Author Spotlight: Corey Rosen Schwartz



Dec. 12, 2014
Today we interview author-illustrator Corey Rosen Schwartz, the author of THE THREE NINJA PIGS, NINJA RED RIDING HOOD and GOLDIROCKS AND THE THREE BEARS. Be sure to enter the giveaway at the end of this interview!

Tell us about your background and how you came to write for children. 

As a kid, I was a total bookworm. I naturally assumed I would grow up and write novels like Judy Blume. But by the time I got to college I had sort of forgotten about it.

I took an ASL class and fell completely in love with the language & culture of the deaf community. I decided to get a Masters in Deaf Education and taught at The Lexington School the Deaf in Queens. After a few years, I left teaching to work for a startup where I created kids’ content for the web.  

It wasn’t until I got “laid off’ (along with practically the entire company) that the idea of writing books returned to me. By that time, it was clear that picture books were the right genre for me. 



What is your typical process for writing? 

Well, my process is a little different from most, because…  I hate working alone! Nearly all my manuscripts are written with a partner. E.M. Forster once said “How will I know what I think until I see what I say?” That’s pretty much me. I NEED to think out loud. And it’s pretty embarrassing talking to myself all day.   

So I meet with a partner in a Google Doc. We bounce ideas back and forth in the Google chat box until we have a vague outline of a plot that we are both excited about. Then we start drafting together.  


What projects are you working on now? 

I tend to only work on one thing at a time. Right now, I am working on a truck book! My son was obsessed with trucks as a toddler. I had to read the same truck books to him night after night.     I decided then that I wanted to write one of my own, but I couldn’t seem to come up with a good premise. Then during this year’s PiBoIdMo I got an idea that I think has real potential! So, I am drafting it with my writing partner now. Once we get a finished draft, we’ll spend weeks or even months tinkering with it to get the rhyme and meter just right. 


When is your next project due out? 

My next picture book is not a fractured fairy tale, for a change!  It’s due out in June 2015 from Simon & Schuster and is called WHAT ABOUT MOOSE? I got the idea from my kids when they were little. My daughter, Jordan, used to be very bossy, especially with her younger brother. One day, when they were about two and three, they were putting supplies away in the art cabinet. My son put some crayons on the shelf, and Jordan looking over his shoulder said, “Not like that, Joshy!”

Josh turned to me with the saddest look on his face and said, ‘I never do anything right.” 

And that was the inspiration for the story! 



My writing partner, Becky Gomez, and I got right to work. A bossy Moose is building a tree house with friends, but he is so busy ordering everyone around that he doesn’t realize he is getting himself stuck in his own creation! 

What advice would you give to aspiring writers? 

A lot of people will tell you to be persistent. This is good advice (and Pig Three would wholeheartedly agree with it), but I am going to say something slightly different. Be PROACTIVE. You really have to make your own luck in this industry. Even though I have an agent, I still attend conferences, network with editors. pay for professional critiques, etc.  

In fact, the MOOSE story that I mentioned above sold to Emma Ledbetter at Atheneum after I had a one-on-one critique with her at a conference. So get out there! Mix, mingle, and make your own success!


What is one thing people don't know about you?

D’oh!  I would have said that I love sign language and used to teach deaf kids, but I already let that cat out of the bag! So, I’ll say… my favorite activity in the world is scuba diving. I have gone on over 300 dives in such destinations as Turks & Caicos, Cozumel, Belize, the Cayman Islands, and the Sinai. 



Where can people find you on the internet? 

Oh, I am online 24/7 so this is an easy one!

Twitter: @CoreyPBNinja





Corey is the author of THE THREE NINJA PIGS (Putnam, 2012) GOLDI ROCKS AND THE THREE BEARS (Putnam, 2014) and NINJA RED RIDING HOOD (Putnam, 2014). Corey has no formal ninja training, but she sure can kick butt in Scrabble. She lives with three Knuckleheads in Warren, NJ.



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26 comments:

  1. Great interview, Elaine and Corey. I am very intrigued by your having a writing partner. I also love scuba diving but have done so much less of it since we had kids.

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    1. Scuba diving must be a "writers" thing! I was a certified scuba diver too, until the kids came along- must get back to it! Thanks for the interview, Corey!

