Today I am hosting Joanna Marple of Snogames on my blog. And I have a confession to make. I screwed up. (and it’s not the first time.) I screwed up her schedule by telling her I would have her on June fourth which I thought was today but was actually yesterday. I schedule my posts a day ahead and this time got mucho confused. She had even given her blog tour schedule on Linked In where I saw the mistake. Joanna had already put her schedule everywhere on the internet! With the wrong date! Horrors! So embarrassing! Then I surrendered myself to her wrath by telling her what I had done. Joanna was more than understanding. Thank you, Joanna. After sleeping on it I realized it was probably so much easier for me to have her as my guest on Monday rather than ask her to change her schedule. But the deed was done. Bloggy bloppers. Right? Joanna was more than gracious about it. So thanks again, Joanna, for being so understanding and letting me put up your post today rather than yesterday. I am so sorry for the mix up.
OK, so here we go, now. Take it away Joanna.
Author Bio:Joanna grew up surrounded by the architecture and awe of the University of Cambridge, UK, immersed in the books and the landscapes of the Brontes, Tolkein and Beatrix Potter. Her tall tales were not always appreciated as a young child, but her passion for storytelling remained unscathed and was fuelled by the peoples she encountered during her humanitarian work across the continents. More recently her years as school librarian in Southern France relit the fire for children’s literature. Her stories focus on
her love of the natural world and the richness of the cultures she has encountered in her travels. She lives presently in Nice with two quirky cats and a stream of visitors from all over the globe.
I started writing last February, fifteen months ago, and by the summer I had written three manuscripts for my fictional endangered species series and found my natural inclination was to write for the 5-8 year old group. I had submitted one of my stories to my freelance editor, and, while she loved the story, she asked me if I didn’t have anything for the younger age group, 2-5’s, which is still an easier sell. This prompted me to shift my thinking to simpler stories and messages for a while.
Over the past twelve months my anti ePicture Book stance has been eroding, mainly by educating myself about this revolution and its impact on children’s reading habits. Becoming convinced of the valuable place of eBooks along side print books, for young children, I started to consider the eBook platform, uTales, though I still had strong concerns about becoming involved in an emerging digital company, wondering what editorial controls were in place and how this could impact my career, as someone also committed to the traditional publisher route! Two main things convinced me to try uTales:
a) There is a quality editorial panel in place and the founder of uTales, Nils von Heijne, had the great wisdom to ask Emma Dryden to oversee this panel. I had already worked with Emma on a manuscript and have tremendous respect for not only her editorial skill, but also her expertise in the digital publishing arena.
b) I retain the rights (with my illustrator) to my eBook.
Convinced that the opportunity and experience of publishing on uTales could only be advantageous for me, even if I didn’t initially make much money, I sat down to write a story specifically for them. While most people don’t equate Nice (where I live) and snow, we are actually only 1.5 hours from the Southern Alps. While the local ski stations had one of their worst seasons in years, I actually did get out snowshoeing during an early snowfall in November and the idea for SNOW GAMES came to me during this wintry trek in our National Park, the Mercantour. I love trying to recognize animal tracks in the snow, and frequently end up having to photo them and do some research when I get home. We had trudged through a beautiful pine forest on the way to the lake and I had spotted two very different sets of tracks in such a pattern that I was convinced it was two animals having fun together in the snow as I was doing with my friends. A bear and a mouse came to mind because of the ludicrous image of animals of such different statures being able to play together. I jotted the idea down on the edge of my map and wrote my first draft when I got home that night. I soon decided on a foursome (though what was originally a badger later evolved into a squirrel). I recognized that while this story would have a nature focus, as much of my work does, I was going to have to allow myself some poetic license, as my bear should really be asleep under the snow hibernating through these winter months. However, I consciously worked on retaining characteristics of the woodland animals and their environment for authenticity.
I spent the next eight weeks really focusing on revision. The core of the story remained the same, but helpful feedback from my critique groups and editor, really transformed the rhyme/stanza form (it was my first story I had ever written in rhyme) and the illustrability of each double page as I paginated it for the illustrator. It took a couple of months to find my illustrator through the Facebook uTales’ Collaborations page, but the wait was well worth it for the skill with which Maja Sereda has managed to capture this story.
Clar, thank you so much for allowing me to guest post on your author’s blog.
Wow! Joanna. That was fantastic! Thank you for being a guest. Reading the story behind the story was fascinating. It has been an honor having you. Now I’ll post your schedule so people can follow you on your way through this blog tour. And if they’d like to go back and read the ones they missed they can. Good luck!
Here is Joanna’s face book page to like and go to.
http://www.facebook.com/pages/Joanna-Marple-Childrens-Author/240438026031854 It seems like it won’t open for me with just a click so people please copy and paste it in your navigation bar. *Yep, You are the best*
Wednesday, Mat 16th, Darshana’s Blog, Flowering Minds – Interview
Wednesday, May 23rd – Krista Rausin’s blog, Parenting with a Dash of Inspiration – Multiple Characters in Picture Books
Tuesday, May 29th – Sharon Stanley’s blog, Sharon Stanley Writes – Interview
Tuesday June 5th – Clarike Bowman-Jahn, Clarbojahn’s Blog – The Story Behind the Story
Wednesday, June 6th – Diane Tulloch’s blog, The Patient Dreamer – Book Review and mini Interview
Wednesday, June,13th – Julie Hedlund’s Blog, Why uTales?
Monday, June 18th – Susanna Leonard Hill’s Blog – The Process of Submitting a Story to uTales
Wednesday June 27th – Patricia Tilton’s blog, Children’s Books Heal, Anthropomorphism in picture books and Book Review
So readers? What do you think? Will you go on and check out the rest of Joanna’s tour? Will you buy the book? Will you remember it when your child wants something else to read or give it as a gift? Tell me in the comments. I just love them.
And if you’d like to read where else I’m posting today, check out Cher Greens blog http://www.chergreen.blogspot.com/ , where with four other authors I discuss what comes first, character or plot.
Thanks for reading. You are the best!