THE MONSTORE launch party continues with agent Ammi-Joan Paquette!

Today we’re welcoming Ammi-Joan Paquette, the agent who sold THE MONSTORE, to do a guest post on what originally got her excited about the manuscript, and what makes it a successful debut picture book. Welcome, Joan!Ammi-Joan Paquette

LAT: THE MONSTORE is Tara’s debut book. Was it also the first manuscript you saw from Tara?

AJP: Yes! Tara queried me with this picture book, also mentioning that she had several other projects in the works. I read and loved THE MONSTORE, and asked Tara if any of her other works were complete and available to send me. She did! The more I read, the more I loved Tara’s effusive writing, dynamic characters, and wildly inventive imagination. I was hooked.

LAT: What was it about THE MONSTORE that really made you sit up and take notice?

AJP: I think THE MONSTORE is the definition of high-concept. Right from the title you know that you are in for something really special—and then the story itself delivers on every level. Tara takes an out-of-this-world premise and pairs it up with a story that is both fun and wacky, yet also very warm and relatable to kid readers. You are reading about Zack and his parade of defective monsters, but you are also reading a story about a boy who is fed up with his pesky little sister—and a kid sister who turns out to be a lot more than she seems. And all of this is wrapped in a delightful read-aloud package full of rollicking rhythm and wacky wordplay. How could I not sit up and take notice?
monstoresmallcover
LAT: Now that you’ve seen the final version, is it much different from the original that you first fell in love with?

AJP: Yes and no. The story’s gone through some polishing revisions, of course, but the text is very similar to the one I originally read. What is wildly different now, of course, is that it comes with some stunning artwork! James Burks has done an amazing job bringing THE MONSTORE to life, and his characters take the story to an entirely different dimension. Being able to pick this book up off the shelf and leaf through its pages, then send my mind back to that day, three years ago, when I opened yet another email query, this one from a debut author named Tara Lazar… well, that’s really something, isn’t it?

LAT: Quick! Use three words to describe THE MONSTORE:

AJP: Hilarious! Inventive! Winner!

LAT: Is there anything else you want to add?

AJP: You should also know that Tara Lazar has several other books on the horizon—the next one of which is forthcoming from Aladdin next year: I THOUGHT THIS WAS A BEAR BOOK is another wacky tale about an alien who falls out of his library book and into a different story altogether. And her next book, LITTLE RED GLIDING HOOD, is forthcoming from Random House Books for Young Readers as well. If I were you, I’d keep a particular eye out for Tara’s books, because I think we’re going to see some increasingly amazing and memorable stories coming out over the next few years. So mark your calendars and clear space on your bookshelves—because this picture book author is here to stay!

LAT: Thanks, Joan! I have to agree that THE MONSTORE is a winner. I’m also looking forward to your own picture book, GHOST IN THE HOUSE, along with not one, but two, new novels, PARADOX and RULES FOR GHOSTING, all of which come out in just a few weeks! Congratulations on all of your success as an agent AND as an author, and thanks again for taking time out of your crazy busy schedule to celebrate THE MONSTORE launch party with us!

Ghost in the House cover Paradox cover Rules for Ghosting cover

Don’t forget: this is your last chance to leave a comment for a chance to win a signed copy of THE MONSTORE!And you can find your own copy of THE MONSTORE (or buy one to give as a gift!) at places like Indiebound, Amazon, and BN.com, or at your local bookstore.

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46 Comments

Filed under Agents, Celebrations, Interviews, Updates on our Books!

46 responses to “THE MONSTORE launch party continues with agent Ammi-Joan Paquette!

  1. This book is wonderful! I loved it and will totally admit to author envy! It’s a winner, indeed! Congratulations, Tara!!!!!!

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  2. Congratulations Tara and Joan! I’m so excited for the Monstore — and Tara’s other books. (And Joan’s as well — what a team you guys are!) Cheers!

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  3. Awesome concept. What kid wouldn’t want his or her own monster?

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  4. I have to tell you, I’ve had a great time reading all the insights into THE MONSTORE this week! We checked it out of the library right before the blog party started, and every new entry lends a little something extra to the book. So much fun! And, yes, I’m crossing my fingers that I’ll win the drawing because my daughter and I both LOVE this book, and it would be perfect to share with my students, too. Can’t wait until Tara Lazar’s other books are released. They sound just as fun as THE MONSTORE!

