PictureBookBuzz: Tell us about yourself.
Liz: I grew up in St. Louis, Missouri, a middle child with a much older brother and a younger sister. Sports were always part of our lives. My dad followed the St. Louis Cardinals football team and the St. Louis University hockey team. My brother played basketball in our driveway all hours of the day and night until the neighbors would call and beg him to stop. There was nothing I loved more than being invited to get out of bed and catch his rebounds in my nightgown. I’ve always been more of a reader than an athlete, but I played everything at school, and I loved being on swimming, softball, and basketball teams. Still it was a surprise that two of our kids would be such avid soccer players and fans. Soccer is now the sport that dominates our lives. We watch it and play it all the time.
PictureBookBuzz: What do you think readers will find most appealing about your book?
Liz: The poems in this collection are about every aspect of soccer—the ball, the field, uniforms, red cards, teammates, etc. Some of the poems are funny, like the one from the shin guard’s point of view. Others are more serious, like the one about getting mad and getting a red card. The poems take 13 different forms. There are mask poems, poems of address, list poems, concrete poems, and a haiku. There are rhyming poems and poems written in free verse. In the back of the book there are descriptions of all the different forms. In addition, I think readers are going to love the illustrations by Edson Ike. Edson is a graphic designer from Brazil. The images on every page are colorful and creative and feature all kinds of kids. I am very appreciative that I was able to partner with Edson on this book.
PictureBookBuzz: If you could give advice to writers who haven’t published yet, or an earlier version of yourself, what would you want to share?
Liz: Read: I learn so much from reading other poets. I read carefully to see how they do what they’re doing. I notice what forms they’re using and what rhythms and rhymes. I also find others’ work inspiring. When I read, I get ideas for my own writing.
Write: A few years ago, I started writing poetry nearly every day. The practice has helped me improve my skills, and it’s given me the confidence that I can always find something to write about.
Try New Approaches: Try a different form. Try a different point of view. Try to find a metaphor no one has ever used before.
Get Out: In order to write you must sit in your chair and write, but I know for myself, I also need to get out of my chair and move around. Many of my poems begin with a walk around the neighborhood or a field trip around town or through the course of my daily activities. When I get stuck, I find that a walk can help me get unstuck.
Share: Even when I’m happy with my work, I still want to know if an audience will see it the way I do. I share pretty much everything with one of my critique groups. I know my fellow writers will tell me what’s working and what needs work.
PictureBookBuzz: How can readers discover more about you and your work?
Liz: You can read more of my poetry in various magazines and anthologies, including The Poetry of US, edited by J. Patrick Lewis, Great Morning! Poems for School Leaders to Read Aloud, Pet Crazy: A Poetry Friday Power Book, and The Poetry Friday Anthology For Celebrations, all of which were edited by Sylvia Vardell and Janet Wong. I also welcome you to visit me on my website (www.ElizabethSteinglass.com) and to follow me on Facebook (Elizabeth Steinglass) and twitter (@ESteinglass).
Picture Book Buzz: Tell us about yourself!
Shannon: This one is tough to summarize! I didn’t plan on being a writer. In fact, I never really made the time to read anything that wasn’t academic until I reached my 20’s. I went to grad school for my M.S. in Anatomical Sciences and Neurology, and then to medical school to become a pediatrician. The last year of med school, I had some strange symptoms (pain, spasms). Ultimately, a tumor was found, eventually leading to a disease of the autonomic nervous system called Reflex Sympathetic Dystrophy (RSD). I fought RSD for 7 years, until I was wheelchair-bound and doctors in the States gave me two years to live. My husband and I went to Mexico, where I was induced into a coma to “reboot” my system. The coma altered my life in so many ways. Not only could I walk again (I’m now in remission), but I gave birth to two little miracles (at 38 and 40), and took time to reevaluate my goals. I’ve always been a musician and songwriter, but I’ve also always loved children. Picture books fit my heart perfectly. Once I started writing, I never looked back.
Picture Book Buzz: What inspired your book, CAN U SAVE THE DAY?
Shannon: I actually had this AHA! moment as I was falling asleep one night, so I got up and started writing. The concept, rhyme, and meter all came to me instantly. The story arc took about 50 revisions, though! As a songwriter, lyrics were always my strength. I love the musicality in wordplay.
Picture Book Buzz: Tell us about your main character.
Shannon: My main characters are the letters B and U. B (and the other consonants) bully the vowels, who tire of it and leave the farm, one by one. When they leave, they also leave the dialogue in the book. It makes for pretty funny reading by the time only U is left.
Picture Book Buzz: What other books have you written?
Shannon: I’ve been published three times in Chicken Soup for the Soul, and my fourth story comes out next year (May, 2019). I’m hoping to complete my memoir in the next few months, too. Otherwise, I’ve written several picture book manuscripts (both prose and rhyme), as well as one early chapter book.
Picture Book Buzz: What do you think readers will find most appealing about your book?
Shannon: It’s different. There’s nothing out there like it. And the stammering, stuttering animals are pretty hysterical. I mean, who doesn’t love a dog that brks and a duck that qucks?
Picture Book Buzz: Tell us about your illustrations and how you were involved with them if you were part of the process.
Shannon: I wish everyone had the chance to work with my editor, Sarah Rockett, at Sleeping Bear Press. She always considers my input and explains why she feels differently, when she does. She’s very wise, but also kind. I recently got sketches from my fabulous illustrator, Tom Disbury, and we’re going back and forth on those now. I feel very fortunate to have had Sarah champion my story.
Picture Book Buzz: If you could give advice to writers who haven’t published yet, or an earlier version of yourself, what would you want to share?
Shannon: LOL… I think I still need to follow this advice. Don’t give up. Don’t let the rejections get to you. They are an inevitable part of the process and, if you persevere, will make eventual success taste that much sweeter.
Picture Book Buzz: How can readers discover more about you and your work?
Shannon: I’d love for people to visit and subscribe to my website at www.shannonstocker.com. You can also connect with me on social media:
Twitter - @iwriteforkidz
Facebook - @shannon.o.stocker
Instagram - @iwriteforkidz
We are a group of picture book authors and illustrators whose first picture books will be released in 2019. Read about our roads to publication here.