Author Meeg Pincus & How her Love for Monarchs Turned into a Book- PLUS GIVEAWAY!

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Hello world!

Welcome to my book blog, Blissfully Bookish. For this Q & A, please welcome author Meeg Pincus as she discusses her nonfiction book WINGED WONDERS: Solving the Monarch Migration Mystery, illustrated by Yas Imamura and published by Sleeping Bear Press. Check out her journey below.

BUT first- YAY! Meeg is generously giving away a FREE copy of her book!! All you need to do is comment on this blog post. US residents only, contest ends October 2, 2020.

 

Please describe the journey to publication for this book.
I met my editor through a workshop critique, where she liked the original version of this story, which was a picture book biography of one little-known person involved in tracking the monarch butterfly migration. She offered on that book, then I ran into a big roadblock with the subject, so made the tough choice to not sign the contract and to put the story on a shelf and rethink it for a few months. (In the meantime, thankfully, the same editor acquired a different story of mine, which became our first picture book together, Miep and the Most Famous Diary!) After months of not knowing how to retell the monarch story, one day it hit me: this was not a story about one little-known person but about how many people it took to track this great migration over three decades. Once that hit me, the story flowed out. I sent the new version to my editor and it was (again, thankfully!) acquired.

Where did you draw the book’s inspiration?
I’ve always loved butterflies, wrote about them with wonder often in my youth. As a mom of young kids, I took them one day to see an IMAX film (in San Diego’s amazing domed science museum theater) about the monarch migration and I fell in love with monarchs specifically. I took the kids back to see the film two more times (!) and started digging more into the story of how the monarch migration was tracked. I felt it was a story full of wonder that could inspire kids to be solutionaries, which I think and hope it turned out to be!

What is your writing process, and does it vary depending on the project?
My writing process is, honestly, kind of sporadic. I’m not a writer who sits down at the same time every day or writes for a certain number of hours each week. As a homeschooling mom managing chronic health issues, I write when I can, in nooks and crannies of my days—in the car when the kids are at a lesson, during the hour they’re with their tutor, on the weekend when the rest of the family is at the pool, etc. When I get in the writing flow or I’m on a revision deadline, my family knows it—the dishes and laundry will pile up and the kids will step up and fend for themselves more, because Writer Mom is at work!

What draws you to the world of nonfiction?
For me, nonfiction feeds my passions for social justice, people’s history, emotional storytelling, constant learning, and creativity. To be able to read and write true stories about inspiring people, which may open people’s eyes to new understandings about the world, is the greatest gift and a great responsibility. I love reading nonfiction and writing it. I’m a curious researcher at heart (daughter of two professors!) and an emotional writer, so kidlit nonfiction allows me to use both to connect children to true stories that may open their minds and hearts.

Please paste a short and compelling excerpt from your book.
For centuries, up and down North America, every year brought a mystery. Monarch butterflies swooped in for a spell, like clockwork, from somewhere beyond—then disappeared as curiously as they came. Where do they go? People pondered from southern Canada…through the middle of the United States…and all the way to central Mexico.

Where do you see your career headed? Do you have other WIPs or projects in the pipeline you would like to mention?
My hope is to be able to just keep writing and publishing trade nonfiction picture books as I am now. I have three more NF PBs coming out in 2021—Cougar Crossing, Ocean Soup, and Make Way for Animals! (with Simon&Schuster/Beach Lane Books, Sleeping Bear Press, and Lerner/Millbrook)—and others on sub (fingers crossed!). I also hope to keep writing educational publisher picture books and doing teaching and editing projects, which I also enjoy. And I’m working on a passion project called #DiverseKidlitNF, to launch in 2021, to continue my work promoting diverse nonfiction picture books and diverse nonfiction kidlit creators, which is very important to me and I hope helps bolster the movement for more diversity in kidlit.

Please share your favorite books that have inspired you and served as mentor texts. Pick one classic and one contemporary book. What is it about them that moved you?
In the nonfiction picture book world, my first inspiration were the classic books by Jeannette Winter, like The Watcher and The Librarian of Basra. Her books showed me that I could tell the kind of “solutionary stories” I wanted to tell (with art!) in amazingly creative ways for kids. A contemporary mentor text for me is The Undefeated by Kwame Alexander and Kadir Nelson—this book took my breath away in its powerful message and creative approach. I love the innovative structure of it (with sparse poetry and stunning images in the main text and rich, informative back matter) and the emotionality of it—both elements I hope to infuse into my own books.

