Tomorrow, author Hayley Barrett debuts with her sweet picture book BABYMOON, celebrating a family’s first days following the birth of a new baby. Emu Debut’s Darshana Khiani caught up with agent Ammi-Joan Paquette to find out the path that led to the book’s own birthday.
Darshana: Was Babymoon the manuscript that led you to sign Hayley as a client? What was it about Hayley’s writing that drew you in?
Joan: Yes! BABYMOON was the first manuscript I read of Hayley’s, and I was immediately hooked—pitch perfect meter and rhyme, exquisitely lyrical tone, and bursting with heart. I loved it then and I love it even more now!
Darshana: What was your thought process like when submitting this manuscript for consideration at Candlewick?
Joan: I adore the picture books that Candlewick makes, and connecting with editorial director Mary Lee Donovan on this was a dream come true. Right from the start she has had the vision and insight to guide and shape this wonderful book—I can’t imagine it anywhere else ❤
Darshana: BABYMOON is about that special time when parents first bond with their newborn. What is your fondest memory from that time in parenthood?
Joan: Oh, wow—that is a very long time ago for me! It’s funny, but I don’t seem to have a lot of specific or anecdotal memories of those very early days (sleep deprivation much? 😊). Instead I just remember a sort of warm haze over the time, a feeling of utter warmth and completeness, like everything I could ever want or need was right there within my arms’ reach. And every time I read BABYMOON it’s like getting that feeling back, just for a moment.
Darshana: You write and represent authors from board books thru YA. What are picture books to you?
Joan: I adore picture books! I know this because, despite having felt for a while that my agenting list is increasingly PB-heavy, I can’t seem to stop taking them on. There is something timeless about this book medium, perhaps the perfect form of literary expression.
Darshana: Who do you see as the perfect reader for BABYMOON?
Joan: It’s hard to think of a reader who would not fall in love with BABYMOON! Whether you have a baby, know a baby, have met babies in passing, have no concept or and want to learn about babies, or were once a baby yourself—this is The Book for you 😊
A few rapid fire questions:
What would you be doing if you weren’t an agent/writer? Can’t imagine a better job, honestly!
Favorite pick me up snack or drink? 85% dark chocolate
What book is on your bedside table? The Book Lover by Ali Smith
Sounds like the perfect book for any family expecting a baby, or needing comfort in the early days to know they’re not alone – look for it in bookstores everywhere or order on Indiebound.org, Barnes &Noble, or Amazon.com.
Hayley Barrett is a wonderful friend to all us Emus, and we’ll be coming to her debut events whenever we can. Learn more about where’s she’ll be so you can can come meet her in person!