CAROL GORDON EKSTER: When I connected with Linda, I noticed how much we have in common. For the sake of brevity, I’ll just mention these two: We both loved Nancy Drew as children, and we both had the amazing experience of attending Jane Yolen’s picture book boot camp. Of course, I also love her beautifully written books and couldn’t wait to feature her at Writers’ Rumpus. Now you can learn more about her here.
Linda, I know that you and I both came to writing later in our lives. What in your earlier life led you to become a writer for children?
LINDA MARSHALL: I’ve always enjoyed writing but I didn’t think I had anything original or special to say. I grew up in the suburbs in a fairly normal family. I was the oldest of three kids. Other than my father’s bankruptcy, nothing very dramatic happened to us. We didn’t come from an exotic place. We didn’t have much trauma. My grandparents didn’t even have foreign accents. I thought I didn’t have “material.”
Then I grew up and realized “material” is all around. Now I have so many ideas for stories that finding time to write them all is a problem. A very good problem, indeed!
CGE: Can you tell us about your journey to becoming a published children’s author?
LM: I used to think the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators was for people who knew what they were doing, who were bona fide writers. After all, it was a Society! One day, though, I summoned all my courage and attended an SCBWI meeting. I felt wonderfully welcome.
One meeting led to another …and another…and to attending conferences. I learned more about craft and my skills as a writer improved.
At one conference, an editor reviewed two of my manuscripts. She didn’t like either of them and I asked why. I listened to her thoughts, took careful notes, and, based on what I’d learned, revised both manuscripts and re-submitted them.
That’s how my first two manuscripts were acquired!
CGE: You have a new book coming out with Peter Pauper Press this fall. Can you tell us the story behind the story?
LM: My book, MOMMY, BABY, AND ME, illustrated by the wonderfully talented Ged Adamson and published by Peter Pauper Press, is slated for release in October, 2017.
MOMMY, BABY, AND ME is about a dog that feels displaced when its human “mommy” has a human baby. It was inspired by my own dog’s reaction when I came home with my first child. My dog felt displaced; he had to adjust. When my second child was born, my first child had to adjust. Dog or human, we often have to adjust to changes.
Of course, humor goes a long way in helping us adjust!
CGE: Can you tell us about some of the lows and highs of your career?
LM: It’s exciting to get good news…and not fun to get rejections. It’s always fun to come up with a good new idea…and not fun to worry about when – or how – the next good idea will blossom. Some days are just better than others.
Fortunately, there’s ice cream.
I am fortunate in that several of my books were chosen as PJ Library Selections.
My bilingual (English/Spanish) Rainbow Weaver (Lee & Low, 2016) was listed on the Bank Street College of Education’s recommended books for 2016.
The Passover Lamb (Random House, 2013) was selected as a Notable Book by the Sydney Taylor Award Committee.
These things make me feel wonderful…and they’re less fattening than ice cream!
CGE: What advice do you have for new writers trying to get into the children’s publishing market?
LM: Persistence. Persistence. Persistence. Work as hard as you can. Listen to advice. Dot your “i’s” and cross your “t’s.” Have fun. Write important stuff. Eat ice cream.
CGE: What does the future hold for Linda Marshall?
LM: I’m revising a middle-grade novel that I hope to send back to my agent (the wonderful Christa Heschke of McIntosh & Otis) soon. I’m also working on an idea for a chapter book series. I’m trying my hand at non-fiction. I’m exploring lots of things, learning, challenging myself, and having fun.
I currently serve as the Picture Book Mentor for my SCBWI chapter. I truly enjoy helping other writers. I look forward to helping writers in other venues, as well.
CGE: Please check out Linda’s tightly written beautiful books and you can also connect with her here:
Thanks, Karen. #Kidlit folks are awesome!
Wonderfully inspiring post. Thanks to both of you.
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