Author Spotlight: Lynne Marie



August 9, 2019

Today we are pleased to feature picture book author Lynne Marie and two of her forthcoming books, MOLDILOCKS AND THE THREE SCARES: A ZOMBIE TALE, illustrated by David Rodriguez Lorenzo (Sterling Children's Books, Aug. 6, 2019), and LETS EAT: MEALTIME AROUND THE WOLRD, illustrated by Parwinder Singh (Beaming Books Nov. 2019).

Enter to win a copy of MOLDILOCKS or a critique chat with Lynne Marie (winner's choice)!



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


I was the kid who always read the most books at the library’s summer reading program, who often won the writing contests and who wanted to be a children’s book author since she saw her first Scholastic Book Club flyer. As young as third grade I would come home with a stack of five non-fiction biographies and mid grade novels in the morning and read them all by  nightfall. I honestly devoured books. When I ran out of books, I’d sneak books off my parent’s bookshelf. I was around 12 when I read Gone With the Wind. Often my mother would just drop me off at the library on her way to work and my father would pick me up later on. The library is one of my fondest memories. 


In the third grade, I met author Phyllis Whitney and after reading all of her children’s and adult books I graduated to Agatha Christie and ended up reading 56 of her 88 plus books. I obviously loved murder mysteries. Oddly enough, it was the picture books I loved from my first/early reading experiences that I went back to. But I can explain that -- it’s because as much as I love reading, I love art! Why didn’t I pursue art -- that’s a story for another time. But maybe I still will.  


And also odd, I ended up working as a salesperson at a record store and hanging out with music industry people in the 80s, then as an assistant Catering Manager in a Wedding Hall, then as a Legal Secretary/Paralegal and a mom to a special needs child. So I guess, like many of us, I am a wanderer, but likely that’s where many of my/our stories come from. 

Finally, when my child was 12 and doing well, I finally focused on my dream of becoming a children’s book author. So let’s say until then, I flitted about like a butterfly, which is pretty typical for me. Likely that’s why I love reading and writing. It allows me to do anything and be anything and change it from book to book, manuscript to manuscript. 


Congrats on your forthcoming books: MOLDILOCKS AND THE THREE SCARES and LET'S EAT: MEALTIME AROUND THE WORLD. Tell us about these books and what inspired them.




MOLDILOCKS AND THE THREE SCARES is an obvious pun on Goldilocks and the Three Bears, so that story was my inspiration, with a sprinkling of Addams Family and the Munsters. But I didn’t just play around with the title and add monsters, I played around with other things, too! Moldilocks is not an intruder in this version, but rather an answer to the Scare’s nightmares (which means an answer to their “prayers” in monster-speak), and the Papa/Frankenstein monster doesn’t bring home the bread -- he’s the homemaker who makes the Alpha-bat Soup (porridge) and it’s the Mama/Mummy who works in the lab. There’s also a little maggot-fly named Zombee and a Bloodhound named Plasma. So you can see that I let my imagination run wild. 





For LET’S EAT, I was actually approached by my publisher, Beaming Books, to write that book because of my experience as a Travel Agent. Last count, the places I have visited are: Belize, Canada, Cuba, Denmark, England, Estonia,  Finland, France, Grand Cayman, Greece and the Greek Islands, Hawaii, Holland, Honduras, Belgium, Ireland and Northern Ireland, Italy, Jamaica, Mexico (several destinations), Monaco, Nova Scotia and Cape Breton, Puerto Rico, Russia, Scotland, Spain, St. Barts, St. Maarten and Sweden. So I had a nice base of experience to draw from, and I was able to research the rest. I loved doing the research and writing that book. I’m particular excited about presenting the opportunity for little ones to armchair travel! I tried to weave in different facts and customs and details into each country feature (besides the food). In ways it was difficult to write, too. Originally, I had 40 countries and I had to pare it down to 13! That was tough! There’s so many fascinating treasures in the world and I want to dig, uncover and share them. Thankfully, if the book does well, there’s a chance there may be a next book, Let’s Play: Games Around the World. My fingers are crossed. Please feel free to recommend this book to your local libraries (school and county) as well as your scout troops! I am happy to speak with them about Skype visits, too! 





Was your road to publication long and winding, short and sweet, or something in between?

The road to publication was long but paved with adventure. I started by going back to college and taking courses in Writing for Children, Children’s Literature, The Holocaust in Children’s Literature, Short Stories, Magical Realism, etc. I did the work, and didn’t submit for years. I also joined SCBWI in 1999 and started going to conferences, took Institute for Children’s Literature courses, attended Highlights at Chautauqua several times, and kept learning my craft. All the while, of course, reading, writing and revising (and participating in critique groups). 


