I joined a critique group, wrote lots of picture books, accepted Corey's offer to write together, wrote more picture books (including WHAT ABOUT MOOSE?), revised and submitted, revised and submitted, then Corey got an editor's attention with one of our other stories, but it didn't work out, so we submitted others until, finally, the editor fell in love with WHAT ABOUT MOOSE? and made us an offer!
It's hard to know where to begin. Do I tell you about how much I loved to write poetry since I was old enough to write? Do I explain the way I transitioned from a wannabe poet to an aspiring author? Do I tell you about all the successes and failures and bone-jarring bumps along the road?
I'll skip most of the boring stuff and tell you that there came a time in my life when I surprised myself by wanting to write stories for kids. Picture books, mostly. Novels too, but those came a bit later.
I did a lot of reading about writing, and I followed some basic advice: w
rite a lot, read a lot, and join a critique group. I became involved with a wonderful and talented group of aspiring children's authors, many of whom have gone on to have varying degrees of success in the world of children's publishing.
One of those people was Corey Rosen Schwartz, who eventually asked me if I would like to collaborate with her on a project. I was hesitant at first, primarily because I was a greedy little hoarder that didn't like the idea of sharing credit. But Corey was a good writer, and she already had a book deal, so I decided that it would be pretty dumb for me to say no.
We wrote and wrote and wrote. In the process of working together, we both stretched and grew as authors, and we wrote some pretty darn cute rhyming stories with fabulously fun language and meticulous meter.
Our work got some attention from editors and agents. But nothing stuck. So while we continued to work together, we also each pursued our own writing. I sold lots of stories and poems to children's magazines and wrote a few novels for older kids. Corey got an agent, attended conferences, and eventually sold THE THREE NINJA PIGS.
It was at one of those conferences that Corey showed one of our stories to Emma Ledbetter, an assistant editor at Atheneum. Emma loved our manuscript and wanted to see it after revisions. Unfortunately, it didn't work out for that story, or for the next two we sent her. But the good news was that Emma really wanted to work with us! So, Corey and I decided to take another look at a story we had written way back in 2007, WHAT ABOUT MOOSE?
We polished it up, sent it to Emma, and waited.
And you know the rest!