Carol: I love your title. What is the story behind My Cold Plum Lemon Pie Bluesy Mood? Did the title just come to you? Any events in your own life prompt the story?
Tameka: Actually, the title was a major group effort. Along with myself there was my editor, my agent, the art director, and several sales and marketing folks involved in coming up with it. I love it, too.
For this story, I happened to be thinking to myself one day, “Boy, am I in a mood.” My writer’s ear zoned in on the “in a mood” part; it sounded like a great first line or title for a picture book. That was the spark that resulted in the story of a boy and his emotion-filled day...complete with two, pushy older brothers. Personally, I’m a lover of bright colors because they make me feel so alive; I suppose I intuitively married the concepts of color and emotion together.
Carol: If you could wave a magic wand and create the takeaway from this book, what would it be? In other words, what are you hoping readers (both little and big!) will gain from reading it?
Tameka: I hope to encourage readers to own ALL of their feelings, the good and the not-so-good. I want them to recognize that they have a right to feel each and every one of their emotions, to express them verbally or in writing, in a constructive (maybe even a creative) way. At the very least, I hope they will focus on identifying and acknowledging their true feelings to themselves. That’s a necessary life skill that precedes effective problem-solving.
Carol: What was your path to publication? How long did it take to go from the idea to the book? Did Jennifer Rofe' make editing suggestions?
Tameka: My Cold Plum Lemon Pie Bluesy Mood is my second picture book. I secured an agent (Jennifer Rofé of Andrea Brown Literary Agency) with my first book, Around Our Way On Neighbor’s Day. Jen is what is known as an “editorial” agent, which means that she critiques all of my manuscripts before submitting them to editors to ensure that they are as strong as they can be. Not all agents are editorial and when seeking representation, a writer should consider which they would prefer. Although it may add an extra stage to the submissions process, I have learned to truly value Jennifer’s astute feedback. Even if an editor feels a manuscript of mine isn’t a good fit for their current list, they almost always request to see more of my work. Jen’s focus on making sure I put my best foot forward plays a significant part in that.
Here was my path to publication:
· I wrote a story called In a Mood and worked with my critique group to get it in the best shape possible.
· I sent it to Jen. She didn’t have any revision suggestions (a rarity!), so we sent it out on submission.
· The amazing Joy Peskin, expressed interest on behalf of Viking Children’s early in the process.
· Joy bought my manuscript and worked with me on minor revisions.
· An illustrator (Shane W. Evans) was secured.
· Joy left Viking.
· My project was reassigned to Joanna Cardenas—who took great, loving care of both me and my book.
· Sales & Marketing suggested that we change the title because buyers might assume the plot was something it’s not.
· After a great team effort, a new, dynamic title was developed.
· On March 7, 2013 My Cold Plum Lemon Pie Bluesy Mood was officially born into the world!
Congratulations, Tameka, on birthing your second picture book and for a great review in Publisher's Weekly!
Here are the giveaway rules:
Here are the giveaway rules:
- Post a link to this blog on your favorite social media site OR become a follower of my blog.
- Leave me a comment as to which you did. If you are a new follower PLEASE leave your email address. If you don't, I'll have no way to contact you if you win!
- Enter by midnight on March 15th. Winner will be drawn on March 16th.
If you live in or around Charlotte, Tameka will be autographing books at Park Road Books on March 23 at 2 PM. Hope to see you there!