Happy Tuesday and welcome to Picture Book Spotlight!
If you happened to miss the most recent post about my book deal, click here to check it out!--there are still two more days to enter the giveaway for your chance to win a picture book manuscript 10 minute phone critique with Melissa Richeson!
Today we have a very special Author Spotlight with Shannon Stocker! Shannon's debut, CAN U SAVE THE DAY? was nominated more than any other book during the Picture Book Spotlight Awards. And I'm so glad it did because there's lots to love here.
If you haven't had a chance to read this book, let me assure you...it is NOT your typical alphabet book. You simply HAVE to read it out loud.
Lt's dv rght n wth Shnnn! (hmmmm...what's missing here...?)
Name three things you can’t do your job without.
Oh, I like this question! OK, here goes:
1. Without a doubt, I could not do my job without my critique partners. They are my champions, my cheerleaders, my therapists, my alarm clocks, my gut checks, my caffeine shots, my daily dose of giggles…they are my constant reminder that yes, I CAN do this, and yes, I SHOULD do this. Without them, my self-esteem would’ve imploded long ago.
2. Caffeine. I could open my own tea store with the collection stocked in my pantry. If I’m feeling particularly zonked, I’ll go to Starbucks for a nonfat caramel macchiato with an extra shot of espresso, and if it’s the weekend, I’ll make a “vacation coffee” at home with a touch of Godiva White or Bailey’s in it.
3. I could not do my job without my family. My husband supported me in my decision to leave my job to pursue this crazy dream, and my kids are a constant source of material. My daughter is forever reading my work out loud back to me, which is particularly helpful when I’m looking for feedback on my stories written in verse.
I’m loving these questions! Dark chocolate. Dark chocolate squares, caramel dark chocolate, salted dark chocolate, dark chocolate truffles, dark chocolate peanut butter Kind bars…I honestly eat at least one piece of chocolate every day. It’s my kryptonite. But tea, coffee, and…ok, can we be honest here? Godiva white liquor, Bailey’s, beer, wine, and bourbon are also essential. Not necessarily when I’m trying to work, but I’d call those things must-haves!
When and where do you feel most creative?
This one is tricky. Probably my most clear thinking time is first thing in the morning, after I’ve sent the kids to school and gotten ready for the day. That’s typically when I research, polish, draft, revise, and critique best. But my subconscious mind works in strange ways in those moments right before I drift off to sleep. I’ve had more than one manuscript force its way to paper in the middle of the night because some concept screamed at me as I attempted to fall asleep (or stay asleep).
For those of us who may not know your story, tell us a little about your background and how you got into writing. Why picture books?
Oh my…how much time do you have? HA! There really is no way to tell “a little” about my background, but I’ll try. I started playing piano, singing, and writing poetry as a child. I wanted to be a singer/songwriter, but I also wanted to make my dad proud (he didn’t want me to pursue music)…so I went to medical school. An illness called Reflex Sympathetic Dystrophy derailed me and I spent seven years fighting for my life, eventually being told by doctors in the States that I had two years to live. My husband and I flew to Mexico to participate in an experimental treatment where I was induced into a coma to “reboot” my body (sort of like you’d reboot a computer).
Through my sickest years, music really helped keep me alive. But experimental treatments aren’t covered by insurance and amateur musicians don’t make much money, so I helped start a medical finance business. I continued working with the company for several years after the coma, but I always felt a deep creative hole in my life. Once I had kids, I fell in love with picture books and something just clicked. It was like a strong gravitational pull. I wanted to raise my kids and I wanted to feed that part of my soul that I’d been starving.