Welcome to my book blog, Blissfully Bookish. For this Q & A, please welcome my friend who was once my agency sister, the talented Lisa Gerin! I witnessed her landing a new agent, subbing her work, and then signing a contract. Here she is, discussing her new book Rosalind Looked Closer: An Unsung Hero of Molecular Science illustrated by Chiara Fedele and published by Beaming Books.
BUT first- YAY! Lisa is generously giving away a FREE PB critique (non-rhyming, <1000 words). To be eligible to win, please enter the Rafflecopter contest by clicking HERE. Contest ends June 17, 2022.
Please describe the journey to publication for Rosalind Looked Closer: An Unsung Hero of Molecular Science.
The book’s first draft was written back in 2018. I queried agents with it and my agent Rena Rossner of DHLA signed me with it in early 2019. She sent it out on sub quickly after that. We sold it to Naomi Krueger at Beaming Books about a year later. Then COVID hit and my 2021 release date was put off by a year. So, it will be four years from first writing it to its release this summer of 2022!
Where did you draw the book’s inspiration?
I’m always looking for unsung heroes in history and science to write about. I was surprised to see that there were no American children’s picture book bios about Rosalind’s life story. She overcame so many obstacles and I felt it was time kids knew her inspiring STEM story.
What is your writing process, and does it vary depending on the project?
I mostly write biography, so I get started by collecting my research facts. Usually I start off with an inspiring quote by the person I’m writing about. What about their life makes him/her kid-friendly and relatable? I’m playing around recently with the format of the bio, writing in verse; using sidebars on the page. These days you have to be very creative to sell certain picture book genres.
But I always want to have great backmatter for teachers, librarians and kids who want to read further and learn more about the subject I’ve written about.
Please paste a short and compelling excerpt from your book.
Rosalind mixed and measured as she studied chemistry. She poured bright blue liquids into glass beakers. She computed difficult math problems, balanced equations, and never gave up until she had the solution. Rosalind always took a closer look.
Do you have other WIPs or projects in the pipeline you would like to mention?
I am currently out on sub with a creative nonfiction picture book about animals and plants of the Sonoran Desert, where I live! I’m also working on revising another creative nonfiction book in hopes of sending it to an editor soon!
Please share your favorite books that have inspired you and served as mentor texts.
I love the picture book biographies written by Jen Bryant, Tanya Lee Stone. Kirsten Larson’s WOOD, WIRE, WINGS about a woman engineer/inventor is a current bio I love.
What is the best piece of advice you would give to other writers?
REVISE, REVISE, REVISE!! And then, REVISE SOME MORE!
And a bonus question just for kicks! If you could be any animal, what would you be and why?
I have two cats, so I’m going to say cat. Life is sweet when you are a feline; you are basically the boss of your humans. You can give and get unconditional love from a cat.
Lisa Gerin is a former elementary librarian and high school teacher with a Masters’ degree in Education. She had a satisfying career working with children, teaching reading and writing to grades PreK through 12 in New York and New Jersey. She writes creative nonfiction and especially loves writing biography. She lives in Tucson, Arizona, but was raised in New York City. Lisa loves animals and nature, especially her rescue kittens, Thor and Cleo.
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