Happy Friday, everyone! Shannon here.
I have such a treat for you today. It is my great privilege to introduce you all to my friend, Rose Cooper. An amazing author and illustrator, Rose's career inspires me to reach far and wide as I meander down my own road. She kindly agreed to let me throw a few questions her way. Would you like to eavesdrop?
Of course you would! It's fun to be a fly on the wall!
Shannon: Lovely, Rose! You know I adore your books and your illustrations. Which came first for you, the writing or the drawing?
Rose: Thank you! The writing came first. I loved to draw as a kid, but it never occurred to me to try illustrating my stories until I came up with a middle grade book idea that demanded images with the text. Even then, I only considered the drawings as a way to show an agent and then an editor, the full concept of my idea. I never expected to illustrate my books but I am so grateful I was given that opportunity. Now, I can’t imagine not illustrating my books.
S: I can honestly say no one has ever asked me to draw them a thing. And I am so glad! But you! I love that you haven’t pigeonholed yourself into one genre. You write these fun middle grade books but also produce hilarious comics for women. How do you decide where to focus your energies and what does your writing schedule look like?
R: My focus is first with the priority. If I have a deadline for a book or for greeting cards (comics), then I focus my attention on that. If I’m between deadlines, then I work on whichever creatively moves me. Sometimes I will have a great idea for a story that I must start writing, but the next day I will be inspired by something funny for one of the comics and I’ll work on that.
Last year I quit my day job and went full time with my creative career. I still keep a “work schedule” of sorts and set goals so that I can get work accomplished, especially on days where I’m not motivated. I work 8am-3:30pm each day (when the kids are in school) and then I usually draw in the evening, since that relaxes me.
S: I love hearing how other authors structure their days. It reminds me that there is no ONE WAY. Lots of ways work.
Now, I know authors hate this question, but where did you get the idea for your middle grade novel I Text Dead People? What inspired you?
R: I actually love this question! There are so many places to get inspiration. The Idea for I Text Dead People was actually inspired by my teen years. My mom married a mortician and we moved to a very small town. It was difficult starting over at a new school where everyone grew up together and I was basically an “outsider.” It also didn’t help my social status that I lived on the cemetery grounds and my mom became a cosmetician for dead people. At the time, I thought I had the worst life ever. As I grew up, I found the humor in it. I’m a fan of paranormal, so I added ghosts to the story and I Text Dead People was born.
S: Oh my gosh! How did I not know this about you? I think we need to talk more when we hang out. Talk more, write less!
Tell me this, what’s your favorite part of the writing / illustrating process? Any part of it you absolutely dread?
R: I love having ideas and then turning those ideas into something of substance—whether it’s a story or an illustration. I love that feeling of excitement while creating. It’s a great motivator. I enjoy the whole process—from beginning to end and all the many revisions in between—but if there is one thing I dread, its deadlines. When I know I have to do something by a certain date, my creativity suddenly shuts off. It’s probably just the pressure of the looming deadline, but I stress more about everything and that sucks the fun out of creating. But, I always push through it and remind myself that without deadlines, there wouldn’t be any books.
S: Isn't that the truth? Deadlines are a necessary evil. Any advice for our teen writers?
R: Never give up. I know that sounds pretty cliché, but it’s so completely true. Giving up is so easy, especially when things aren’t going great. There will always be rejection, bad reviews, and many negatives at any stage of your career. It doesn’t stop once you publish one book or several. You just need to remember it’s all worth it, once you accomplish what you’ve set out to achieve. You can’t become successful if you quit. And you don’t want to have any regrets about “what could’ve happened” if you don’t try.
S: See, you guys!? She's brilliant. Listen to her.
Alright, Rose. I'll let you go, but before I do, you must know I’m dying to get a peek at what you’re working on now. Can you share?
R: I’m finished with the deadlines for my next book, The Ungrateful Dead (the 2nd book to I Text Dead People), which comes out September 13, 2016. I’m taking this time to now work on several works in progress, including a picture book and a chapter book. I would also love to complete a graphic novel for young readers. So while nothing is definite yet, I hope to have something new to bring readers soon!
S: I sincerely hope so too! THANK YOU so much for visiting with us Rose!!! Coffee soon, alright?
AND YOU ALL! My lovely teen writers. To celebrate our Friday with Rose, we're giving away her spooky and delightful middle grade novel, I Text Dead People.
You guys, she did these illustrations HERSELF. How amazing is that? You want this book. So, use the Rafflecopter below and enter. The giveaway will run until next Thursday when I'll draw a name to be announced on Friday.
And please check out Rose's work. You can find her all over the web.
Happy reading, everyone! Write on!