In one week, my next picture book will be out in the world. This release is especially exciting for me because this is my solo debut. Each of my previous books was written with Corey Rosen Schwartz, and they were all special and exciting for their own reasons. But this one is my own. And let me tell you, the experience with this book has been so much different than the ones I've written with Corey.
First off, writing this one was faster. This was in part due to the fact that it is a fractured fairy tale that follows the plot of Little Red Riding Hood fairly closely. But also, there wasn't any back-and-forth. No waiting until Corey and I both had time to write. No arguing over which rhyme was best for the second line in the fourth stanza. No debating about plot or direction or whether we had chosen the right meter. Now, don't get me wrong, the back-and-forth when writing with Corey is a good thing. When we are on a roll, we are like iron sharpening iron. We bring out the best in each other's writing. And it's thanks in part to my years writing with her that I even wrote FEDERICO in the first place. But writing FEDERICO was different. Not better or worse. Different.
Second, this book sold faster! I wrote the book in January of 2017 and it sold in November of the same year. There are a lot of things that factored into that, not the least of which is that my agent at the time sent it to exactly the right people. And the timing for a diverse, modern retelling of Little Red Riding Hood was perfect. And those books I wrote with Corey probably didn't hurt either.
For this book, once it sold I was on my own in a lot of ways. There was no one else to share the waiting with (besides my long-suffering husband and children). No one to fret with about whether the publisher would choose the perfect illustrator (they did!). No one to help in the preparations of promotional materials or brainstorm marketing ideas. I was free to do what I wanted, but it was daunting and a bit overwhelming. Fortunately, the books I published (and promoted) with Corey taught me a lot, and I've been pleasantly surprised at how much I have been able to do on my own. Not to mention how supportive the writing and reading community around me has been throughout this journey. Especially Corey.
Of course, the launch of this book will also be quite different than those I wrote with Corey, mainly because of Covid-19 and all of the shut-downs and social distancing it has brought about. There will be no in-person book signings for a while. No book store or library readings. But I'm adapting and having plenty of fun doing online promotion, and I look forward to doing in-person events in the--hopefully near--future.
In the meantime, if you'd like to join in the online fun, I hope you'll join me for the Federico Fiesta, a virtual launch party I'm having on my Facebook page. The fun happens on the book's launch day, May 19, 2020 from 10:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. I hope to see you there!