What is the best (one) piece of advice you would give to other writers?
There’s no one right way to be a writer. Write when you can, how you can, where you can—and write the stories that you can best tell from your heart.

And a bonus question just for kicks! If you could be any flavor of ice cream, which one would you be and why??
Oh, mint chocolate chip for sure! Refreshing, colorful, and not one thing (which definitely resonates with me).

BIO
Meeg Pincus is the author of six published and forthcoming nonfiction picture books about “solutionaries” who help people, animals, and the planet—including Kirkus starred reviewed Winged Wonders and Miep and the Most Famous Diary (which also received a School Library Journal starred review and was A Mighty Girl “Best Books of 2019” pick). A former newspaper reporter and college instructor, a humane educator and nonfiction book editor, Meeg has also authored 19 leveled readers for educational publishers and loves teaching nonfiction for SCBWI and The Writing Barn.

Social Media
Website: www.MeegPincus.com
Twitter: @MeegPincus
Book link: https://bookshop.org/books/winged-wonders-solving-the-monarch-migration-mystery/9781534110403

46 thoughts on “Author Meeg Pincus & How her Love for Monarchs Turned into a Book- PLUS GIVEAWAY!

    Kathryn Jean Hagen (@KathrynJHagen) said:
    September 30, 2020 at 3:02 pm

    Thank you, Meeg and Lydia for the interview. I’m fascinated by the Monarch migration and had hoped to visit their Mexican end-point soon, though COVID-19 has paused that dream. Reading Meeg’s book will keep that dream alive!
    Kathryn Hagen

    Liked by 1 person

      Lydia Lukidis responded:
      September 30, 2020 at 7:50 pm

      It’s a subject that seems to interest so many!

      Like

      daniellesharkan said:
      October 1, 2020 at 10:46 am

      This looks like a fascinating book, I would love to read it and share with my children, and learn more about Monarch migration!

      Like

    Jolene Ballard Gutiérrez said:
    September 29, 2020 at 11:19 pm

    Such a great interview! I’ve taught Monarchs and migration to my library students often, and I’m excited to share your book with them, Meeg! ❤

    Liked by 1 person

    Elizabeth Gallagher said:
    September 29, 2020 at 9:17 pm

    What a great blog post! I’ve been long fascinated with monarch butterflies and I can’t wait to get this one!! Thanks so much for the opportunity to win a copy for my students. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

      Lydia Lukidis responded:
      September 29, 2020 at 9:27 pm

      Good luck! I’m sure the kiddos would love that

      Like

    carencreateschildrensbooks said:
    September 29, 2020 at 9:16 pm

    Wow! I wish I had even HALF your energy, Ms. Mint Chocolate Chip! :o) Keep up the great work :o) You too, Lydia Lukidis! Thanks so much for sharing!

    Liked by 1 person

    Mary Beth Rice said:
    September 29, 2020 at 8:41 am

    I cannot wait to read this story about the Monarchs and all those who track and love them! I have always been fascinated with the Monarch migration ever since my four kids were little. We live in the heart of one of the migration paths (Nebraska) and were blessed to see them roost on a large Cottonwood one Labor Day weekend near a family cabin. It was a special!

    Liked by 1 person

    Meeg Pincus said:
    September 26, 2020 at 5:51 pm

    Thank you so much for the interview, Lydia, and to all for the great comments!

    Liked by 1 person

    ciaraoneal said:
    September 26, 2020 at 9:55 am

    Great interview, Lydia! What a great STEM book!

    Liked by 1 person

      Lydia Lukidis responded:
      September 27, 2020 at 11:24 am

      I love all STEM books, and this is definitely a good one 🙂

      Like

    Patricia Buckley said:
    September 25, 2020 at 7:54 pm

    I love this book and it’s messages about conservation and teamwork. I am an elementary school librarian and would love to share this book with my students at our Title 1 school. We have no funds for books.

    Liked by 1 person

      Lydia Lukidis responded:
      September 27, 2020 at 11:25 am

      OOOh what a great cause! Good luck 🙂

      Like

    markiszewski said:
    September 25, 2020 at 3:06 pm

    I was so fortunate to see these beautiful butterflies migrating a few years ago in Carmel-by-the-Sea, CA! It was magical!

    Thank you for sharing your journey writing NF. I’m a researcher at heart too and have recently found my love for writing NF picture books.

