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Magical Moonlight

Like many of you, not only do I write a blog, I follow blogs. One of them is Vivian Kirkfield’s blog, Vivian Kirkfield-Writer for Children, Picture Books Help Kids Soar blog on wordpress at http://www.viviankirkfield.com.

After reading Vivian’s blog about the debut picture book Mending the Moon, written by Emma Pearl, and illustrated by Sara Ugolotti, I entered a giveaway to win either a copy of the picture book, or a manuscript critique by the author. I won!

As I had already purchased Mending the Moon, I chose the picture book critique as my prize.

Emma provided me with an insightful and thoughtful review of the present state of one of my manuscripts. She acknowledged its strengths, pointed out its weaknesses and shared thoughts on how it could be improved. She’s even offered to reread it after I complete my revisions!

While in email contact with Emma, I asked if she would allow me to interview her. Emma graciously obliged.

As it’s easier to give attention to shorter posts, at this time of the year, I decided to devote this post to Emma’s beautiful debut book and will follow up with a post that shares Emma’s writing insights.

Mending the Moon, is a lovely tale of inter-connections. It shares the story of a child’s relationship to her grandfather, and their relationship to and with the natural world and its inhabitants.

When the full moon falls from the night sky, Luna wakes her grandfather to help her fix it. Together with the animals of the mountain, from the biggest to the smallest, they search for its broken shards. And when faced with the difficulty of putting the moon back together, the insect world lends its talents to the task. Finally, it takes all the world’s birds to hoist the moon into its proper space and make the world feel right.

MENDING THE MOON’S BOOK JOURNEY as shared by Emma Pearl

I have always loved reading and writing. Something about the magic of immersing yourself in a brand new world, whether it’s of your own creation or somebody else’s, never fails to get me tingling with excitement. It’s the anticipation of what might happen, all those possibilities. Stories are the ultimate human experience, allowing us to live through all kinds of extraordinary events and emotions that may or may not happen in our real lives. They allow us to learn, to believe in magic and to imagine.

I think I was three or four years old when I wrote my first story, a fully illustrated tale about a kind frog who befriended a lonely tree. I never really stopped after that. I’ve written countless stories, plenty of poetry and even a novel in my 20s. But it wasn’t until I had children of my own that I began to think about writing for young people, and it wasn’t until they had both started school that I had the time or the brain capacity to start getting serious about it. So in 2017 at the grand old age of 44, I set about learning how to write properly.

There’s such a wealth of information and resources available online for aspiring writers, and I quickly became immersed in the writing community. I was constantly amazed by the kindness and generosity of other writers – so many people at all levels of experience willing to give their time and knowledge freely to anyone who needed it. And I definitely needed it! 

In that first year of learning, I flitted between novel writing and picture book writing. This particular story started with a silly question – what if the moon fell out of the sky? From that start point, out tumbled four whole stories about Luna – a feisty, kind, brave little girl with a grandfather who guided and supported, allowed her to find answers but never took over. Together, they solved all kinds of natural mysteries and problems, helping to put the world back to how it should be. I knew instantly that the world I was creating filled me with excitement and wonder, but I never dreamed I would even share these stories with anyone else, let alone that Mending the Moon would end up being my publishing debut.

I wrote the four stories over a couple of days in 2017 and then forgot about them. I wrote a couple of novels and many more picture book texts. I began to enter online pitch contests with my PBs, not because I ever expected anything to come from them but because I enjoyed it and it was a great way to connect with other writers.

In 2020 I applied for the WriteMentor summer program with my MG novel and was surprised and delighted to be accepted for a 4-month mentorship with UK author Lu Hersey. It was a wonderful experience and an enormous boost to my confidence as well as my craft. In October that year I entered #PBPitch with several picture books. Again, I did it for the interaction. I didn’t truly believe that anyone got agent likes from those things. Well, I didn’t get an agent like but I got something even better – an editor like! Kayla Tostevin from Page Street Kids had seen my pitch and liked it. I could hardly believe it.

