the some of the fun in the post but a lot of it is backstage. And I value the backstage moments the most.

 

Thanks for the books. It has been so much fun to get the ARCs and F&Gs of new Emu books in the mail. I’ve read and loved books that I might never have picked up otherwise. I have my often visited shelves of the library but sometimes I need to branch out a bit. It’s been a pleasure to do that as books of fellow Emus arrived in the mail in the weeks before their launches. I’ll miss that. But I plan on actively looking for them as they’re published. So keep me posted.

 

Thanks for the honesty. It was so refreshing to be able to ask all the newbie questions in this group (everything from “is it normal for a contract to take this long” to “where is the best place to get bookmarks” to questions about craft) and always have them answered with both kindness and honesty.

 

Kindness, creativity, honesty, fun. Can’t really beat that.

 

 

 

Mylisa Larsen has been telling stories for a long time. This has caused her to get gimlet-eyed looks from her parents, her siblings and, later, her own children when they felt that certain stories had been embellished beyond acceptable limits. She now writes children’s books where her talents for hyperbole are actually rewarded.

She is the author of the picture books, Instructions for Bedtime (Katherine Tegen Books) and If I Were A Kangaroo (Viking.)

You can visit her online at http://mylisalarsen.com

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Writing for Charity: Refugee Benefit Auction

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The kidlit community is incredibly talented and endlessly generous, and when those two forces come together, remarkable things happen. In 2012, authors, agents, and editors donated to KidLit Cares (led by Kate Messner and Joanne Levy) and raised over $60,000 for the Superstorm Sandy relief effort. I was fortunate enough to win a critique in that auction from author Julie Berry, and her feedback still guides my revision process to this day–and led to multiple offers of representation within a few months.

Now there’s another opportunity to join together and do something spectacular for people in need, with possible side effects that will greatly benefit your writing.

When authors Shannon Hale and Mette Ivie Harrison (who already run the Writing for Charity conference each spring) asked for donations to an auction to benefit refugees, the response was huge. The result: amazing. Click here (or the image above) to see all the awesome.

You could win countless critiques from top-notch authors, editors, and agents–including query and 10-page critiques from our own agent extraordinaire, Ammi-Joan Paquette. Drinks with Lemony Snicket. A writing retreat for you and four friends in a gorgeous mountain home, with visits from Shannon Hale and Ally Condie. You could be murdered in a book by international bestseller Dan Wells. The list goes on and on and on! There are plenty of budget-friendly items too. The author critiques in auctions like these are incredibly helpful and such a great value.

I’m thrilled to be part of this auction on both ends. I’ve donated a signed ARC of my debut, LIKE MAGIC, as well as a query and first chapter critique. But I’m definitely bidding too, and I’m sneaky and very competitive. You’ve been warned.

Of course, the very best part of all this is that 100% of the proceeds go to Lifting Hands International, a charity that gets life-saving supplies directly to refugee camps. So please, bid/give generously, and good luck! Unless, of course, you’re bidding against me.:)

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profile picElaine Vickers is the author of LIKE MAGIC (HarperCollins, October 2016) and loves writing middle grade and chapter books when she’s not teaching college chemistry or hanging out with her fabulous family. She’s a member of SCBWI and represented by Ammi-Joan Paquette of EMLA. You can find her at elainevickers.com on the web,@ElaineBVickers on Twitter, Pinterest, and Instagram, or generally anywhere there are books and/or food for her consumption.

 

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Nervouscited!

I’m about to turn in my final manuscript to my editor so we can go off to copy-edits. Which means this is it. This is the last time I can make significant changes. After this point, my book is pretty much done.

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…WHAT?!?!

Okay, so I thought I’d already come to terms with the fact that I’m going to be published, and therefore people (real people–people I don’t know and who aren’t in the industry) are going to read my words.

I was wrong.

PEOPLE ARE GOING TO READ MY BOOK, YOU GUYS! This is happening!

There is only one way to describe how I feel, and it’s best summed up by Pinkie Pie. (Yes, I use a lot of My Little Pony references in my blog posts. This is how my brain works, if you haven’t yet noticed.)

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I’m nervouscited.

As Pinkie Pie explains, “It’s like you want to jump up and down and yell YAY ME! But you also want to curl up in a teeny tiny ball and hide at the same time.”

I’ve tried to think up other things in my life–more normal things–to compare this moment to, in order to help my friends and family understand what exactly is going through my mind right now. But I can’t. There’s just nothing like it.