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  5. Abigail Aguirre

    Congratulations on your many successes, Joan and Tara!

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  6. Congratulations Tara and Joan! I’ve been seeing Twitter go crazy for this book and had to check it out for myself. Looks like a definite winner!!!!!

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  7. Katy D

    The book (ALL of the books!) sound great! Congrats to you both.

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  8. Congrats again Tara. Neat to read what your agent was originally thinking.

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  9. Three cheers for The Monstore, Tara, and Joan!

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  10. Congratulations Tara!….oh what a fun and witty book!

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  11. Can’t wait to read this. Congratulations Tara!

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  12. Julie Dillemuth

    Loved hearing about Tara’s success story from her agent’s perspective. The snippet of what the Monstore is about has me intrigued!

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  13. This book sounds totally delightful. Congratulations to both of you, Tara and Joan!

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  14. Happy Launch Party! I love the concept of THE MONSTORE. It’s inventive and fun!

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  15. Congrats to you both, Tara and Joan! More books to add to my MUST-HAVE list!!! 🙂

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  16. Alexa

    Big congrats to all!

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  17. So much fun! Can’t wait to read this one to my kiddos. It’s sure to be one we read over and over again.

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  18. LeslieG

    Thanks for the great interview, and congrats! I definitely look forward to more wonderful books from Tara.

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  19. Tara I enjoyed your workshop and keynote speech at the recent NJSCBWI conference I wasn’t able to buy your book before it was sold out. Good Luck with your launch and I can’t wait to read MONSTORE! Jan M

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  20. Claudia B.

    Way to go Tara!

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  21. Rosie

    I can’t wait to read it! Congratulations! What a great and inspiring success story 🙂 And could someone please hook me up with Joan? She’s awesome.

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  22. I am loving the Monstore more and more and I haven’t even read it yet. Can’t wait to get my copy. Thanks for this enlightening interview. It is a wonderful feeling when you can excite an agent to want to represent you.

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  23. congratulations to the both of you. It is nice to hear about the process from the agents viewpoint. The ghost books sound like winners, too.

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  24. How wonderful for you both, and may oodles and oodles of copies sell all over the world! A copy for my nephew is in the mail, and I will certainly be keeping my alerts set on ‘new books by Tara Lazar’ for the future! But, I’d really like to have my own signed copy. :0)

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  25. Dee Almond

    Can’t wait to read The Monstore. Congratulations to you both!

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  26. tinamcho

    Great interview! Love the 3 descriptive words for Tara’s books and “This pb author is here to stay!” Congratulations!

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  27. Congratulations Tara! I can’t wait to buy my own cuddly and not defective monster.

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  28. What a great interview! I can’t wait to read The Monstore!

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  29. Well, I’m one of the lucky ones who bought a copy of THE MONSTORE at NJ SCBWI this past weekend and got it signed by Tara!! Woo hoo!! I’ve been reading it over and over and I love it more each time.

    I was also moved by Tara’s speech on Sunday morning. Hope somebody recorded that.

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  30. Thanks for this interview touching on two inspiring women in the world of children’s literature.

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  31. So exciting! Congratulations to both of you.

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  32. This book looks amazing! One of the picture books I’m looking forward to the most this year!

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  33. it’s been wonderful following Tara on twitter through her journey. I love your enthusiasm and belief in her as an author, Ammi-Joan, and look forward to seeing ‘The Monstore’ & MORE down here in Australia. Yay, Tara! 🙂

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  34. Great interview! I can’t wait to see more of Ms. Lazar’s work!

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  35. Big congratulations, Tara (and Joan)! Can’t wait to get my hands on this book.

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  36. Congrats to both of you. I just had a book out in October with ghosts in it. Never Let a Ghost Borrow Your Library Book from Upstart Books. Ghosts are everywhere.
    Karen Casale

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  37. Sheri

    Congrats to both of you and cannot wait to meet A.J. Pacquette in Utah next week at the WIFYR conference. I would really like to see a copy of the Monstore, too.

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  38. Tara, you worked very hard for this. I’m proud of you!

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  39. Congrats Tara! The book is so much fun. And thank you for all your help to aspiring authors.

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  40. It looks like so much fun! Yay! I just ordered a copy 🙂

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  41. Pingback: review – The Monstore by Tara Lazar | Kid Lit Reviews

  42. Hooray for Tara, Joan, and all the kids (and adults!) out there who get to giggle over THE MONSTORE!

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