PictureBookBuzz: Tell us about yourself.
Natalee: I was born in Charlottetown, Prince Edward Island (famous for Lucy Maude Montgomery’s Anne of Green Gables) but grew up in Ontario. When I was young we lived in Rodney, a small town of about 1000 people. Although it didn’t have a high school, there was a tiny library, and on Friday evenings my mom would walk with my brother and sisters and me to pick out new books for the week. Sometimes we even borrowed records! On the way home we always stopped at the “candy store.” (Actually a Canadian chain of discount department stores.) Walking home with our allotted 8 books and a sweet treat we felt like the luckiest kids in the world.
I've worked as an elementary teacher and public librarian. At first I used teaching to justify my collection of children's books. Then I had a son and daughter and they became my excuse. Now I can definitely claim it's part of my job!
My husband is American and our family has bounced between living in the United States and South Korea several times. It sometimes feels like we have three homes (Canada, the U.S. and South Korea) and yet none. Indeed wherever we are currently living, as long as we are together, is home.
PictureBookBuzz: What inspired your book, WHEN DAY IS DONE?
Natalee: I wish I had a good story to tell you here but the truth is I have no earthly idea! All I remember is that at some point the words “we sleep when day is done” popped into my head so I wrote them down. This was when I was working part-time at a library and being intentional about sitting at my kitchen table and writing - or at least trying to. The rest of the first verse came to me quickly, and then I wrote the other verses over the following days and weeks. If you make it a priority to sit down and write, eventually inspiration will strike. I’m sure I didn’t manage to write every single day, nor did I write for hours and hours at a time, but showing up to do the work - even when it's bits and pieces - will get results. Frankly, my present writer self still needs to be reminded of this!
PictureBookBuzz: What other books have you written?
Natalee: I have another picture book that will be published in April of 2019 titled Nothing. It's a joyful celebration of the promise in Romans 8:38,39 that nothing can separate us from God’s love. Joseph Cowman’s illustrations are amazing, and I can’t wait to share it with the world!
PictureBookBuzz: What do you think readers will find most appealing about your book?
Natalee: I think WHEN DAY IS DONE is the perfect book to read snuggled in tight with someone you love. I could see WHEN DAY IS DONE being used as a spoken lullaby by parents who don’t consider themselves singers. Also, I love the way illustrator Robert Dunn has used light so that the pages - in particular the last pages -almost seem to glow!
PictureBookBuzz: Was there one moment in the revision process that changed your manuscript? Was it a critique partner, an agent, an editor that made you know you were on the right track?
Natalee: My agent, Adria Goetz, usually gives me editorial input on a manuscript before going out on submission. In this case she sent WHEN DAY IS DONE to Naomi Krueger from Beaming Books, who was considering a different manuscript and had asked to see some other work. Adria and I hadn't discussed WHEN DAY IS DONE in detail yet, but Naomi loved it and soon we had an offer! WHEN DAY IS DONE is being published exactly as I submitted it. It didn't go through a critique group because I was not part of one at the time. Please note that this is not typical and I have since found a wonderful critique group whose feedback I find tremendously helpful! Also, my other picture book NOTHING took the usual route of going through several rounds of revisions with an editor which definitely made it stronger and more kid-friendly.
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?
Natalee: Read, read read! Read deeply in the genre and age category in which you wish to publish. Also, read aloud – your own writing, as well as mentor texts. Reading aloud forces you to slow down and focus on every word - no skimming. I usually find that this process changes how I feel about a book - I tend to either love it more or less. I also recommend keeping a file of your favorite sentences or paragraphs from the books you read. Periodically go back to this file and reread the sentences - for enjoyment, inspiration, or to try to figure out what makes them so pleasing. Also, if you want to be a writer, have the mindset of a writer: don't take rejection personally, always be willing to learn, and never give up!
PictureBookBuzz: How can readers discover more about you and your work?
Natalee: You can visit my website at www.nataleecreech.com.
Or, connect with me on social media:
Twitter - @nataleecreech
Facebook - @nataleecreechauthor
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.