Corey Rosen Schwartz writes action-packed picture books that appeal to girls and boys and parents! Her rhyming meter is fun to read and reread and believe me, at our house we love Corey’s books! I’m grateful that Corey is sharing her wisdom with Writers’ Rumpus!
Kirsti Call: What is your favorite thing about being an author?
Corey Rosen Schwartz: The best thing, without a doubt, is hearing from readers. When I get an email from a parent telling me that her preschooler carries my book around with him everywhere or I see a photo on Twitter of a kid who decided to dress up as a Ninja Pig for Halloween, it totally melts my heart!
KC: What is your least favorite thing about being an author?
CRS: I would say it’s when people who have NEVER taken a class or read a single article about writing come up to me and say, “I’ve written a book. Can you tell me how to get it published?” This drives me crazy!
KC: How long did it take you to publish your first book?
CRS: I got my first contract in under two years. But it took me six and a half years before I got my second! In addition to skill, there is a lot of luck involved. You have to get the right manuscript to the right person at the right time!
KC: What is your favorite book that you’ve written, and why?
CRS: The Three Ninja Pigs is my favorite. But I have a Home Alone parody that I wrote with Becky Gomez that’s a close second. “A little chick gets accidentally left behind when his family goes on vacation and has to fend off two hungry foxes.” I can’t figure out why this one hasn’t sold. Ha. Who doesn’t love booby traps and chicken puns?
KC: How many of your stories are published and does that help you when you are submitting?
CRS: I have four picture books out and three more under contract. But to be honest, it really doesn’t seem to help! I once heard a panelist at a conference say, “Don’t take rejection personally. I’ve sold over 45 books and I still occasionally get a form letter. That should make you feel better.” It actually made me feel worse. Ha! One would think it would get easier, but every manuscript is judged on its own merits. So, it is sort of like rolling a dice. The odds don’t change regardless of what happened on previous rolls.
KC: We love your books at our house. In fact, my daughter started dressing up as a ninja after we first read The Three Ninja Pigs. What’s the best child’s response you’ve gotten to your books?
CRS: Well, my college roommate told me that her two-year-old pretty much has The Three Ninja Pigs memorized and he constantly goes up to strangers at the supermarket and yells, “I’m a certified weapon, so watch where you’re steppin’!” That image cracks me up.
KC: Two of your books are co-written. How did you end up partnering other writers?
CRS: I am the type of person who doesn’t work well alone. I sought out a partner from the very beginning. I lack the discipline to write regularly so a partner helps me stick to a schedule. But it’s more than that. I just need to think out loud and I love the process of bouncing ideas back and forth. For me, it’s like tennis…impossible to get a rally going without another person.
CRS: I meet with Becky, my writing partner, every Monday and Wednesday at 10:30. (We work in a Google Doc. We have actually never met in person!) The hardest part for us is coming up with an idea that we are both excited about. Once we have that, we try to get through the first draft quickly. Nearly all of our manuscripts are in rhyme, but we focus on STORY first. After we have a draft, we can spend weeks or months tweaking and perfecting the meter.
KC: What projects are you working on right now?
CRS: Becky and I just finished up a truck manuscript. Mack and Rig are best buddies who go out for a joyride one night and accidentally get separated. My agent is subbing it now. So… we are back to the brainstorming process! (Ugh!)
KC: If you could be a character in one of your books, which one would you be, and why?
CRS: Oh, gosh, I will say Ninja Red Riding Hood because she is so self-reliant. Pretty sure she could figure out how to use her iPhone without asking a five year old for help!
Corey is the author of HOP! PLOP! (Walker, 2006), THE THREE NINJA PIGS (Putnam, 2012) GOLDI ROCKS AND THE THREE BEARS (Putnam, 2014) and NINJA RED RIDING HOOD (Putnam, 2014). Corey has no formal ninja training, but she sure can kick butt in Scrabble. She lives with three Knuckleheads in Warren, New Jersey.