Cross posted on As The Eraser Burns
Egg is not hatching.
No way. No how.
It is too scary out there.
Peep wants Egg to hatch so they can do fun things together, like watch the sunrise, splash in puddles, and play hide-and-seek.
But Egg is not cracking…
Joyce Wan’s bright and bold illustrations will have young chickies giggling at Laura Gehl’s reassuring tale that takes the not out of I’m not.
“Delightful and right on target.” -Kirkus
“Kids will get a kick out of Peep and Egg’s hilarious antics, and adults will be grateful for the breezy introduction to conversations about fears.” -Booklist
“Gehl’s just-enough text delivers a spot-on channeling of a coaxing parent and oppositional child, while Wan blends expressive emoji-like characters (even unhatched, Egg has a vividly cranky personality) with ingeniously geometric settings.” -Publishers Weekly
Laura Gehl is the author of ONE BIG PAIR OF UNDERWEAR, a Charlotte Zolotow Highly Commended Title, International Literacy Association Honor Book, and Booklist Books for Youth Editors’ Choice for 2014; HARE AND TORTOISE RACE ACROSS ISRAEL and AND THEN ANOTHER SHEEP TURNED UP (both PJ library selections for 2015); and the PEEP AND EGG series (hatching spring 2016 from FSG/Macmillan). A former science and reading teacher, she also writes about science for children and adults. Laura lives in Chevy Chase, Maryland with her husband and four children. She is a member of SCBWI and the Children’s Book Guild of Washington D.C.
You can visit Laura online at www.lauragehl.com and learn a little more about her in this interview!
First question, Laura, what inspired you to become a writer?
I loved reading books as a kid, and I love reading books to my kids, so writing children’s books is the ultimate dream job for me. Well, children’s author might be tied for ultimate dream job with ballerina and professional brownie-tester. But you can’t be a ballerina and eat a lot of brownies. And as a professional brownie-tester, you might start thinking of brownies as “work” and not find the joy in brownies anymore. So children’s author it is!
I once worked in McCormick’s test-tasting department. It was a glorious time in my life. Okay, can you tell us a little about your road to publication?
I started in the magazine world, mostly writing nonfiction science articles for kids, and then moved on to books. I sold my first two picture books without an agent, but finding my agent helped open a lot more doors (and gives me the benefit of her excellent feedback and advice).
Seeing as how hindsight is always 20/20, what would you have done differently?
I spent a long time querying agents with rhyming manuscripts and received variations on “This is great, but rhyming books are too hard to sell.” As soon as I started querying with non-rhyming manuscripts, a bunch of agents were interested. Other writers who love rhyme (I still love rhyme!) might want to try hooking an agent with a different manuscript and THEN bust out the rhyming books.
I also wish I had met other writers earlier on. With four young children, getting out to conferences and other events was difficult for me, and still is. But getting to know other writers really helps in understanding and weathering the myriad ups and downs of the children’s book business.
How were you inspired to write PEEP AND EGG: I’M NOT HATCHING?
I was living in the land of “I’m not,” hearing those words from my own kids on a regular basis. In my more-rational, less-sleep-deprived moments I could see that a lot of the “I’m not” came from a place of fear rather than stubbornness or a desire to drive me crazy. I tried to write a book that spoke to the nervousness behind the “I’m not” in a humorous way. And I think it worked! I was thrilled when the Booklist review of PEEP AND EGG: I’M NOT HATCHING contained the line, “Kids will get a kick out of Peep and Egg’s hilarious antics, and adults will be grateful for the breezy introduction to conversations about fears.” Reading that, I thought: They get it! They really get it!
Do you have a favorite line or lines from this book?
I’M NOT HATCHING!!!
LOL! Okay, what do you enjoy doing while not writing?
Walking, running, skiing, reading, traveling, and eating brownies. Some of which can be combined.
Tell us something personal about you people may be surprised to know.
My younger brother Neil, a brilliant writer himself, was killed six years ago in a hit and run accident. PEEP AND EGG: I’M NOT HATCHING is dedicated to him. Although the sibling dynamics between Peep and Egg are different from the dynamics between Neil and me when we were growing up, the strong love and bond between the two characters—despite their dissimilar personalities—is exactly the same.
Oh man, I’m so sorry for your loss, Laura! What are you working on now?
I am working on a number of picture books, including one about a sleepover with a twist and one about a little girl who wishes she could have the same dream as her best friend. Hmm…I hadn’t even realized those two projects share a sleeping theme until just now! This probably means I need to get more sleep!
If you could sum up your best advice for new writers in only four words, what would they be?
Find a critique group! (Second place: Write every single day.) (Third place: Don’t Give Up. Ever.) (And the runner up: Eat Brownies, then write.)
Fantastic, thanks for stopping by, Laura, and congratulations on your latest release! I hope celebrated by treating yourself to a very large brownie. 🙂
Happy writing and drawing, everyone!