Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Interview with Author and Illustrator Beth Anne Maresca

Tell us about your current book. Give a short summary. (You can follow this up with any points you hope readers will take away with them)
Megan Owlet doesn’t want to play basketball, learn karate, or practice the violin. Every day she goes and cheers her brothers on as they participate in their own activities, but one morning she wakes up and realizes she’s bored! It’s time for Megan to find something of her own to do. After an unsuccessful brainstorming session with her animal friends, Megan stumbles upon a dance studio, and with an excited screech she begins to dream big dreams of whirls and twirls. Dancing is trickier than Megan expected, but with a little help from her brothers, Megan can do anything!
Can you tell us about your publisher and how the process worked in getting published?
I started writing this story about three years before it was taken in by editor Julie Matysik at Sky Pony Press.  In the beginning I was working with an agent who guided me through the process of taking my story and making it into a book.  She was really helpful in many ways and helped when it came time to sending it to publishers.  It was not accepted by several publishers which was discouraging.  However, many editors that rejected "Megan Owlet" gave good advice either on my story or the art.  I took these critiques and revised and rewrote or reworked the pictures.  I believe it is from these rejections that Megan blossomed.

How did you get the idea for this book?
I was inspired by my four children to write this book.  My daughter, the youngest in our family with three older brothers, had been shuffled from games and activities constantly on the weekends going to and from her brothers' activities.  When she was three she was finally old enough to have something for herself...and she tried dance class.  It was just such a joy for me to watch my little girl in an adorable pink tutu, something that was all hers!

What do you enjoy most about writing? 
I love writing.  I love most creating characters and giving them really fun things to do or go through.  I love writing because it takes me away to imaginative worlds.  When I am writing, it is funny how that particular story stays with me.  It is always on my mind, what the character should say or do or how the character would look or behave in certain situations. 

What is the most difficult part of writing? 
The most difficult part of writing for me is finding the time.  Working full time as a teacher and having four school-aged children who all have after school activities make it difficult to find quality writing time.  Because of this, I try to keep a pen and paper handy wherever I go.  I also use the "notes" on my iphone, too, to capture my thoughts about stories and parts of a story I am working on...because sometimes I just never know where I'll be when just the right wording pops into my head!  I do try, once the craziness of a day is done, to work on projects at night, when things are a bit more peaceful in my house!

How has publishing a book changed your life? 
Thus far, not much has changed, although it does make life exciting when friends and acquaintances start finding out about "my secret life" as an author and illustrator! Since my book is coming out on April 7th, I am looking forward to doing book signings and readings!

If your book is based on true events, how has that affected those around you or why made you choose to use historical events? 
 This book is not based on any historical events, but it is based on my family!  And I must kids love the fact that they are in a book and are very proud of the characters based on them (even though they are owls!)

What are your plans now? 
My plans now are to continue writing and illustrating!  I have two stories I am currently working on and getting ready to submit to we will see!

What is your best tip for aspiring authors? 
Take criticism and turn it into a positive.  Whether it be from your kids, your husband or wife, your critique group or an editor, take their critiques and use them to your advantage.  Separate yourself from your writing for a moment and really try to see what they are saying.  It is so easy for us as writers to get attached to "our" writing that it is hard to let go or change.  But, from change great things can emerge!

Is there anything else you would like to share with our readership? (Here you can share about characters, historical facts, setting or whatever else you would like our readers to know about your book.) 
When people read "Megan Owlet" my hope is that they will come away with a happy feeling.  I hope children and parents see the importance of family and how important supporting each other within a family is. When my children were younger, around three or four, they did not like books that had grumpy faces or arguing. So, I wanted to make this a happy story and show how siblings can come together for each other.

Do you have a website? If so, please give the URL. If not, where can readers go online to learn more about your book(s) and to order?

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