Author Spotlight: Carol Gordon Ekster

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.

Welcome, Carol!

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
I’m on Facebook:
A group blog:
Google +:

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 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
Twitter @cekster


  1. I am so grateful to KIDLIT411 for the work they do supporting authors and books and keeping us informed of all things #kidlit. Thank you!

    1. Thank you, Carol, for the excellent advice and congratulations on all your successes!

  2. Although it didn't fall under advice to aspiring writers, I think the following statement is excellent advice. "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." Thanks for sharing a bit about yourself and your work Carol.

  3. I love that Carol starts her day with aerobics and yoga...I think that if I did the same, I'd have more energy during the day to write. :) Also, kudos to her for embarking on a second career after a long one as a teacher! I'll bet she has a lot of school-related stories that she can work into future books.

    Thanks for the interview and giveaway, Carol and Elaine!

  4. Thanks for introducing us to Carol, KL411! Love the part about having patience with your work. It's so hard to follow that advice when the frustration levels reach crazy-making levels! Continued success to you, Carol!

  5. Renee, I struggle with having patience...but extremely necessary in this business of children's publishing. Hang in there! And thanks Alayne and Renee for taking the time to comment and for your sweet support.

  6. Thanks for sharing your story!

  7. Thanks for sharing your story!

  8. What great advice to be patient with revisions and to persevere, this is a tough biz but you gotta do what you love. Love hearing your story!

  9. Thanks Meg. I appreciate your kind words. And Kristi, it's important we all share our stories. Writing can be a lonely business with lots of rejection. We need to share our successes when they come. I hope they inspire others to continue on this difficult but wonderful journey.

  10. Thank you for taking the time for the interview. As a former early childhood Educator I too have had a love of sharing picture books with children. I look forward to reading your book. I hope my library carries it.
    Thanks for the reminder to revise, revise and revise my manuscripts. Keep writing.


    1. Wendy, do keep at it. It definitely takes perseverance. I have over 1,000 submissions that I pitched. And what would be amazing for me is if you asked your library to order it! Authors need a lot of help from their friends to help spread the word about their books. Good luck with your writing!

  11. Carol, you inspire me consistently! Thank you for the wonderful feedback you provide in our critique group! Your dedication to your craft amazes me and I am so thrilled for you in your recent acquisitions!

    1. Thanks, Carrie. I love our on-line critique group. I love your dedication to picture books and the inspiration you are providing so many with #REFOREMO. So glad have crossed paths.

  12. Dear Carol, I love how you are consistently so hard with writing and submitting. Wonderful inspiration.

    1. Yvonne, if you don't submit, you don't get published! Good luck with your own work.

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  14. Hi Carol- Love the yoga idea. I might incorporate it to my everyday routine. I certainly need some peace after the morning agitation during school days. I hope to hear good news soon! All the best to you!

  15. I wish our library carried more Pauline books. I've looked for several, including yours, and can't find them... so depressing! Would really love to receive a copy of BEFORE I SLEEP, and I promise I will say THANK YOU!

  16. Ana, yoga calms me and helps me come up with endings, etc. in my work. It amazes me what happens when your brain and body are relaxed. And Juliana, PLEASE ask your library to get my book and other Pauline books. Thanks to you both for taking the time to comment.

  17. Thank you for my the opportunity to win a copy. This book looks amazing for my sons!!!

  18. Thanks for sharing and introducing me to KidLit411


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