DOROTHY: The story began in 2011 when my 7-year-old daughter, Sanai, helped my mother bake her famous pumpkin and zucchini breads. As the first grandchild, she and my mom formed a strong bond over cooking and baking.
|Sanai Price with her grandmother, Annie Henderson|
DOROTHY: There were too many drafts to count! I learned that a story isn't as strong as it can be unless you have multiple drafts. I brought the story to my SCBWI critique group and from there, it went through several rounds of edits. After each critique group meeting, I felt like it was getting stronger, but none of the agents I submitted it to offered representation. By the end of 2012, after my last round of submissions, I put it away and moved on to writing something new.
DOROTHY: I always say I didn't really become a kidlit writer until I joined the SCBWI in 2010. I began writing kidlit in December 2008 after a traumatic experience, but the stories I wrote between 2008-2010 were created before I learned the picture book writing craft. Nancy Krulik is responsible for my joining the SCBWI. It was at her South County Library author visit in October of 2010, amidst a host of children, that I waddled over to her (I was 7 months pregnant with my son) and asked what advice she had for aspiring writers. She immediately said ... "Join the SCBWI!" I am forever grateful to her for that advice. I would love to meet her again and tell her, thank you!
DOROTHY: Not yet, but I do have an agent who expressed interest in another completed picture book. I submitted to her in September 2015, and she responded in December, but still no contract.
DOROTHY: I only submitted NANA'S FAVORITE THINGS to a few publishers. I found Eifrig on Twitter after following kidlit, picture book, and other literary hastags from authors, agents, and publishers. Those hashtags lead me to Penny Eifrig, the owner of Eifrig Publishing. (Click here for submission information.)
DOROTHY: Yes! I submitted to Penny in the spring of 2013. I didn't hear back from her until October 2013. She had a few suggestions for how to make Sasha's character stronger by having her come up with more ways to help her nana. Of course I brought the story back to my SCBWI critique group for advice, and submitted the revised version back to Penny in December 2013. I heard back from her in January 2014 and she explained that her list was full, but she was still interested in the story. I didn't hear back from her again until April 2014 when she said she wanted to move forward with publishing the book!
DOROTHY: Roughly five years.
DOROTHY: Since this book is based on personal experience, my hope is that it begins to create a dialogue about diabetes in all communities. A number of my close family members have died from diabetes complications, so I have seen firsthand how devastating this disease can be. My mom actually has diabetes, but because of her lifestyle changes, she does not take insulin. She exercises and maintains healthy eating habits which has contributed to her stable health. I would like people to know that diabetes is a preventable disease, if you're willing to make some lifestyle changes.