Rosie Pova, talented children’s author, writing instructor, and North Texas SCBWI chapter member is one of our esteemed faculty at our Keep On Truckin’ Fall Conference. Beth Mills, SCBWI-NT Assistant Regional Advisor, interviewed Rosie for our Fall Faculty Spotlight blog series. Rosie has graciously shared some of her writing journey and background with us–read on and enjoy!
What brought you to your career? Did you always want to be an author?
I’ve always liked writing and learning foreign languages. When I was in high school, one of my former daycare teachers from Bulgaria asked me to tutor her son because he was struggling with French and writing.
During one of our tutorials, I helped him write his essay which was about happiness. A few years ago, his mom told me that she still carries that essay in her purse and she typed it out for me on Facebook Messenger. I couldn’t believe she kept it with her for over 25 years!
I also remember that when I was a child, one of the things I wanted to be was a journalist and I’ve always been very crafty so I’m not surprised I took the path of a children’s writer. It really felt like home after so many years spent trying to discover my calling with other jobs. It’s also not a coincidence that it happened right after I had kids of my own.
Does writing energize or exhaust you? And what do you do to avoid “burn out”?
It definitely energizes me! I get so immersed and absorbed in my writing activities that time escapes me. The joy of crafting stories never gets old. That’s not to say there are no struggles when I’m working on my books, but it’s the thrill of figuring out what the missing element is, striving to get it right. And of course you don’t nail it in the first try, but adrenaline is certainly running in the process.
What I do to avoid “burn out” is read recently published books in my genre for some inspiration or critique other people’s stories. When I put on my editorial hat, my brain shifts into solution-searching gear and answers and ideas start flowing to me.
Other times, if I need a distraction from it all to refresh and open my mind to receiving new ideas, I might cook something delicious, go out for lunch with a friend — ideally a writer friend — or go shopping. Any of that elevates my mood and then I’m itching to get back to the keyboard.
What project are you most proud of?
What I’m most proud of is still unpublished so I can’t talk about it much yet, until it finds the best publishing home. But I really hope to be able to share that story with the world soon.
What advice do you have for new children’s book writers?
My number one advice is to join your local SCBWI chapter today! Next, find a critique group with people who are more advanced than you and know their craft. Share your work with them and learn how to take feedback. Seek professional critiques, too, outside of your group. Attend conferences as much as you can, find a mentor if possible, read in your genre a LOT and write. Also, revise, revise, revise!
What are you working on now (if you can share)?
Currently, I’m mostly working on revisions and critiques for other writers. I’m also getting ready for a radio interview later this month and promotions for my school visits.
I’m always on the lookout for more exciting ideas that I can develop into stories, but — confession time — I really need to finish my half-written #ownvoices story about separation of immigrant families that has some Bulgarian cooking in it, too.
In addition, I’ve been toying with the idea of writing a non-fiction picture book about a Bulgarian sportswoman who’s been holding the World Record in her category for over 30 years.
Do you have any new releases?
No new releases at this time, but hoping for some good news to share soon.
I know you do a lot of cool contests. Are you doing any right now?
I love doing the children’s writing contests, but since they are geared toward elementary students and submissions are made by the teachers and librarians, I have no contests running in the summer. However, I will repeat my #MissionJoyGiveaway around Christmastime and after that it’ll be time for my KWEST Contest (Kids Writing an Exciting Story with a Twist) which will open sometime in January. It was so much fun reading the entries last year, I can’t wait to have it again. Anyone interested can follow my blog to stay updated.
Any other words of wisdom for our members?
Connect with the writing community and invest in yourself and your craft, but make sure you’re really passionate about being a writer or an artist and seeing yourself as an author or illustrator for the long run.
Also, listen to your instinct. If something doesn’t feel right then it’s not right. It could be with your work, with a business relationship or with your calling. Figure out what it is and how to fix it. Then fix it. Even if it means making some difficult decisions.
Hope that helps. I wish everyone the best of luck with your work and may your journey be exciting, fulfilling and successful!
Rosie’s Bio: Rosie J. Pova is a multi-published Amazon best-selling children’s author, poet, and the founder of two children’s writing contests―KWEST and Haiku Hype. Her latest picture book, Cybils Awards nominated, Sarah’s Song, illustrated by Emma Allen, was the Kirkus Reviews Editors’ pick in February 2018. Kirkus also called it “a heartwarming book.” Rosie’s other works include, If I Weren’t with You (ages 4-8) which is on the SCBWI Official Recommended Reading List for TX/OK and a humorous sci-fi middle grade novel titled, Hailey Queen Pranking Makes Perfect: The Alien Encounter (ages 8-12).
Rosie is passionate about writing in a manner that will impact her readers. She loves visiting schools to encourage children to read, write, get in touch with their creativity, and inspire them to dream big and follow their passions.No matter what kind of story she writes―funny, sweet or silly―Rosie hopes to move her readers and warm their hearts. Learn more about Rosie’s school author visits at www.rosiejpova.com