Author Spotlight: Ana Crespo


March 6, 2015

Today we feature the incredibly talented Ana Crespo in the KidLit411author spotlight! Ana is the author of THE SOCK THIEF which was just released by Albert Whitman & Company. Ana has some great giveaways for you!  

  • A signed copy of THE SOCK THIEF
  • A free written critique of a PB manuscript followed by a phone call! and
  • A "free pass" submission to her editor, Kelly Barrales-Saylor, at Albert Whitman & Company! 
WOW! THANK YOU, ANA & KELLY!! Enter to win these fabulous prizes in the Rafflecopter widget at the bottom of this interview (scroll through the Rafflecopter to enter!)

Welcome, Ana!



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

I used to work as an Academic Advisor at a small Indiana University campus, where I met many wonderful people  If we had stayed in Indiana, I probably would never have become a children’s writer, because I would still be an Academic Advisor.  I truly loved my job! However, we moved to Colorado.  


For a while, I had my own translation company, translating works from English to Portuguese and vice-versa. It was BORING (yes, with all capitals).  

To have fun, I started writing stories for kids. Stories had been floating in my mind since I started reading again (read about how I became a reader here), but it had been a long time since I had written anything.  

When I was a new mom, it was very hard to find stories featuring Brazilian characters, so that was my initial focus. In 2012, I started pursuing a career as a children’s book writer.  That same year I attended the local SCBWI conference just to learn how much I didn’t know about the industry. I spent an entire year working on my craft, learning about the publishing world, submitting my work, and receiving many rejections. 

In 2013, I attended the same conference again and met my editor.  She bought THE SOCK THIEF, which was just released by Albert Whitman & Company. A few months later, she bought four more manuscripts. 





What projects are you working on now?

Oh, I am working on so many things.  Right now, I am marketing THE SOCK THIEF, contacting and visiting schools, attending conferences, developing my website, and a few other things.  It’s a lot of work!  


In addition, I am working on my next books – JP AND THE GIANT OCTOPUS and JP AND THE POLKA-DOTTED ALIENS (beautifully illustrated by Erica Sirotich–see what JP looks like here).  So exciting!  Also, I am working on new manuscripts.  I have a few ones ready and have been submitting them.  I don’t have an agent, which makes the submission process difficult and, often, pretty frustrating.


When is your next project due out?

That would be the JP series. The two first books come out in September 2015. The other two are tentatively scheduled for March 2016 and September 2016. The books tell the story of JP, a young boy whose vivacious imagination causes him to struggle with his feelings. But, as the reader will find out, if managed well, JP’s imagination can be lots of fun.


What is your typical process for writing?


This is probably the hardest question you could ask me. I hate routine and the word ‘process’ makes me itchy, so I had to think carefully about how to answer this one. And the funny thing is that I might actually have a process.  


First, I need to have the TV on. I know this is probably weird, but I can’t work in complete silence. Also, although people say that you shouldn’t worry about writing a perfect first draft, I do. I rarely write down a story until I have a plot in my mind. And, if I need to write it down because I am afraid I might forget it, I write down my first thoughts about the plot and not the actual story.  

When I finally have a plot figured out, I write down my first draft.  I read and reread it a few times that same day. I ALWAYS read it aloud. Sometimes I even play with page breaks, because they help me figure out what is missing in the story. Then, I let it be for a week or so.  

When I pick it up again, I usually make more changes and more changes until I feel the story is perfect. And, usually, that’s when I take it to my critique group. They will notice things I hadn’t noticed and the editing process will start again.

What advice would you give to aspiring writers?


Well, although I am published, I do not have an agent, so a lot of what I do is what I think every aspiring author should be doing. 


The first thing is to work on your craft (by attending workshops, conferences, being a member of a critique group and, of course, practicing).  

The second thing is to network. The problem is that networking can be expensive. While it is relatively easy to find free online opportunities for professional development, finding free networking opportunities is not. I, for instance, cannot afford to attend those extremely attractive weeklong retreats or workshops.  (If you can, make sure you do!  I hear they are amazing.)  Therefore, my networking is usually limited to the local SCBWI conference and I try to take full advantage of it. I pay for critiques, post-conference workshops, and anything else that will give me the chance to spend some time with industry professionals.

