Author Spotlight: Samantha Gassman
Dec. 2, 2022
We are excited to feature author Samantha Gassman and her picture book, DEAR RAINBOW BABY, illustrated by Timothy Lange (Spork 2022). Enter to win a copy!
Tell us about yourself and how you came to write for children.
I am an Air Force veteran, military spouse, writer, and mom. When my son was born in 2018, he sparked the creative in me who had been hidden for years and inspired me to start writing picture books. I loved how his face lit up as we read stories and I dreamed of the day when we could huddle around one of mommy’s books.
Congrats on your picture book, Dear Rainbow Baby! Tell us about the story and what inspired you.
Thank you so much! Dear Rainbow Baby is a story very close to my heart and one that I never anticipated would have been mine to write. After my first pregnancy, I was completely oblivious to miscarriage statistics and thought it was something that happened to other people.
Until it happened to me.
In November 2019, we lost our second child at 8 weeks. I was crushed. During that time, I picked up my pen and began to write as a way of dealing with the grief. Through the turmoil of emotions, the words “Dear Rainbow Baby” appeared, and from there, I wrote a letter to a baby I didn’t even know we could have.
Several months later (and while pregnant with my rainbow baby), the book was acquired by Clear Fork Publishing. Two years later, my rainbow baby turned two and the book came out… all on National Rainbow Baby Day!
Was your road to publication long and winding, short and sweet, or something in between?
I suppose by publishing standards, my road was quite short. I started writing picture book manuscripts in 2018. Dear Rainbow Baby was acquired in 2020, and the book was published in 2022. But certainly, those four years didn’t feel short, as we had multiple moves cross-country with the Air Force, new jobs (for both of us), a little thing called the pandemic, and two kiddos to worry about!
What projects are you working on now?
I have one book on submission right now, which is my first attempt at humor. I’m hoping an editor somewhere out there will find it as funny as my son does when he goes to shout out the lines and can’t because he’s giggling too much! I’ve taken a bit of a break from writing over the holidays, but I always have a few ideas simmering.
What advice would you give to aspiring picture book authors?
I don’t know that I can give advice that hasn’t been said before by other more prolific and more successful authors. But, I think the most truthful advice I can give is to focus on your own path.
Social media is not only a blackhole of self-doubt and imposter syndrome, it can make you feel that everyone else is succeeding but you. Stop the hamster wheel of comparing yourself to others and use the time you would spend scrolling writing your next draft. I promise it will be time better spent.
What is one thing most people don't know about you?
My party trick is that I can write using both hands simultaneously with decent legibility from both. I can also write upside down, backwards and in cursive with both hands at the same time. But I can only write the same word at the same time. I can’t write different words…. Yet!
Where can people find you online?
Despite my advice above, you can find me (hypocritically) on Instagram and Twitter (@sgassmanbooks), my author profile on Facebook, and at www.samanthagassman.com
Samantha Gassman is an Air Force veteran, military spouse, writer, and mother. She is the author of DEAR RAINBOW BABY (Aug, 2022) and PEANUT AND BUTTER CUP (2024). When she’s not working as a senior manager for communications, she can be found building the most epic LEGO pirate ship with her son, having tea parties with her daughter, or hanging out with her handsome hubby.
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