In a matter of days, a book I’ve worked on for four years is going to go off to be finalized, and I won’t be able to play with its pieces any longer. All I’ll be able to do is maybe make a few last tweaks to wording. All the major stuff is in its final form.

And people are going to read it.

Yes, nervouscited is the right word for me right now. It probably will remain the right word up until when my book launches next year. Probably past that, too. Maybe forever? Maybe this is what it feels like to be an author?

Excuse me, I think I need to find some chocolate.


Katie Slkatiemarsivensky’s debut novel (THE COUNTDOWN CONSPIRACY) tells the story of a 13 year-old robotics whiz who is thrilled to be chosen to train for an international mission to Mars, but soon finds herself and her fellow cadets in a situation far more dire and deadly than any of them could have imagined. Publication is set for Summer 2017 with HarperCollins Children’s.

Katie is a science educator at the Museum of Science in Boston, where she coordinates school visits, does live presentations, and runs the rooftop observatory program. With an academic background in paleontology and zoology, she only began dabbling in astronomy when she joined the Museum in 2009. It soon became a major passion, and spilled straight over into her writing life.

Katie lives in a suburb of Boston with her two completely absurd cats, Galileo and Darwin. She is represented by Ammi-Joan Paquette.

Visit Katie on Twitter (@paleopaws) or at her website, www.katieslivensky.com.

 

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Connecting Beyond the Page

Some say writing is a solitary sport. But, I wholeheartedly disagree. While I may create, revise, delete and rewrite at my computer by myself, well with my beagle Lucy sleeping under my chair, I have never felt alone. That’s the funny thing about writing for kids.  Along the road to YES, I’ve happily become a part of an amazing community. It’s filled with people who are gracious, smart, kind, and genuine. From my EMLA agency family, to my VCFA writing retreat gang, to my Sweet 16ers, writing friends, book journey educators, teachers, and librarians, I feel wholly grounded and connected. This community offers inspiration, guidance and encouragement. Sometimes they don’t even realize the impact or reach of their kindness. Often their gracious sentiments lead to a happy dance replete with hopping feet, swaying arms and bobbing head!  This group of amazing talent fills my community, my writing world.  So even when I’m sitting at my desk writing in my office, I’m never truly alone.

Love my community!

This sense of connection and belonging transcends the page. While we, as writers, need to connect with our characters and our story, we also need to connect with readers and educators and each other. We need to know who’s got our back. We need to know who will bring ice-cream when it’s the worst-kind-of-day and who will cheer the loudest when a woo-hoo moment requires celebration. I imagine this sense of belonging is of equal importance to our readers. The kids, just like those of us who write for them,  need to know they’re part of something bigger then themselves.  Community is the safety net that grounds us, refuels us, inspires us. It’s strong, well-woven and unconditional. The page may be where it starts, but that is just the beginning.

So to my writing community (and of course the family and friends who make up my life community), I just want to say thank you for never letting alone ever feel lonely.

 

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IMG_9552  Elly Swartz is a middle-grade author whose debut novel, FINDING PERFECT, comes out October, 18, 2016 (FSG). FINDING PERFECT is a middle grade story about a twelve-year-old girl named Molly, friendship, family, betrayal, OCD, and a slam poetry competition that will determine everything. It took thirteen years, numerous drafts, many Twizzlers, loads of hugs, and much unconditional love, to find her way to YES. Through the years, Elly’s been a Sesame Place ride operator, messenger, lawyer, legal author, and college essay adviser. She lives in Brookline, Massachusetts with her husband, two sons and beagle named Lucy. If you want to connect with Elly or learn more about what she’s working on next, you can find her at www.ellyswartz.com, on Twitter @ellyswartz or Facebook.

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The Joy of Having A Literary Family

Golly. It felt like just yesterday that I was invited to join the EMUs Debuts group. Within these walls I’ve found support, comfort, wisdom, and joy. I am so lucky.

There’s no greater gift for a writer than the gift of colleagues. The writing life is lonely – it’s a solitary profession, with much angst and middle-of-the-night worries. When I’m writing, I am isolated in my little bubble. Sure, I’m in the company of characters, but they are usually misfits – misguided creatures who are trying to find their way out of sometimes dreadful circumstances. Sitting back in my chair to take a breather makes me realize just how isolated I am.

But I’m not truly isolated when I have friends like the friends I have here.download

If you are just starting out on the path to publication I strongly encourage you to find a group like this one. There are many out there: through SCBWI, through independent groups on Facebook, through your grad program (mine is Vermont College of Fine Arts), through your local writing connections, through debut author collectives. Join. Commiserate. Share. Support. You’ll thank your lucky stars.

