Mar. 13, 2015
Today we feature the incredibly talented Carol Gordon Ekster in the KidLit411author spotlight!
Carol is the author of BEFORE I SLEEP: I SAY THANK YOU. Carol is generously giving away a copy of her book, so make sure you enter the raffle at the end of her interview.
Tell us about your background and how you came to write for children.
I taught 4th grade for 35 years and was a passionate educator. I read picture books to my class daily to support every subject in the curriculum, and I ran writing workshops a few times a week for my students but I never thought I’d become an author.
About twelve and a half years ago the need to write my first book snuck into my life like a welcome surprise party. Since writing came to me late in life, I dove into it like a competitive swimmer. I’ve written over sixty manuscripts and consistently submit to publishers.
What projects are you working on now?
In the past I tended to write from the heart of a teacher…sneaking lessons into my stories. I wanted to continue teaching through my books. But lately, I’m transitioning to more fun books that will hopefully focus on the joy of reading for children and families. And if those stories allow me to suggest activities to teachers and parents that will add more to their reading experience, then that will be a bonus.
I have four new drafts on my desktop that I’m ready to take to my critique groups, and I often revisit my older works and consistently submit manuscripts as I see opportunities arise.
When is your next project due out?
My newest picture book, BEFORE I SLEEP: I SAY THANK YOU was released January 1, 2015, with Pauline Books and Media.
I also have my first e-book, HIP HOPPING BOOKS, coming out this spring with Schoolwide, Inc. as part of their digital library. And I’m excited about a new picture book that’s in the acquisition phase. I can’t share specifics yet. But watch my website, Facebook and Twitter for announcements. I’m hoping I can tell all soon!
What is your typical process for writing?
I start each day with an aerobic class and then yoga and then I’m ready to sit and hopefully be clever and creative the rest of the day! I do not have an exact schedule. After teaching for so many years, I enjoy a looser life. I write when I like and try not to overbook marketing events so that I don’t get stressed out.
When I find myself starting a new draft, that is just the beginning. I take all my manuscripts to my critique groups. I belong to four of them! Then the revision process begins… and continues. I do many, many revisions, from fixing a word here or there, to reorganizing the entire manuscript and working on every sentence to see if I can improve the phrasing.
Revision is the direct path to get to your best book. I’ve learned to be more patient with my work, and try not to rush it out to publishers until I believe it’s truly ready. Much of my time is dedicated to some aspect of this wonderful second career.
What advice would you give to aspiring writers?
Read as many books as you can in the genre you write in, join SCBWI and critique groups, and never stop working on your craft.
Oh, and persevere and be persistent.
Where can people find you on the Internet?
I’m very active on the internet.
My web site is www.carolgordonekster.com.
I’m on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/cekster
A group blog: www.writersrumpus.com
Google +: https://plus.google.com/u/0/111344394031307062313/posts
What is one thing people don't know about you?
This is a tricky one for me, as I’m a pretty open person. But I’m not sure my readers know that I’m an optimist. My husband calls me Pollyanna. Sometimes in this business of children’s publishing, with its many ups and downs, it’s hard to hang onto a positive attitude. But I try to stay focused on the present with all its hope and possibilities, and that keeps me going.
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Carol Gordon Ekster was a passionate elementary school teacher for 35 years. Her first book, Where Am I Sleeping Tonight?-A Story of Divorce, Boulden Publishing, 2008, was an About.com Readers' Choice 2012 finalist for Best Children's Book for Single Parents. “The Library Is The Perfect Place”, was in Library Sparks magazine, 2010. Her picture book, Ruth The Sleuth and The Messy Room, on Character Publishing’s debut list, 2011, was awarded the Children’s Literary Classics Seal of Approval. Before I Sleep: I Say Thank You, released January 1, 2015 with Pauline Books & Media. Her first e-book, Hip Hopping Books, will be out with Schoolwide Inc.’s digital library, spring 2015. Retired from teaching, Carol now spends time in critique groups, doing exercise and yoga, and working on her books. She’s grateful that her writing allows her to continue communicating with children.
Find out more at www.carolgordonekster.com