Monday, April 16, 2018

Two Sisters + Two Debut Picture Books = Two Great Giveaways!

When I read in the SCBWI-Carolinas Facebook Pal Group that Tara Cattie Luebbe's debut picture book was coming out in March, I asked if she wanted to share her path to publication. She not only agreed, but offered to give away a copy of each book! Details on how to enter the giveaways are below.

Author Interview

CAROL: Can you share the backstory for each of these books? How did you got your ideas and how did the stories develop?

TARA: I AM FAMOUS is about a little girl who believes she is a famous actress, singer, and dancer. Because she is famous, she’s always being photographed by the paparazzi (her parents). When she messes up her biggest gig ever, she realizes her fans are the best kind—loyal. 

Albert Whitman, March 2018

The idea for I AM FAMOUS came from listening to Weird Al. He has a parody of Taylor Swift’s song You Belong to Me called TMZ, which is about the paparazzi stalking celebrities. It reminded me of today’s parents, social media and their children. 

SHARK NATE-O is about a shark-obsessed boy who pretends he is a shark, but who can’t swim. He takes swimming lessons and uses shark facts along the way to help overcome his fear. There is also a nonfiction shark fact section in the back. 

Little Bee Books, April 2018

The idea for SHARK NATE-O came from a boy in my second-grade class who always pretended to be a shark and would chomp us at recess. But that wasn’t enough for a picture book. It wasn’t until my own son, Nate, went through a shark phase while also taking swimming lessons that I began to envision the story. My brother called him “Shark Nate-O” and that was the lightening rod, and title, I needed.

CAROL: Both books are co-written with your sister, Becky Cattie. Can you share your collaborative process?

Tara and Becky

TARA: It was never the plan to co-author with my sister. When I began writing, I sent her my first story and she sent it back half-changed for the better. So, I asked her if she wanted to do this together! We live in different states, so we do a lot on email and phone calls. We just go back and forth until it’s right. 

CAROL: Was there any interaction between the two of you and your illustrators? 

TARA: We had no contact with the illustrators during the process. Any art changes we wanted to suggest were made through the editors. 

CAROL: Are you agented? What was your path to finding the publishers?

TARA: I am represented by Tracy Marchini of Bookends Literary. Both of my debut books were post-conference submissions from the SCBWI Illinois Prairie Writers and Illustrators Day. We heard from both publishers soon afterwards and were able to get Tracy on board to help us from there. 

CAROL: What role did SCBWI Carolinas have in publication of these books?

TARA: I joined SCBWI-C shortly after beginning my writing journey. Through the organization I met valuable critique partners which has been a huge part of my success. I enjoy the conference every year and love connecting with other writers from our great region. 

Support Authors!

I've talked about how you can support authors by pre-ordering their books. Another way is to request your local library to purchase a copy. It only takes a few minutes to fill out a request form and authors really appreciate it!


Tara and Becky are giving away a copy of I AM FAMOUS and SHARK NATE-O. Please leave me your name AND email address (if you are new to my blog). The top two names selected by will win books on April 20th. 

Tara Luebbe is an ex-retailer turned picture book author. She co-writes with her sister Becky Cattie. They are the authors of I AM FAMOUS, illustrated by Joanne Lew Vriethoff, (Albert Whitman 2018); SHARK NATE-O, illustrated by Daniel Duncan, (little bee books 2018); I USED TO BE FAMOUS, illustrated by Joanne Lew Vriethoff (Albert Whitman Spring 2019); and CONAN THE LIBRARIAN (Roaring Brook Press Spring 2020). She is also the founder of Writing with the Stars, a free mentorship program for aspiring picture book writers. You can learn more at and you can find her on Twitter @t_luebbe.


Debbie Allmand said...

Loved the interview. Would love to be considered for the giveaway.

Carol Baldwin said...

Thanks,Deb. You're in!

Connie Porter Saunders said...

Thanks for sharing these books. They both look like great books for children.

Carol Baldwin said...

You're in too, Connie!

Young Authors Program said...

I enjoyed the book signing for these two fabulous books yesterday! Cheers to lots of literary success ladies!

Rosi said...

These both look really cute. I must admit, I can't imagine co-authoring especially with one of my sisters! I will pass on the giveaway. Thanks for the interesting interview.

Clara Gillow Clark said...

So great to read Tara’s story about her second grader who pretended to be a shark and how this idea didn’t form into a book until she put it together with her own son’s experiences. This is the magic of writing.

It was also gratifying to learn how important a role the SCBWI played in their success. Isn’t that wonderful? Cheers and congratulations to the sisters, Tara and Becky.

I’ve tweeted this already, but I will do so again. Thank you, Carol!

Gretchen Griffith said...

Count me in, Carol. Their method of coauthoring the book sounded interesting. What a great idea.

Carol Baldwin said...

Thanks Dorothy, Gretchen, Clara, and Rosi for leaving comments. I couldn't imagine collaborating with my sister either--but am thinking about it with friends. YOu're all in except Rosi.

Linda Phillips said...

Thanks for sharing yet another successful writing journey. Congratulations to the sisters for working together to create such a cute story!

Carol Baldwin said...

Thanks, Linda. Your name goes in the hat!

Unknown said...

What a great interview, Carol! These books are terrific, and the journey of this sisterly duo is equally amazing!

Carol Baldwin said...

Thanks, Derick. Please leave me your email address in case you win!

Cindy C said...

Thanks for another great interview! It's great hearing the "stories to publication" from SCBWI-C members. Cindy

Carol Baldwin said...

Thanks, Cindy. You're in!

sheri levy said...

It is a lot of fun hearing about other writers and how they go their start. The picture books are adorable.

Carol Baldwin said...

thanks, Sheri. YOu're in the hat!

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