Rosie Pova and I have been friends in the kidlit world for many years. We’ve crossed paths in many capacities, but most recently, we’ve both become Rate Your Story Judges. I’m thrilled to feature her on Writer’s Rumpus today!
Kirsti Call: What inspired you to write SUNDAY RAIN?
Rosie Pova: Sunday Rain was born from a prompt I gave myself to write a “moment-in-time” story. As I brainstormed about what that moment could be, a childhood memory of playing in the rain popped into my head: I was swirling and twirling in delight, soaking wet, in a heavy summer rain.
The words started pouring out of me (no pun intended). I finished a first draft pretty quickly even though, other than that initial spark I took from that memory, the story had nothing to do with the actual event from my childhood.
Looking back at my records to refresh my memory, I saw that the original title I wrote was SUNDAY RAIN INVITATION.
KC: Can you tell us a little bit about the writing and publishing process for this book?
RP: Yes, absolutely! As I mentioned above, I wrote the story from a prompt. The reason for that was an above-the-slush-pile opportunity that we had through 12×12 to submit to a small publisher, and this was one of the types of stories they were looking for. I like challenging myself and I also always target my submissions, sending what I believe is a best fit for a specific publisher. But since I didn’t have anything in my existing body of work that matched their taste and that they hadn’t already seen, I decided to write a new story and try my chances. I didn’t want to miss that rare above-the-slush-pile opportunity.
On 8/9/16 I sent it off to that publisher. I don’t think I ever heard back.
I put the story away for a while. Then in 2017 I sent it out to a couple more publishers and got rejections. I knew the story was special though and I believed in it — it was just a matter of finding the right home for it since it was more on the quiet, lyrical side.
In 2018 I sent it out again to just a handful of houses that I thought were a good fit for the story. One of them was Lantana Publishing. My submission was sent in July 2018 and per their guidelines at the time, they only replied if interested, within six weeks.
When more than six weeks had passed, I assumed it was a rejection and scratched them off my list whenever I was updating my records.
At the end of October I was very surprised to see an email from Lantana in my inbox. Still, I automatically assumed it was a rejection and wondered why they were emailing me almost three months later to tell me that since I already knew it by the missed 6-week deadline of reply with interest.
Well, I was shocked to see that the editor wanted to know if the story was still available!
Oh, happy day! Yes, the story was still available!
She asked for some minor revisions, mainly replacing a few words that had different spelling in British and American English — like mom, neighborhood etc. — since they were a UK based publisher and the book would be available in both markets. There was one spread where the editor wanted me to add a transition, and also change “prince” to “princess.”
I gladly did the revisions, of course, and soon after, they offered me a contract!
Later on, we changed another word, but it that case, it really made a life or death difference to a character that is in a story within the story. I’ll let you figure it out when you read the book. 😉
I am truly happy and grateful that my moment-in-time story found the perfect home and that I got to work with a brilliant editor who elevated the story so much with just a few tweaks, who always listened to my feedback, and who is a passionate advocate for diverse books and underrepresented voices!
The book release had to be postponed a couple of times — once to redo the design and once because of the pandemic — but it’s finally coming out into the world on March 2, 2021 and I can’t wait to share it with kids!
Sunday Rain is a story about imagination, the love of books, and new friendships.
Signed copies can be pre-ordered HERE.
KC: This book is very lyrical. I especially love the line: “Outside smelled like wet grass and flowers and the pages of a new book”. Did the lyricism just come, or did you add that in later as you revised?
RP: Thank you, Kirsti — this compliment means a lot!
Actually, that’s how I originally wrote the story. I knew from the very first line I penned that I wanted this to be a story that reads like a free verse poem. I also wanted to use onomatopoeia throughout so that it would make for a good read-aloud. I strived for sensory details and evocative imagery — that was just the tone and feeling I had for this particular story, and that’s how it came out of me at the time I wrote it.
