Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Guest Instructor: Emily Smith Pearce and a Giveaway!

For the last three weeks in my "Writing for Children" class at Central Piedmont Community College, my students were treated to visits from authors I know through SCBWI Carolinas and WNBA: Emily Smith Pearce, Tameka Brown, and Christy Allen. In the next three blog posts I'll share some of the highlights of their talks plus give you a chance to win some fabulous books.


Emily Smith Pearce is the author of two children's books, mother of two busy elementary school children, crafter, and blogger. In January, 1999 she was in the second class to graduate from the Vermont College of Fine Arts with her Master's Degree in Writing for Children and Young Adults. She is currently working on a young adult novel and a nonfiction middle grade book on fashion history. She credits hanging out at the library where her mother, a children's librarian worked, as one of the things that influenced her the most in becoming a writer. 

Here are some nuggets from Emily's presentation:
  • Get a boring day job so that you have brain space left over to write after work.
  • Persevere. Persevere. Persevere. "It took several years and plenty of setbacks to get my first book published."
  • In response to, "How were writing your novel and your early reader different experiences?" Emily said, "Isabel and the Miracle Baby was written over a period of time with my mentor, Carolyn Coman at VCFA, and was inspired by someone I knew. Slowpoke, which is autobiographical, started out as a writing exercise. I took a picture book and studied its structure, and then I plugged it into a story. I also had one editor for Isabel and three different editors for Slowpoke because of the fast changing nature of the publishing industry.  Eden Edwards suggested it would work better as an early reader than a picture book."
    Boyds Mills Press, 2010

  • You should use social media for networking in addition to promoting your own work. Maureen Johnson and Sarah Dessen are good examples. "You should share more about others' work than your own or people will quickly grow bored."
  • The most rewarding thing are school visits when kids read your book. "One boy told me he had paid for the book out of his own money." 
  • Discouragement happens. One first grader asked, "Do you ever worry if you'll never write another book?"
  • She still reads. A lot. While cooking supper or drying her hair. Her daughter once said to her, "Mommy, please don't read while you're driving!" Emily never said if she put the book down…
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Here's your opportunity to win an autographed copy of Isabel and the Miracle Baby
Front Street Books, 2007
“The tantrum-prone protagonist of this multi-layered debut novel seems a smidge spoiled at first glance, but underneath eight-year-old Isabel’s fits-and-starts temper lies a very ordinary need for attention. [T]he novel . . . becomes more noteworthy for Pearce’s graceful weaving of a larger and more difficult subject into the narrative: Isabel’s mother has had cancer . . . Pearce stays true to Isabel’s young perspective even as she conveys the character’s complicated discoveries about growing up.” —Publishers Weekly, starred review

  • Leave me a comment by the evening of  April 19. 
  • If I don't have your email address, make sure you leave that too.
  • Open only to residents of the continental United States.
  • Become a follower of this blog or share this on social media and I'll enter your name twice!

14 comments:

miriam said...

This sounds really interesting! I'd love to win a copy of this book.

Lois said...

What lucky students to have you for a teacher, Carol. Thanks for sharing points from Emily's presentation. Look forward to reading some of the others.

Lois Bartholomew
lois@loisthompsonbartholomew.com

Kathy B said...

Thank you Carol for sharing the wisdom from your class speakers. Emily, I love your line about having brain space left over! :)

Linda Vigen Phillips said...

Great to hear some of your back story, Emily. I love hearing that a student paid for your book with his own money. That's a huge compliment!

Kim Van Sickler said...

The boring day job advice sounds spot on. But I'll go a little further and suggest it shouldn't have to do with writing if you want to maximize writing time. It's easier to write for yourself if you haven't done it all day.

Joyce Moyer Hostetter said...

I am an avid follower of Emily's blog. I want to blog like she does. And I think it's totally cool that she was a pioneer at VCFA!

And yeah,I agree with PW - Isabel is a layered character dealing with some big concerns!

Barbara Younger said...

Great tips! Love the book cover. Talk about capturing emotion from the start.

Carol Baldwin said...

Thanks Miriam, Lois, Kathy, Linda, Kim, Joyce & Barbara. It was great to read all your comments this morning. You are all entered in the giveaway.

Kathy Greenfield said...

Enjoyed reading snippets from Emily's presentation. And thanks, as always, for introducing me to wonderful authors I may not know. :)

Carol Baldwin said...

Thanks, Kathy. I hope your bookshelves are getting heavier and heavier with my recommendations!

Linda A. said...

Thanks Carol and Emily. I love that an editor pointed out a story's merit and recommended changing it from PB to Early Reader. Good to hear.

Carol Baldwin said...

Yes, that is encouraging to all of us, Linda!

Rosi said...

Sounds like you're bringing some great speakers to your classes, Carol. Some great tips here. Thanks. I am a follower.

Carol Baldwin said...

You are a wonderful follower, Rosi!