Rosie Pova has two books coming out soon and her debut picture book, If I Weren’t With You, came out only last week! I’m thrilled to interview her for Writers’ Rumpus.
Kirsti Call: If I Weren’t With You is a beautiful tribute to motherhood and the love between parent and child. What was your inspiration?
Rosie J. Pova: The initial spark for the story came from a tragic, heartbreaking event that took place in our country a few years ago. I’m talking about a devastating school shooting.
I was watching the news and a psychologist mentioned the surviving siblings of the victims and the complexity of emotions they were going through as well as the parent/child relationship in the aftermath.
That’s when the kernel for the story appeared. It was going to be about this little bear cub who had a sibling but something happened to him, and it would show the cub’s emotions and how his relationship with his mother changed.
But that topic was extremely heavy and sensitive, and as I started drafting the story, I’m not surprised that the plot drifted away from the original idea and took a very different direction.
KC: When did you write it, and how long did it take to get your publishing contract?
RJP: I wrote this story in the spring of 2013 and was offered a publishing contract for it in the summer of 2016, so a little over three years.
KC: You’ve got several books in the works. Which one is your favorite and why?
RJP: Oh, it’s tough to pick a favorite because I like each one in a different way. I’ve experienced so much with every book’s journey, I’ve learned a lot from every story and inserted a piece of myself in each character. All of the books have shaped me as a writer, creating special memories for me. So I’m not picking a favorite 🙂
KC: What new projects are you working on?
RJP: So many! I’m hoping that my agent and I will go out on submission with some more picture books soon so I’m excited about that. She’s currently reviewing four of my manuscripts and I’m anxious to get her notes and start polishing. Those stories are very different from the bear book – they fall into the quirky, funny category–so I can’t wait to see where they find a home and to be able to share them with readers.
My other priority is to finish my young adult novel and finally send it to my agent. I’m super excited about it, too.
I also have a rough outline for a sequel to the middle grade which I intend to revisit soon and work on a draft, if the first book takes off. I still keep writing new picture books and brainstorming ideas all the time. Of course, a huge portion of my time now goes to marketing and promotion, booking school and library visits and all sorts of other writer activities that don’t have to do with actual writing.
So a lot is going on to keep me busy and I love it!
KC: What advice would you give to aspiring kidlit authors?
Read a lot. Connect with the community. Be flexible and open-minded in your writing and in the direction you take on your writer’s journey. Understand that making progress and finding success are your responsibility and no one else’s: your actions create your path. Always be kind.
Thank you Rosie! I especially love your advice to kidlit writers! To see my review of If I Weren’t With You, go here!
Rosie J. Pova is a children’s author, poet, wife and a mama bear of three. She’s originally from Bulgaria, now living in Texas with her family.