Where can people find you on the internet?


Life has been so busy lately that I haven’t been keeping up with social media.  Right now, I am on Twitter (@AnaCrespoBooks), and on Facebook (http://www.facebook.com/AnaCrespoBooks).  Follow me and like me! I don’t usually write blog posts, but I have a blog (http://booksbyanacrespo.blogspot.com).  I also have a Pinterest account, which I never use.  With THE SOCK THIEF out, though, I might start pinning.  Of course, you can also find me through my website (www.anacrespobooks.com), which I try hard to keep up-to-date. And you can find me on Pinterest!


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


People probably don’t know that I collect bobbleheads. It all started with Dwight, from The Office. My co-workers and I used to watch episodes of The Office during lunchtime and Dwight was our favorite character. When I left, they gave me a Dwight bobblehead.  Now I have nine bobbleheads and I am always looking for more.






Ana Crespo likes to pretend she is wise just because she has all four wisdom teeth.  However, it's not really her wisdom that makes her a picture book writer – it's her wild imagination (or her silliness, as some people like to call it.)  Wise or not, silly or not, Ana is lucky to have a career that allows her to keep imagining way beyond her childhood years.  Ana lives in Colorado with her family. 






a Rafflecopter giveaway

85 comments:

  1. I had the pleasure of working with Ana when I won a critique from her last year. Not only is she an amazing author (I have The Sock Thief!), but she also knows what she is doing when it comes to critiquing manuscripts. I can't wait for more Ana Crespo books!

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    1. Thank you, Jodi! I am the ones who can't wait to read JODI MCKAY books. Keep me posted!!!

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  2. The Sock Thief is a wonderful story! Thanks for the interview Ana and Kidlit411.I'm in a critique group with Ana. She always provides spot on feedback. If you win the critique, you will love it!

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    1. Thank you, Stacy! I hope to live up to all these nice comments!

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  3. Congratulations on the release of The Sock Thief and thank you for a peek into your process.

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  4. The Sock Thief looks brilliant -- thanks for the fun interview.

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  5. Congratulations to you, Ana. I'm a sister writer with Albert Whitman and look forward to reading your charming Sock Thief. Best wishes for many, many more successes!

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  6. Great post, Ana! I can't write without noise either. And I usually know my plot before I begin writing:)

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  7. Congratulations Ana! With all your hard work and five books out, I imagine you will find agent representation in no time. Looking forward to reading The Sock Thief!

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  8. Ana, thank you for the wise advice and sharing the story of your writing. Congratulations on The Sock Thief -- I can't wait to read it. And, let's hear it for the success of writers-without-agents! :)

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  9. Congrats on the book birthday, Ana! Looking forward to reading it.

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  10. So great to see a write like Ana make it sans agent! Bravo and the Sock Thief sounds like a fun read. Would love to win any of the great prizes.

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  11. The Sock Thief looks GREAT! Congrats! Can't wait to read it! Sounds like there are lots of great things on the horizon for you! :)

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  12. Wow...such success and all without an agent! Indiana misses you though!

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  13. Ana, I always wondered where those socks went! Congrats on your book. Have fun at schools.

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  14. What a wonderful book and opportunity. :)

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  15. I'm excited to read The Sock Thief. From one Dwight fan to another, thanks for this post. :)

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  16. Thank you, Amanda, Shauna, Pat, Sue, Cathy, Christy, Mike, Kathy, Carrie, Tanya, Janie, Angela, and RG! I truly hope you will enjoy THE SOCK THIEF. Felipe is a creative little boy and, because we are a community of very creative people, I think you will appreciate his ingenuity. Thanks again!

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  17. Another Indiana connection...what fun! I look forward to checking out JP and his adventures. Congratulations on the success of THE SOCK THIEF!