    Liked by 1 person

      Lydia Lukidis responded:
      September 27, 2020 at 11:26 am

      Welcome to the NF club! 🙂 And…I wish I could see this butterfly migration….

      Liked by 1 person

    chardixon47 said:
    September 24, 2020 at 6:36 pm

    Congratulations Meeg! I’m fortunate to be in the path of Monarchs. Their appearance is always thrilling. Thank you for sharing your journey into nonfiction. I look forward to reading your books!

    Liked by 1 person

    Kim A Larson said:
    September 24, 2020 at 5:26 pm

    Congratulations, Meeg! This is a wonderful story needing to be told. I have Monarchs (and caterpillars) in my flowerbed every year. It so fun to watch them. I’m sure children (and adults) will love your book.

    Liked by 1 person

      Lydia Lukidis responded:
      September 24, 2020 at 7:00 pm

      A great topic, written in a unique way 🙂

      Like

    Sarah Meade said:
    September 24, 2020 at 3:02 pm

    I love to hear about a story’s path to publication. Congratulations on this story! The cover is beautiful, and I look forward to reading it. Thanks for the interview, Lydia!

    Liked by 1 person

    adavis6385 said:
    September 24, 2020 at 10:46 am

    Oh my goodness, I love butterflies, and this story sounds amazing. 🦋 I visited a spectacular butterfly garden near Niagara Falls not too long ago and was in heaven! As a nonfiction PB writer myself, I related to many of the ideas Meeg expressed. Thank you for sharing about your inspiration and journey!

    Liked by 1 person

    Angie said:
    September 24, 2020 at 9:26 am

    I love the angle you took on this book. So many people love monarchs and are fascinated with their migration. Me too! Congrats on your lovely book! Can’t wait to read it!

    Liked by 1 person

    TerriMichels said:
    September 24, 2020 at 9:11 am

    Thank you for a good job!

    Liked by 1 person

    Ruthie Kirk said:
    September 24, 2020 at 7:48 am

    I love that you watched the IMAX movie 3 times! Sounds like something I would do.

    Liked by 1 person

    rosecappelli said:
    September 24, 2020 at 7:40 am

    Thanks for sharing your journey and process, Meeg. Sounds like a wonderful book. I found your book about Miep and the diary fascinating, and an example of how to approach a familiar subject from a different angle to learn more.

    Liked by 1 person

      Lydia Lukidis responded:
      September 24, 2020 at 10:01 am

      I agree- it’s all in how you present a topic. It makes a world of difference.

      Like

    Lindsey Hobson said:
    September 24, 2020 at 7:26 am

    The book is beautiful! Congratulations!

    Liked by 1 person

      Lydia Lukidis responded:
      September 24, 2020 at 10:01 am

      It is a beautiful book, that makes it extra gratifying….

      Like

    josetteabruzzini said:
    September 24, 2020 at 7:25 am

    I love that one specific passion started you, and so many of us, on the journey of writing kidlit! Your books encourage curiosity and wonder!

    Terrific interview. Thanks for sharing!

    Liked by 1 person

      Lydia Lukidis responded:
      September 24, 2020 at 10:02 am

      Inspiring curiosity and wonder in children is a wonderful thing- that’s why NF rocks 🙂

      Like

    Genevieve Gorback said:
    September 23, 2020 at 11:44 pm

    This story looks great. Monarch butterflies are FASCINATING! I went to college in Santa Barbara, which is one stop on their migration path. Seeing thousands of butterflies all in one place is just breathtaking.

    Thanks for introducing me to this book, Lydia!

    Liked by 1 person

      Lydia Lukidis responded:
      September 24, 2020 at 10:03 am

      My pleasure! And, I *wish* I could see their migration. Would be breathtaking….

      Like

    seschipper said:
    September 23, 2020 at 10:54 pm

    Thank you for telling us about your journey as a writer !looking forward to reading this book!
    🙂

    Liked by 1 person

      Lydia Lukidis responded:
      September 24, 2020 at 10:04 am

      I also love hearing author journeys…they’re often not linear. Thanks for stopping by!

      Liked by 1 person

    dinatowbin said:
    September 23, 2020 at 10:16 pm

    This sounds like such an interesting story on the monarch butterfly. Lots of friends in Peru track bird migration. I wonder if you could do a similar book tracking a unique bird. Thanks for sharing and congrats on all your success!

    Liked by 1 person

      Lydia Lukidis responded:
      September 23, 2020 at 10:23 pm

      I bet you could! Thanks for stopping by 🙂

      Like

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