Which is what I’m doing right now – thanking all of you here who have given me so much.


 

IMG_8226bJanet Fox is the author of the recently released THE CHARMED CHILDREN OF ROOKSKILL CASTLE (Viking). Find more about her at www.janetsfox.com

 

 

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Loving Your Literary Litter

Here’s the truth of it: The manuscript you first write may not be the exact same manuscript that convinces an agent to represent you. The “I-got-an-agent” manuscript may not be precisely the same manuscript that the two of you sell to a publisher. The “I-got-a-book-deal” manuscript will likely not be the manuscript that eventually ends up as a book on a proper shelf in a proper bookstore.

These manuscripts will be similar. Oh, yes. They will be similar.  Many of the words will be the same. The narrative structure might even be the same. Of course, the living, beating heart of the story that gave it a chance in the first place will be the same. But as the manuscript evolves, what initially seemed like one beautiful and stalwart dog…

Golden

becomes more like a litter of puppies. Where-to-get-a-golden-retriever-puppy

I hereby give you permission to love them all. You may love the brand-new one, all sweetly damp with its eyes sealed shut. You may love the one that snores while it sleeps with its tummy full of milk. It might not be the liveliest, but it sure is cute! You may love the one that’s starting to show some personality, that scampers around and nips just a little too hard with its razor-sharp puppy teeth. You may and you should love them all.

But unless you’re going to be some kind of puppy hoarder—which doesn’t serve you or your plentiful puppies—

puppy attack

You get to keep only one. That’s right. One.

You’re not going to make this choice by yourself. Others will be involved. The potential puppy’s vet. The potential puppy’s trainer. They will look at all the puppies in the litter, tumbling about and tearing the place up, and they will help you decide on one.

Wait. We’re not talking about a *real* puppy. We’re talking about YOUR BOOK. The others involved will be your trusty agent and editor.

Secret Agent

But back to puppies.

Bit by bit, the right puppy will emerge. It will distinguish itself from its littermates. It will mature, develop manners, learn not to jump on guests. Its essential sense of self will be cultivated, its strengths enhanced. It will be groomed until it shines like a shiny, shiny show dog.

Groomed

(Dog geek alert: I’m pretty sure this is an English Toy Spaniel. The muzzle looks too pushed-in for a Cavalier King Charles Spaniel. Feel free to weigh in.)

It will be ready to strut its stuff in front of the whole world and make you proud. Griffon

And your puppy-love will deepen into true love.Jenna Marbles

Remember, none of this happens by accident. Without long walks, lots of attention, some sleepless nights, and consistent discipline, your book-puppy will never become all it’s meant to be.

And it’s meant to be nothing less than a champion.

Best In Show

I look back fondly at my many versions of BABYMOON. They still have all their puppyish charm for me. The earliest is spare yet lyrical. Later ones are more developed, with complete sentences and a more varied rhythm. The final, more nuanced version is quite different from its siblings, and yet it bears a strong resemblance to all of them. I guess you could say it’s the pick of the litter.

Enjoy the day.

Hayley

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I write for young people and live to make kids laugh. My debut picture book, BABYMOON, is coming from Candlewick Press. Come hang out with me on Twitter @hayleybwrites, Facebook, or in the meadow: http://hayleybarrettwrites.wordpress.com

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Work/Work/Life Balance

While on the phone with my sister the other day, I listed off all the writing-related things I need to get done this month and next.

“So you basically have two full time jobs right now, huh?” was her response.

I laughed. But in reality…yes. Yes I do.

I’ve had two jobs for a while now. I’d say since around 2010, when I joined my critique group and began putting in 15-20 hours a week towards publishing-related efforts. Now that I’m on my way to being published, the responsibilities, deadlines, and time commitments have greatly increased. Additionally, after many years of putting in the time, I’m starting to get paid for my writing work. Writing at this point is most definitely, by anyone’s definition, a job.

Which is pretty cool.

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But like many writers, I have another job. The “Day Job”. The one that takes up the vast majority of my time Monday-Friday. I enjoy this job and have no plans to abandon it, even if it was financially feasible to do so (which, for the record, it would not be). However, this does leave me in an odd position. How can a person achieve a work/life balance when their “life” side is taken up by more work?

I wish this blog post could provide an easy answer for anyone reading it, but in reality, there is no simple solution.

