It’s a red carpet welcome for agent extraordinaire Tricia Lawrence at Emu’s Debuts today to celebrate Penny Parker Klostermann’s THERE WAS AN OLD DRAGON WHO SWALLOWED A KNIGHT!
Welcome, Tricia! We’re so happy to have you here!
How did you come to represent Penny? What were your first impressions of her?
Penny was a referral from Erin, which is commonplace in EMLA. We often refer to each other if we’re feeling overly full of MG novel clients, or in Penny’s case, PB writers. My first impression was someone who was passionate about her craft, determined to work harder than she had ever worked to become a success. And she is so much fun!
Since you’ve now met Penny in person, how did your initial impression match up with your in-person one?
Penny is SO MUCH FUN. We laugh, goof off, crack jokes, and then there was that time I told everyone she was ten years older than she was! <blushing still> I’ll never live that one down. And she’s always thinking about her manuscripts. At our annual retreat one-on-one meeting, she was typing away madly just before it was her turn. And then she read it to me! I LOVE that about Penny.
Here’s evidence of Penny’s silliness, a bobble Tricia likeness:
What was it about There Was an Old Dragon that first grabbed your attention?
The FUN rhyme and the silliness of the characters. And that clippity-clopping part. Who wouldn’t love it?
Now that you’ve read the final version, is it much different from the original that you first fell in love with? Can you talk about how it evolved?
It was hilarious, but with editor Maria Modugno’s wonderful guidance, it all fits so beautifully with illustrator Ben Mantle’s art. I think I giggle about this story still and I’ve read it more times than I could count. Which I LOVE! This is the magic of picture books, the author and illustrator create this wonderful symbiosis under the guidance of a skilled editor/art director, and voila! You want to read it again and again and again. And then you giggle again and again and again.
If you were a dragon, what would you eat?
All the chocolate cake. Hands down. I’d clean out every single bakery within a 50-mile radius. Oh, and add in some maple bars. And peanut M&Ms. And chocolate-filled Oreos. And . . . yes, there is a theme here.
What are the first three phrases that pop into your head when you think of Penny?
Sparkly writer. Comedian extraordinaire. Rhyming superstar.
What are the first three phrases that pop into your head when you think of Penny’s writing?
Brilliantly crafted (although she makes it look easy). Always has something of Penny in it (very sparkly). Tons of fun.
Our Emu’s Debuts readers may like to know what kinds of submissions you’re currently interested in. Are there particular genres, or what are you looking for most in a manuscript?
This is the year of the novel for me. I’m looking for YA that could sit on a shelf next to Laura Ruby’s BONE GAP and Jennifer Mckissack’s upcoming SANCTUARY. And as for MG, again, something that could sit next to Alice Hoffman’s NIGHTBIRD and H.M. Bouwman’s upcoming THE TRADED GIRL. In a nutshell, a little bit of magical realism and a story that you can’t help but just sink into.
Tricia, Penny and some of Tricia’s EMLA clients:
What’s your typical work day like?
A lot of email. A lot of reading. A lot of chocolate rewards!
What’s your favorite thing about being an agent?
Getting to be a part of an author or illustrator’s creative cycle, seeing new ideas be born, revised, challenged, then turned into something truly astounding. I love the creative process (as an artist and writer myself) and getting to be near all these lovely authors and artists on a daily basis. Well, that is my favorite part! And then getting them connected to amazing editors is like ganache icing on my chocolate cake!
Disclaimer: this is completely unrelated to Penny’s book launch, but as a fellow dog lover I must ask you about your dogs—what are their names? Do they help you screen manuscripts?
We have a 2-year-old husky shepherd (mostly white, a little bit of gray now, with dark brown eyes) and her name is Rue. She’s a fluffy butt, but we adore her. She has a younger brother (actually not related at all, but they are now inseparable) 18-month-old English mastiff mix (a lovely chocolate brown with dark markings; he’s a 100 lbs!) named Toledo Vader. He drools a LOT being a mastiff, but we love him so.
They have turned our lives upside down, ruined the backyard and our downstairs family room carpet, but oh well. We LOVE our dogs.
(I can so see why–they’re adorable!)
Their favorite thing is to sit as close as they can to me when I’m on my laptop, or when I’m not downstairs, to sit on the stairs waiting for me to be done with my laptop.
Laptop vs. lapdog ;).
Rue’s favorite picture book is ART & MAX by David Wiesner. It still bears her teeth marks from when she was a puppy.
Toledo prefers to eat SPORTS ILLUSTRATED, specifically issues with basketball players on the cover.
What else would you like to tell us about yourself?
I don’t know. I’ve bared my chocolate soul to you. What else is there? Oh wait, I’m crazy for soccer. Go Seattle Sounders! Go Seattle Reign!
Thank you Tricia, Rue and Toledo for visiting us here today!
And many thanks to our Emu’s Debuts guests for joining us this week to celebrate THERE WAS AN OLD DRAGON WHO SWALLOWED A KNIGHT!
Be sure to leave a comment for a chance to win your very own copy!
For personalized signed copies of There Was an Old Dragon, you can order from Texas Star Trading Co. and give your dedication details in the Gift Message box. You can also contact them by email at firstname.lastname@example.org or call (325) 672-9696.
Penny’s book is also available at your neighborhood indie:
Or at these locations: