When Heath and I moved to Norfolk six-and-a-half years ago, I immediately looked to connect with local children’s book writers. I soon learned that Norfolk doesn’t always have a “local” option, and I ended up finding writers who belonged to a Society for Children’s Book Writers & Illustators critique group that met at the Simsbury Library.
We read and constructively criticized each others’ work, attended conferences and retreats together, and supported each other through twists and turns on our respective paths to publication.
These last few weeks have brought some successes for my friends, and I’m so grateful to have been a part of them before we leave Norfolk in just six short weeks.
At the beginning of May, my friend Lynn celebrated the launch of her debut middle grade book, Chester and the Magic 8 Ball. I read chapters of Chester years ago. It’s about a toothless rescue dog who can predict the future with a Magic 8 ball.
Of course, I loved the story and I never gave up that Chester would someday be published.
I’m not the only one who loved the story, as it got a starred Kirkus Review. Here’s a snippet from the review: An uplifting middle-grade story that meets sadness head-on and cuddles up to what’s important in life.
As a writer, a starred Kirkus Review is a big deal and I am so happy for Lynn.
This past Saturday, my friend Mary celebrated the launch of her debut picture book Love Will Turn You Around. This bright and colorful story is about a heart who wakes up not feeling quite like himself. With the help of some well-meaning friends, all who are different shapes, Heart is able to turn himself right side up.
Mary’s book launch was a rousing success, complete with a rapt audience and lots of laughter and smiles.
When Mary thanked me for coming (it was a 48-minute drive), I told her, Of course! You’re never going to be a debut author again.
Six-and-a-half years ago, we were writers with dreams of being published as we sat in a conference room sharing our work and hoping that maybe this would be the manuscript that got us past the traditional publshing gate. Two of us have made it! Here’s to more successes and more books in our future!