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  2. How and where did you find your writing partner? Have you ever written alone?

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    1. Hi Priya,,

      I actually found her in an online critique group. I critiqued a few of her PB manuscripts and liked her style and sensibility. I told her that i thought we were a good fit and there was nothing to lose by giving collaboration a try, and even though she had never partnered with anyone before,she figured, "Why not?"

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  3. Great interview! Thank you so much, Corey, for sharing all of this...I love your advice to aspiring authors...Be Proactive. I agree that connecting at conferences, retreats or even through social media can be extremely helpful. ;) And I'd LOVE to win a copy of anything with Corey's name on it. ;)

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  4. Fun interview! Thanks Kidlit411!

    I love your work, Corey! And I find it so interesting and cool that you work with partners. It's amazing to me that you have found writers of like mind. It seems like that would be hard.

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  5. Love this interview and I love your books, Corey. :)

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  6. Thank you, Corey! I have several PB manuscripts (non-published, haven't had the courage to actually submit) and many of my ideas stem from watching my three sons grow up. (My oldest was the Moose). I like the idea of a writing partner, but I don't mind talking to myself. I agree with everything I say. (People do tend to glance at me when I am out and about, though.) ;-) Are there specific conferences you would recommend to a novice? I will attend the SCBWI in New York in February. I am so excited! First time in NYC for this Minnesota girl. Love your books, especially the pigs!

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    1. Hi Sally, truthfully, I don't mind talking to myself either :) But there are some other benefits of having a partner. For one thing, it keeps me on a writing schedule. I HAVE to write every Mon & Wed from 10:00-12;30 because Becky is expecting me. So it cuts down on naps. Ha. For another, i really do feel like the whole is greater than the sum of its parts. Becky and i often come up with ideas together that i am sure neither one of us would have thought of alone.

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  7. We read this book at Storytime at the local library, and it is so much fun! I'd love to win a copy for the kids. And I love the idea of finding a writing partner - I've heard of other authors doing this as well, and it seems like it would be so useful! Thanks for sharing that!

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  8. Love this, Corey! A writing partnership is something to be cherished and I appreciate that you enjoy working with others! Can't wait to see the new book!

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  9. I love your words of wisdom on being proactive and I am really looking forward to 'What About Moose'.

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  10. That's so funny that you write with a partner, Corey! As an introvert, I love that I can do my "job" alone. :) But, the downside is that being introvert also means it's so much harder to take your advice of mixing and mingling. Much as I like being alone, I also think it'd be fun to meet you one day and play Extreme Scrabble...LOL!

    Thanks for the interview, Elaine and Corey!

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  11. Thank you for the informative and inspirational post! I can't wait to read MOOSE!

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  12. I took ASL classes in college too! I didn't go as far as you with it but it was fascinating! Have you ever thought of using your experience teaching deaf children as inspiration for a picture book?
    Kimberly Cowger

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  13. I also love ASL. I love deaf culture! I love that you shared that part of you!

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  14. I'm curious how your writing partnership works. Do you take the lead on a project and therefor it is your byline?

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    1. Hi Manju,

      If it's a collaborate, we both get our names on the book. I wrote Three Ninja Pigs and Ninja Red Riding Hood solo. But you can see Rebecca J. Gomez on the cover of Moose! And Beth Coulton on the cover of Goldi Rocks & the Three Bears.

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  15. Okay - I LOVE Corey! And wanna be her writing partner (and not just cuz it is more likely to get my published LOL). Fabulous interview. Is telling you I want to be your writing partner being proactive? Just askin' ;)

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    1. Joanne, ha! I'm sure you were (partially) joking, but don't laugh, because that is exactly how Beth Coulton and i ended up writing GOLDI ROCKS together.

      http://taralazar.com/2014/02/06/a-piboidmo-success-story-launches-today-goldi-rocks-plus-a-giveaway/

      So, yes, way to be proactive! :)

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  16. Great post. I appreciate you taking the time to give such good advice. I liked the part where you told us to be proactive. It is so true.

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  17. I've read this book, it is great!

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  18. My 4 year old cousin and I love your books!

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  19. Fun interview and thanks for the giveaway!

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  20. Corey, Congrats on the new book. It sounds really cute! Great interview and have a Merry Christmas!

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