I sent her my manuscript, which in hindsight was still in need of some serious revising, and a week later she replied, saying she had some feedback and would love to see a revised version. We went backwards and forwards a few times. Revisions were hard, but Kayla’s vision was superb and I knew I was making the story stronger with her guidance. She had a quiet confidence that we could get it to a point where it could make it through acquisitions, but even if we didn’t manage to, the manuscript would be in great shape to submit elsewhere. And then, just before Christmas, I received the official offer of publication – a perfect way to finish a year that had otherwise been fairly horrendous on a global scale.

It’s a long path from contract to publication, but the whole process has been an absolute delight and I’m thrilled with how the book has turned out. Sara Ugolotti’s illustrations are out of this world and beyond anything I could have imagined. And best of all, one of the other Luna and Poppa stories, Saving the Sun, has also been contracted and will be out next Fall. It’s a dream come true.

A Litttle About Emma Pearl:

Emma writes fiction for all ages and is represented by Sera Rivers at Speilburg Literary. Mending the Moon is her debut picture book, and Saving the Sun will be published by Page Street Kids in September 2023. Emma is a picture book mentor for WriteMentor (2021/22) and a freelance editorial consultant for picture books. She lives with her family in New Zealand.

emmapearlauthor.com

Twitter/IG: @emmspearl

Purchase Mending the Moon through the links below:

Barnes and Noble

Bookshop.org US

Indiebound

Amazon US

Waterstones

Bookshop.org UK

Amazon UK

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The Devil is in the Details

Photo by lilartsy on Pexels.com

The phrase the devil is in the details refers to the specifics of a plan which, while seeming insignificant, may contain hidden problems that threaten its overall feasibility.

The necessity for specifics is obvious when writing works of non-fiction, but it is also an integral part of fiction, especially for world building.

What does this mean for writers? What does it all come down to?

The need for research, research, and more research.

On the whole, efforts spent researching are a good thing. The only negatives being its effect on time.

Researching, in itself, is a time consuming effort. Once decided upon it has the potential for, the almost inevitable, off-topic traveling. Research can, particularly for the less vigilant like myself, cause the researcher to veer from an intended destination.

This is a list of some of the topics I’ve researched: the Garuda, Esala Perahera, Holi, dragons, dryads, the green man, Herne, spotted eagle rays, sharks, NASCAR, Mushussu, gravitational ripples, Mexican spotted owls, and the list goes on.

All of them led to side trips down narrow alleys of previously unknown topics that, in some way, served the story or my curiosity.

To me, one of the most interesting things about research is coming across the unexpected. The discovery might cause me to revise or alter a premise, in order to make a situation or condition feasible, but that’s what so cool. I love incorporating something new into my overall understanding of the world and those in it. There’s always more to learn.

What have you researched? Where has it led you?

Please share,I’m curious.

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Calling All Readers!

Support authors, illustrators too, they need you.

Just think about it, they’ve poured all of themselves into creating that book you enjoyed. They’ve revised, reworked and fine tuned the words and images you escaped into. They’ve worked hard to get their book(s) published and made available to you.

They deserve a shout out, or a pat on the back, you know they do.

So, that book you’ve just started, or are mid-way through, or are close to finishing? Once you’re finished, use your power as a reader to share your thoughts.

Here are two super easy ways to do just that.

Give it a rating and a review.

It won’t take long. Ratings and reviews can be found on most bookselling sites as well as Goodreads.

You have the power. Books and their creators need your input. It’s a harsh publishing world out there. A little appreciation goes a long way.

Illustrator, Debi Ridpath Ohi says it all!

Your star rating and review can help new readers find and enjoy the book you loved. The more new readers that a book gets, the more likely it is that the writer and illustrator will have opportunities to publish again.

So please, take a few moments to flex your reading power. Help the authors and illustrators you enjoy have the opportunity to create more books. Your imagination will reap the benefits.

The Imaginators by Linda Scott is licensed under CC-BY-NC-ND 4.0