Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Spotlight: Heading to the Wedding by Sara Shacter

Im very excited to have Sara Shacter on my blog today. Sara is not only an amazing writer, but shes also the Assistant Regional Advisor for Illinois Chapter of the Society of Childrens Book Writers and Illustrators and a wonderful person. To say that I was thrilled when she agreed to chat with me about her picture book, Heading to the Wedding, is a bit of an understatement.

Please give Sara a warm welcome!

Cherie: Sara, thanks for stopping by. Can you tell us about your picture book, Heading to the Wedding?

Sara: When Patrick, his sister Evie, and his parents are invited to a wedding, his worried mom suggests they all practice for the big day. To do so, the family raids Patrick's collection of stuffed animals and action figures. Evie and Dracula tie the knot while T-rex officiates.  Thanks to Patrick and Evies newfound skills, the actual event is a smashing success!

While writing Heading to the Wedding, my goal was to deliver a humorous, warm tale that also happened to educate kids (in a non-didactic fashion) regarding this particular aspect of the adult world.  It's nondenominational, so it has a wide audience, and it isn't just for the flower girl or ring bearer.  It's for ANY child who will be at a wedding.

Cherie: Heading to the Wedding is a wonderful and fun book. How did you come up with the idea for it?

Sara: Years ago, I was at a business dinner with my husband.  While chatting with folks, I mentioned I was a children's book writer.  A woman asked me if I knew of any books that explained wedding guest etiquette to kids.  Her family had been invited to a wedding and she was at a loss.  I spotted a potential hole in the marketplace!

Cherie: Im glad you did and I love being able to tell parents about your book. What is your favorite thing about writing picture books?

Sara: I love the challenge of packing a great story, compelling characters, goofy humor, and artfully crafted sentences into a package that consists of as few words as possible.

Cherie: I admire picture book writers and I know its not easy to keep the word count low and write a great story. Do you have any advice for aspiring picture book authors?

   - Read your work aloud.
   - Make each word count.
   - Remember the illustrator -- s/he needs space to insert his/her vision; your story will be stronger as a result.

Cherie: Great advice! Can you share with us what youre working on now?

Sara: I'm starting the first book of what I hope will one day be a series of middle-grade novels!

Cherie: Oh! I cant wait to hear more about it! Now for some fun questions

M&M or Skittles?  M&Ms for sure -- I routinely raid my kids' stash.

Are you a morning person or an evening person?  Evening.  Even when I know I'm exhausted, I can find something to do/read into the wee hours!

Favorite author?  Sooooooo many....hard to choose....but I do so very much love Barbara Park.  Junie B. Jones is one of my favorite characters ever.

Do you have any guilty pleasures that get you through the writing/revising process?  Gum.  I'm a chain-chewer.

Do you have a favorite place to write?  In my kitchen.  It's filled with light.

Are there any types of books you dont read?   I'm mostly a fiction gal.  Very little nonfiction.  And nothing relentlessly dark.  I need a spark of hope!

Sara, thanks so much for being with us today!

Stop by Sara Shacters website to learn more about her and her books.

                              Find Sara:                             Purchase Heading to the Wedding
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