Thursday, November 6, 2014

The Story of Ten Easter Eggs

I can finally shout out my happy news from last year and spill all the beans. My dear readers, this book is TEN years in the making. It was purely a math book at first, as a tool to teach combinations of ten and my chicks were very mathematically oriented. I sent it out ... and received a few good rejections. The first time I used the term, my husband said it was an oxymoron. Ah, yes. But thank goodness for those rejections. Over the years, I kept the original concept but kept making the book more fun, letting the chicks do chicklet things instead of math. It was getting better ... I dreamed of pop-up chicks, fuzzy chicks, sound cards at the end, but most novelty books are made by paper engineers. I am not an artist or an engineer but a writer with lots of imagination. I was stumped. It could be a picture book though ...

Then a few years ago, I met a delightful novelty writer/illustrator on the Blueboards. She is a household name now -- Salina Yoon. We became friends and I asked whether she could take a look at my manuscript. She was incredibly gracious and suggested I tell the story in rhyme. At first, I was daunted. I'm not a poet. I can write a little poem once in a while. It is something I do to switch from fiction to nonfiction or vice versa. It's a way to play with words, shake things up. But a book in rhyme?!!! Could I pull it off? I took Salina's advice and found myself enjoying the process thoroughly. It was like a puzzle, chicks must do chicklet stuff in rhyme.

Ten eggs.   All is quiet. Not a peep.
Nine eggs.  One chick hatches. "Cheep, cheep, cheep."


And suddenly, I knew I'd hit gold. Kids will make their parents read this to them 500 times and the parents will not go crazy. Or maybe they will. I don't know. You tell me.

Last year, Debbie Ridpath Ohi posted on the Blueboards about her interview with Celia Lee, editor at Cartwheel books, and her open window of submission for about a month. I thought Ten Eggs would be perfect, so I spit-shined it and sent it off with a prayer. A few weeks later, I got a letter of interest. The rest is history and it's been most educational to learn how a novelty book is made. Celia always kept me in the loop and never minded the many questions I asked and the suggestions I made, but in the end, it's clear I'm just a writer, not an artist or engineer.

When I saw the layout and a sample illustration by Laura Logan, I was over the moon. I couldn't help but use adjectives like cute and darling and adorable.

My heartfelt thanks to my family and critters in WA who read all those iterations of TEE, Verla Kay for the Blueboards, Salina, Debbie, Laura and the entire team at Scholastic for making a dream that began a decade ago a reality. I am delighted.

I need to learn to write summaries like this (taken from the Scholastic website): In this sweet story, clever die-cuts, touchable plastic pieces, and fuzzy flocking all come together in a rhyming adventure all about Easter traditions. Follow and count along as ten quiet Easter eggs become ten colorful chicks ready to celebrate the holiday! A fun, engaging novelty story just right for the littlest of readers.

"This book begs to be touched," says Kirkus. Oh YESSSS! Read the full review.

13 comments:

Mirka Breen said...

Happy-HAPPY Joyous very early Easter gift... In time for the other holidays. It's eye opening how long some of our short books have to wait!

Joyce Moyer Hostetter said...

So awesome and beautiful, Vijaya! Ten years, ten chicks. Maybe you can write a poem about the 10 years!

Faith E. Hough said...

So thrilling! And darling and sweet and adorable--those are very apt words, just for the cover. I can't wait to see the whole book and read it to my girls!

wordwranglernc said...

I am so happy for you! This is fabulous, fabulous news, my friend. 10 years? YES! REading your story gives me hope that one day my counting book will be picked up, too!

Vijaya said...

Mirka, squeee!!! That's why I balked at writing a novel ... short stories can take up to a year to polish. Looks like the shorter stuff takes longer ... Hmmm.

Joyce, thank you. I need to write about those chicks though ...

Faith, maybe I will write another story for your girls about those chicks.

Donna, my friend, don't ever give up. Sometimes we have to grow our editors, you know ... mine was probably in high school when I began writing.

Becky Shillington said...

Congratulations, Vijaya! I can't wait to buy your sweet book for my little nieces! I love your idea about how sometimes we have to "Grow our editors." = )

Barbara Etlin said...

Thanks for sharing your inspiring story, Vijaya! Big congrats on a fun-sounding novelty picture book!

Marcia said...

Love this post. Enjoy this to the hilt, my friend!

cravevsworld said...

Great story! Congratulations. Looking forward to this book.

Vijaya said...

Thank you all so much. It is a fun time and I am especially excited to see this in the hands of little ones.

Bish Denham said...

Wow, Vijaya. I've been very delinquent in not visiting! Congratulations!!!!!

Amy Houts said...

So much fun, Vijaya! Thanks for being open about the process. Good to know! Many blessings.

Kristi Holl said...

Great post, and you know we're all excited for you. Enjoy, enjoy! It's been a long time in the making!
HUGS.