The best I can say is what I’ve managed to figure out thus far:

  1. You need to make time to relax. If you don’t, you end up hurting yourself. (See my first EMU post, where I talk about my 2015 bought of pneumonia.) Identify something that makes you smile and relieves tension, and make sure to include it in your day, every day, as much as you can. Is it a good book? A TV show? Games with friends or family? Long walks with your dog? Whatever it is, don’t let that part of your life go when you get busy. It’s necessary!
  2. Learn to compartmentalize tasks. You can’t get a revision done when worrying about a grant you’re writing at your day job, and vice versa. This is particularly challenging for me. Shifting my focus takes a lot of effort, and a lot of coffee.
  3. Forgive yourself for not being able to do it all. You can’t! You’re leading essentially two lives, two careers. Learn to say no and not feel guilty for it. You aren’t turning down work and tasks because you’re lazy. You’re doing so because you’re already booked up. There is a HUGE difference. Donna Janell Bowman had a great post related to this a few weeks ago.
  4. Be honest with friends and family. There are people you love who, frankly, aren’t going to see you as much as you or they would like. This is the cost of juggling two careers. But if you’re honest, feelings won’t be hurt so much, and those who are close to you should understand how important this all is to you.

I would give further advice, but honestly, I’m still figuring it out myself! Perfecting the work/work/life balance is going to require more experimentation and practice, that’s for sure. Perhaps I’ll report back in a year with an update on this topic. Oh–one final thing that definitely helps is to identify people to lean on for emotional support. For me, that’s my parents, sister, friends, and my amazing critique group. I couldn’t do what I do without them.

garfield exhausted

Here’s to everyone who is balancing two careers, writing and otherwise. Here’s to everyone who’s balancing writing with raising kids. Here’s to everyone who’s balancing multiple careers AND kids. Let’s face it. We’re all exhausted. It’s okay to talk about that. The more we do, the more solutions we can come up with to better factor in the “life” side of our personal, incredibly busy equations.


 

Katie Slkatiemarsivensky’s debut novel (THE COUNTDOWN CONSPIRACY) tells the story of a 13 year-old robotics whiz who is thrilled to be chosen to train for an international mission to Mars, but soon finds herself and her fellow cadets in a situation far more dire and deadly than any of them could have imagined. Publication is set for Summer 2017 with HarperCollins Children’s.

Katie is a science educator at the Museum of Science in Boston, where she coordinates school visits, does live presentations, and runs the rooftop observatory program. With an academic background in paleontology and zoology, she only began dabbling in astronomy when she joined the Museum in 2009. It soon became a major passion, and spilled straight over into her writing life.

Katie lives in a suburb of Boston with her two completely absurd cats, Galileo and Darwin. She is represented by Ammi-Joan Paquette.

Visit Katie on Twitter (@paleopaws) or on her personal blog, Discoverific.

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Who, Who’s Excited?!

Ooooh, it’s happening! It’s finally happening! I can officially announce that my debut picture book, WHOBERT WHOVER, OWL DETECTIVE, will be released by Margaret K. McElderry Books/Simon & Schuster in the summer of 2017. Here’s the announcement:

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You can’t believe how hard it’s been not to scream and shout all about this. Trish called me about this deal one year and three days ago (I may or may not have been counting). The anticipation to spread the news has had me like this:

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But now I finally get to be like this:

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Let me take you back to the time when I got the call. It was early in the A.M., and I was doing my usual morning reading routine in my fluffy white robe embroidered with a gold “J” (similar to the get-ups Laverne and Shirley wore).  It takes me a bit to wake up, so reading helps me get all my juices a-flowin’. I was still in my semi-groggy reading state when I get a call from “Tricia Awesome Agent Lawrence” (this is how I have Trish listed in my cellphone). The call instantly made me perk up.

Me: “Gooooood morning!”

Trish: “Guess what?”

Me: “What? What? What?”

Trish: “We just sold WHOBERT!”

Me:

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Needless to say, I was Ex. Ci. Ted.

Here’s to many more robe-wearing, yelling-so-loud-your-throat-gets-hoarse good news for all us EMUs (and all writers everywhere!) in the future!

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IMG_2512 - WEBJason Gallaher is a picture book and middle grade writer who loves to create stories that mix the flamboyantly whacky with the slightly dark. His debut picture book, WHOBERT WHOVER, OWL DETECTIVE, releases in Summer 2017 from Margaret K. McElderry Books. When not writing, Jason zips between Los Angeles, California and Austin, Texas. He loves creating punny names for cars and dogs, and often goes for midnight rides in his Fiat, Sofiat Vercara, with his Pomeranian, Pom Brokaw. Jason is a self-described Hufflepuff, and he is actively looking for an Andalite friend. If you know Anjelica Huston, please contact him immediately. (Photo Cred: David-Gabe Photography)

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