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Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Writing to Inspire Others to Read: Author Interview with Tricia Springtubb

Tricia Springtubb began her love of reading when she was in the first grade.  She loved finding out what would happen next. Now she can decide what will happen next with her own books. And she hopes to instill her love of reading to others.
What inspired you to write your books for tweens?
The years between nine and twelve were my golden age of reading, when I feel headlong for books.  I think this is true for so many of us. I'd love to write the book that turns some child into a lifelong reader. 
When did you actually start writing your first book? How long did it take to write your first draft?
My writing career falls into two parts. I published back in the '80s and '90s, then took a long, not entirely voluntary, publishing hiatus as I worked  to help put our three daughters through college. I was writing all the time, though, and What Happened on Fox Street was the result. It took exactly forever to write it.
Who encouraged you along the way to complete the book?
My husband has always supported me in every way. I also showed the book to a few friends, but mostly I work alone. I'm not sure this is the best method, but it's what I've always done. 
Prior to writing these children’s books, what was your publishing and writing background?
I published short adult fiction, in literary journals and women's magazines (those were the days!)  I'm a self-taught writer. Most of what I know I learned through reading and osmosis.  

You are published with an imprint of Harper Collins. What was your process like in getting your first book published?
When I published, I never had an agent—few children's writers did then. But by the time I finished Fox Street the landscape had changed, and I put all my energy into finding someone to represent me. By some miracle, Sarah Davies of Greenhouse Literary took me on. She promptly got me 3 contracts, and 6 more since. A dream come true.
What kept you going after you had rejections?
I still get rejections!!! And they still sting. Sometimes they goad me to re-think a piece. Sometimes I submit it elsewhere. And sometimes it just goes in that drawer... 
Are there any stories you’ve written that are l packed away that you hope will get published someday?
I have a couple of un-published adult novels, and a picture book I just love. I don't have much hope for the novels, but that picture book! We'll see...
Who acts as the sounding board for your stories before they’re submitted to a publisher?
I'm in a big writing group, and share my stuff once in a while. They ask terrific questions. Mostly I learn from seeing how other people work, and how they talk about the process. Also the group keeps me from feeling like I've gone insane, which is a common side effect of being a writer. 
I also have a small, select group of friends (one is my daughter) who give me generous feedback whenever I ask. I am very, very grateful to them.
What has frustrated or surprised you the most in the process of putting together your books?
I wish I felt I learned with each book, but it seems almost like starting from scratch each time. Maybe because each one is its own entity. The surprise is always my own mind. Who knew all this stuff was in there?
What book promotions  have been the most successful for you?
I like going to book festivals. You have a ready-made, book-loving crowd, and you get to meet other writers.
Do you write daily? Weekly? What are your writing goals?
I write-write at least 6 days a week, and do writing-business the other day. This sounds very virtuous, but I really can't help it. I was brought up to feel I must be useful. And I think I still can't believe I'm lucky enough to be a full-time writer, and if I take it for granted even for a second, it will all go away. 
What is the best writing advice you’ve been given?
I once read something along the lines of , "It's not where you get your ideas. It's where your ideas go." I think this is the crux of making good stories. Does an exterior event or character awaken something deep inside you—your dreams, desires, fears, sorrows? If the answer is yes, you're on your way.  
What message would you like parents and children to take away from your books?
I hope readers recognize themselves, and understand they are not alone in this big world.  I also hope that when they finish one of my books, they see the world as bigger and richer than ever. Empathy is what reading and writing are all about.
What plans do you have for other books?
I'm working on a new middle grade novel, very different from any of the others. It's kind of sad and I walk around feeling blue a lot. In April, my new book for younger middle grade readers comes out. Cody and the Fountain of Happiness is the first in a new series. It's illustrated by the remarkable Eliza Wheeler and is very very happy! 
We've only touched on a couple of Tricia's books, but she has lots more. if you'd like to learn more about her books and upcoming releases, Here's the link to her website

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