I don’t take that for granted though — I must say that this is all due to a lot of practice and honing my craft for almost two decades. After so many years of writing and revising and critiquing other people’s work, I am now able to make those deliberate decisions on the go, and write with purpose. I have a much better understanding of storytelling, compared to earlier years, and so I can focus much more effectively on what I’d like to accomplish with each story.
Having that clarity makes the process quite enjoyable! 🙂
KC: What’s your favorite childhood memory with rain?
RP: It’s that same vivid childhood memory I mentioned above that sparked the idea for the book: warm, summer rain poring over me! All my friends ran for shelter, but I stayed right where we were playing, in front of our apartment building, spread my arms wide open and enjoyed the shower. Everything smelled wonderful and felt happy in that moment.
KC: What advice would you give aspiring authors?
RP: Read in your genre and read a lot! Then write, practice, experiment and revise without fear and as often as you can. Free yourself from judgment. Instead, learn how to be analytical. If you get stuck, seek help, invest in yourself, be open-minded and move forward. A lot of writers focus on the failures, but I’d suggest focusing on the progress.
And finally, embrace the journey, trust in the process, and treat your craft with kindness, respect and joy!
Rosie J. Pova is a multi-published, award-winning children’s author, poet, speaker, and writing coach on a mission to inspire children not only to read and write more, but to use their creativity, follow their passions, dream big and believe in themselves. She is also a Writing Instructor for the Dallas Independent School District through The Writer’s Garret, an instructor with Writing Workshops Dallas, teaching picture book courses to children’s writers, and the founder of two children’s writing contests ― KWEST and Haiku Hype ― as well as the organizer of The Write Universe Kidlit Writers Workshops in Dallas, TX. She also serves as a judge for Rate Your Story.
Rosie visits schools and shares her inspirational journey as an immigrant from Bulgaria and how she became a published author, encouraging kids to persist, push through obstacles, and hold a high vision of themselves.
She also speaks on many women’s topics and has appeared on radio and print media.
Her upcoming picture book, Sunday Rain, celebrates imagination, the love of books, and new friendships. You can pre-order a signed copy HERE. Her other upcoming picture book, The School of Failure: A Story About Success will be released in spring of 2022. Visit Rosie at http://www.rosiejpova.com.
Social Media Links:
Twitter: @RosiePOV [https://twitter.com/RosiePOV]
Rosie, congratulations on your success and thank you for your encouraging words. I look forward to reading Sunday Rain and am greatly intrigued about The School of Failure: A Story About Success!
Thank you, Laura 🙂 I hope you enjoy Sunday Rain and I can’t wait to share The School of Failure — I’m super excited about that book, too.
Thanks for sharing your path to publication! I’ve put SUNDAY RAIN on my want to read list!
Yay! Thank you for your support. 🙂
When you know, you know! Good for you for believing in your story!
Thank you 🙂
Lovely interview. Thank you for sharing your journey. I look forward to reading SUNDAY RAIN.
Thanks for stopping by, Claire 🙂 I hope you enjoy the book!
Congratulations on the new book! It looks adorable.
Aw, thank you so much! 🙂
Such a great interview. Congrats, Rosie. Your persistence and the belief in your story paid off! I loved reading about your journey.
Thanks, Marty — I appreciate your support 🙂
Rosie, I love your advice to ‘focus on the progress.’ Thank you!
Yes, Micki — that feels much better, right? 🙂
Good for you! This looks adorable and brings to mind the fun times I had playing in the rain! Congratulations!
I’m glad it resonated with you, Angie — thanks for reading! 🙂
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Wow, Rosie! I love your courage — to give yourself a writing prompt and then write like it’ll be published! Thank you for the inspiration!
Thanks, Patricia — we have to believe in our stories first, before anyone else does, too, right?! 😉
Congratulations, Rosie! Wonderful interview. I love hearing about the journey!
Thanks, Lisa 🙂