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  18. Thanks for this great opportunity. Your book sounds fantastic!

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  19. Terrific post! Glad to hear of your success even without an agent. And BTW, the word "process" makes me itchy too. :)

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  20. Congrats on selling 5 books! That's amazing.

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  21. I am excited! Thanks for this opportunity and for the interview information;)

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  22. Great post and Congratulations on all the books!

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  24. Oh my gosh I wish I could meet you in person. I love your sense of humor and the way you say a thing. Congratulations on all your publishing successes! I'm inspired by how much you've done, sans agent. Not that I wouldn't LOVE to have one, the right one, but it's so encouraging to see someone succeed through hard work (and talent). Thanks for this great post. I've liked you on FB, so I'll keep an eye out for all your upcoming projects. BTW, PJ is adorable!

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    1. Thank you so much, Susie, for the encouragement and support. I would prefer to have an agent too. I think it would allow me to focus on the fun part of the job, but, like you, I think it must be Mr. or Mrs. Right. Maybe one day...

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  25. Congrats on all your books. What a great imagination. I can't wait to read them!

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  26. Thank you for sharing the story of your stories, Ana. Congratulations on the new book(s) and best wishes for every success with them!

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  27. Thank you, Teresa, Becky, Michelle, Rena, Elizabeth, Jennifer, McMarshall, and VJC. Good luck to all of you!

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  28. Love your work!!!! Just finished my first picture book, Walkabout Town, which has a music download inside of my original tune by the same name....

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  29. Love your work!!!! Just finished my first picture book, Walkabout Town, which has a music download inside of my original tune by the same name....

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  30. I am glad you became a reader! I enjoyed reading your interview. Stacy Jensen is one of my critique partners as well!!! Good luck on your journey. Thanks Kidlit!

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  31. Great prizes!!! Sending much luck your way.

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  32. Congratulations on your book--putting it on my to-read list!

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  33. Congratulations-it's amazing to have achieved so much success in a short time and without an agent-well done you ") very inspiring!

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  34. Congratulations, Ana! Your story sounds a lot like mine, only I'm not published yet. You're an inspiration. Best wishes for continued success:)

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  35. Congrats on your accomplishments! A great story.

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  36. Thank you, Ana, for joining Kidlit411. What great advice, and can't wait to read THE SOCK THIEF.

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    1. Thank YOU, Sylvia and Elaine for having me here. I've been a member of KidLit411 for a while now and never thought I would be the featured author. It really is an honor!

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  37. Thank you, Ana. Awesome interview. I wish you much success. I am searching for a home for my babies without an agent too. I think I need to touch you for good luck. :-)

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  38. Great interview! Congratulations on all these successes, Ana!

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  39. Hard work, grit and tenacity seem to be common themes for writers. Congratulations on your book. Hope you find homes for many more stories to come.

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  40. Congratulations! - It looks like you have found something that you enjoy, and hope you continue to have Good Luck!

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  41. Thank you, Ana! Your "process" sounds similar to mine, except I have my radio talking in the background. I look forward to reading THE SOCK THIEF.

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  42. Thanks Ana! This is a very informative post. I appreciate hearing about your publishing journey.

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  43. Congratulations and thank you for sharing your story. Much continued success!

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  44. Thank you, Kristin, Lori Ann, PJ, Buffy, Caroline, Shirley, Anita, Robyn, Tina, Julie, Jennifer, Manju, Mary, and Jeanine! I'm overwhelmed by the response to this interview. Your support is much appreciated! All the best...

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  45. Hello Ana...thank you so much for sharing your incredible story. You are inspiring! I'm excited for September when you join me for Will Write for Cookies on my blog. ;) ;)

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    1. Thank you, Vivian! I need to work on that recipe...

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  46. my daughter also needs background noise when she writes.
    Also, good advice about reading aloud. I've caught a few problem areas that way.

    Congrats on your book(s).

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  47. Just the title makes me want to read it! Thanks for sharing you writing story!

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  48. I really enjoyed this post -- thanks for the opportunities, as well!

