Tuesday, June 2, 2015

Interview with Misti Kenison, Author of The Tiny Travelers Series


Tell us about your current book. Give a short summary.

The Tiny Traveler series is a collection of primers for children age 0-3, with a primary focus of teaching basic concepts, such as numbers, shapes, colors, etc. Each book uses iconic imagery from countries around the world to illustrate these concepts in an engaging way.

Unlike many other baby board books, which use basic items such as fruit or animals to teach primary concepts, The Tiny Traveler series uses exotic, fantastic images from places around the world to illustrate these concepts. From the Eiffel Tower, to the Great Pyramids, children will learn the basics of colors and shapes while also learning about these famous landmarks.

Can you tell us about your publisher and how the process worked in getting published?

My publisher, Sky Pony Press, is wonderful. I feel very lucky to have found them. I initially sent my manuscript out to a number of children’s book agents. Once I found an agent that was interested, she sent the material out to different publishers. It was a long process, it took many many months to find her, and many more for her to find an interested publisher. The publishing process took even longer, which was surprising to me. Once I signed on with Sky Pony, it was over a year before I actually saw the books in print. 

How did you get the idea for this book?

I got the idea for this series when I was pregnant with my oldest child. I spent a lot of time browsing bookstores and online catalogs to build a nice library of board books to start her out. I realized that there really wasn’t anything out there like the Tiny Traveler series, something that focused on exotic places and travel.

I actually studied illustration when I was in undergrad. I wanted to go into children’s book illustration then, but things took a detour for me after school and I went into graphic design instead. I’m so glad to finally be able to fulfill my dream of writing and illustrating these books, especially now that I have children who can enjoy them as well.

What is a typical writing day like for you?

Because I do both the writing and illustrations for my books, the process for me is interchangeable. I do a lot of research before I even start gathering ideas for each book, both for copy as well as possible images to use. Once I start writing, I’m constantly thinking about how the words will translate into illustrations as well. It does makes things a bit more complicated at times, but I end up with a more fully realized book than if I just tackled one part of it at a time.

What do you enjoy most about writing?
 
Since my books are aimed at a very young age group (0-3), I imagine reading them out loud to my children as I’m writing. In fact, many times I do run the copy by my kids to see if it makes sense. I love that they have become such an important part of my work.

What is the most difficult part of writing?

I really consider myself more of an illustrator than a writer, so the writing part of the job is difficult in many ways for me. I want to maintain a level of consistency with the copy in all of the books, and that can be hard as well. Thankfully, I have a great agent who proofreads everything for me.

How has publishing a book changed your life?

It’s been a great experience! I’m getting to do something I’ve always dreamed about, which is rewarding in itself. I also enjoy getting to go to author events and signings and just meeting so many amazing people. There are so many great librarians and booksellers that have become a big part of my life.

What are your plans now?
 
I am working on 2 new books in the series right now. My hope is that they will be published soon!

What is your best tip for aspiring authors?

Be patient. The whole publishing process takes so much time, and initially there is a lot of rejection. Not every agent will want to work with you, and not every publisher will want to carry your book. That doesn’t mean that your work is bad, or that you are a failure, it just means you have to keep looking.

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?

1 comment:

PLEASE NOTE

*Stories for Children Publishing, LLC. (SFC) and its divisions do not receive any compensation for product reviews beyond a sample and/or limited access to a paid website. SFC donates all books sent for review to a charitable organization. SFC may do a contest or giveaway of samples we receive. SFC does not review any samples sent without a request for review to the Blog Editor, VS Grenier. SFC's staff members will not return unauthorized samples to the senders, but will donate them without review.