What projects are you working on now?

I am working on a project about one of my greatest childhood passions, but it may have to be renamed because of a book with a similar title, or revamped so it doesn’t come off similar. The publisher loved it and said great things about it, but this comp book is really tripping it up. It’s unfortunate, because the book with the similar title really isn’t like my book at all! But hopefully it will all work out in the end and my book will survive, despite the fact its inspiration did not (hint, hint). 


What advice would you give to aspiring authors?


Everyone asks me this, so I am quite sure I should just get a parrot to answer (LOL). My answers are always the same, which basically boils down to doing the work. And that is reading, writing, revising, and most importantly, reVisioning when you must. The other thing is to LEARN YOUR CRAFT. Take course, read craft books. And, participate in critique groups. Go back to school. Do whatever you can to build the foundation for stellar writing AND storytelling. Yes, notice I didn’t say just writing. That’s something else I repeat. Good writing and a subway token will get you a ride on the New York City subway. It’s good storytelling that really makes a difference. And that’s why learning your craft and reading is so very important. 


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


Well my life friends all know this (and will probably laugh that I am bringing it up) but I don’t think any of my writing and author friends really do, but one of my co-workers at the record store played in a band called The Lines. It was opening up for The GoGos. Of course I went, and I met his manager, Andy and fell in love. Sometime after Andy booked Duran Duran’s 1st date in the US at Spit/Uncle Sam’s and worked with several other big bands, so I often got to hang out with him and Duran Duran and many other rock stars over the course of several years. 


It didn’t last, as there was a real divide between that world and the world I wanted to live in with friends my age from my hometown and who I was and wanted to be. However, part of me will always cherish those memories and Andy will always hold a special place in my heart. Though I will likely never write about it. The stories are not enough “mine” to tell. 


Where can people find you online?


ON FACEBOOK: 
https://www.facebook.com/WordsandPictures.by.LynneMarie
ON INSTAGRAM: 
ON TWITTER: @Literally_Lynne
MY AUTHOR FACEBOOK PAGE: Children's Author Lynne Marie


VISIT MY BLOGS:
My Word Playground (Writing and Reading for Children)
My World Playground (My Travel Blog *NEW*)


MY YOU TUBE CHANNEL:
https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCAcYhJhh8xjx_sf7YaRweqQ


Lynne Marie is the author of Hedgehog Goes to Kindergarten - illustrated by Anne Kennedy (Scholastic, 2011), Hedgehog's 100th Day of School – illustrated by Lorna Hussey (Scholastic, January 2017), The Star of the Christmas Play -- illustrated by Lorna Hussey (Beaming Books, 10/16/2018), Moldilocks and the 3 Scares -- illustrated by David Rodriguez Lorenzo (Sterling, 2019)  and her first non-fiction picture book, Let’s Eat! Mealtime Around the World -- illustrated by Parwinder Singh (Beaming Books, 2019) and more forthcoming. When she’s not cruising around the world, she lives on a lake in South Florida with her family, a Schipperke named Anakin and several resident water birds. She’s represented by Deborah Warren of East West Literary Agency. You can learn more about her at www.LiterallyLynneMarie.com and www.thepicturebookmechanic.com.

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15 comments:

  1. The book looks wonderful! Thank you so much for your insight as well.

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  2. Congratulations on your new book! Thank you for sharing your writing journey!

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  3. Thanks for sharing! I always love reading the stories behind the stories. :)

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  4. This looks hilarious! Did I miss when it comes out? I'd love to add it to my Halloween collection.

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  5. What a fun idea for a book! Congratulations!

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  6. Your books are so diverse and look so fun. I'm looking forward to reading all of them.

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  7. I loved hearing you read your book online for the Picture Book Balooza! It is wonderful. Thanks for sharing your talent.

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  8. I love the idea of Moldilocks! Kids will love it! Congrats on your books, Lynne.

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  9. I'm looking forward to reading both of your books, Lynne Marie! I love fractured fairy tales so I know I'll love little Moldilocks :-) And Let's Eat sounds so unique and wonderful!!! Congrats!

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  10. Thanks for the info and encouragement! It's good to be reminded that sometimes success takes longer than we might like. And congrats on you new books!

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  11. Your new books look fabulous! Thanks for your advice and words of encouragement.

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  12. Love this interview and learned something new about Lynne Marie - I am fangirling over her Duran Duran connection! I am lucky to be in a critique group with her - she is an amazing author and a gifted critiquer.

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