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  49. Congratulations on THE SOCK THIEF and your upcoming releases. What an exciting time for you!

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  51. A great post...thank you for sharing. I look forward to reading THE SOCK THIEF.

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  52. This looks FABULOUS - about to request The Sock Thief from my library. And your new books look fabulous! Thanks!

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  53. LOVE your words of wisdom - and the premise of the Sock Thief - can't wait to read it. Thanks for sharing your wisdom.

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  54. Congratulations on THE SOCK THIEF! I enjoyed the honesty and advice you shared with us-thank you.

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  55. What an inspiring success story! All the more so because you're getting there without an agent to move things along for you. Thanks for sharing, and I hope I'll have the chance to meet you at an event in Colorado!

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  56. The Sock Thief sounds wonderful... I'm going to order it now! And what a great story... I am sure you'll be snapped up by an agent very soon!

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    1. Thank you so much, Kim! I hope you enjoy the book.

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  57. Ana, you sound so much like me. I, too, work on several projects at a time, hate routines, and became inspired to write picture books after becoming a mom. I'd think you were a clone, except my ethnic background is completely different. :)

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  58. Your success story is inspiring! Thanks for sharing the journey. :) Wishing The Sock Thief a long book life!

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  59. Thanks for sharing your experiences with us, Ana, and a heartfelt thank you to #kidlit411 for keeping us informed about all things #kidlit. I am grateful to be sharing this journey with so many wonderful artists.

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  60. I've won a critique from Ana in the past, and she is amazing. Thanks for the great contest!

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    1. Thank you, Alena!!! I hope you signed up for this content. Kelly's "free-pass" submission is a great prize!

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  61. Linda, Andrea, Lynne, Sydney, Laura, Joanne, Sue, Charlotte, Sandy, Mandy, Kim, Jen, Wendy, and Carol- Thank you so much for stopping by and for all the encouraging words! I hope you all enjoy The Sock Thief. All the best...

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  62. Lovely interview Ana! I cant wait to read The Sock Thief!

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  63. What a cute idea! I did laundry yesterday and a sneaky thief grabbed one of MY socks...;~)

    Great interview!

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  64. Thank you for the great advice in your interview! Looking forward to The Sock Thief!

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  65. I attended an Illinois SCBWI event this past weekend where Kelly Barrales-Saylor told us how proud she is of you and your books, Ana. Looking forward to reading them all!

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    1. Really!? That's wonderful to know, Patricia. Thanks for sharing!

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  66. Ana, A GREAT interview! I am so proud to know you and The Sock Thief is amazing!! You have made our hometown PROUD! :)

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    1. Thank you, my critique group partner!

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  67. Books looks great, buying it for my boys.

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    1. Thank you so much, Tara! I hope you and the boys will enjoy it. Oh, and make sure you visit my page with resources for The Sock Thief. There are some activities there they might enjoy. Here's the link: http://www.anacrespobooks.com/#!the-sock-thief/c81e

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  68. Thanks for the great prizes, Anna. I liked reading about your process. Especially how you think through the plot before writing. I've been doing that more over the past year and feel my first drafts are much better because of it. More logical. Good luck with everything!

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  69. Thank you for this interview. I enjoyed learning about different aspects of your writing career. I have not read your book yet, but I plan on getting it soon. Thanks again for the great interview.

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  70. Thank you for a great giveaway Ana. I love the cover of The Sock Thief :)

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  71. Congratulations on the release. It was fun reading about your adventures. I know my kinder-bears will love hearing and exploring your stories.

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  72. Thank you Saundra, Donna, Judith, Lindsay, Rachel, Ashley, Catherine, and Betsy! For those of you who end up getting the book, borrowing it from a library, or winning a giveaway (fingers crossed!) consider writing an honest review on Goodreads when done. It's so important to have readers' reviews! Thanks again so much for all your support. It's overwhelming!

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  73. Delighted to discover a new source for information and reviews of Diverse Books! Now if I could only find more sources for books about students from Asia and Africa. We are a very diverse elementary school!

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