I'm not new to talking, sharing ideas, or stating my opinion, especially stating my opinion! After all, I taught elementary school for 30 years! However, my audience has typically been smaller,just family, the classroom, or just talking to myself!

My blog has two goals: be an outlet for sharing thoughts on writing children's books and the path to publication (got my fingers crossed that I'll get there) and a place to chronicle my journey of losing my sight. Sometimes I imagine these two paths will overlap .

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

SpringMingle '13 Blog Tour, Day 3.

    Every February, the Southern Breeze SCBWI Region holds their Spring conference in Atlanta. This year, our    keynote speaker will be the amazing writer and poet, Nikki Grimes.

    I have the pleasure of introducing you to her. Register for SpringMingle ( Feb. 22-24) to hear Nikki speak and participate in her all day writing intensive.                 

Welcome Nikki! 

Would you share a preview of your topics for the all day Friday intensive and the Friday night keynote?

The focus of the intensive will be my step-by-step process for developing a picture book story or novel-in-verse. As for the keynote, I'll keep that under my hat.

You're known as a writer of poetry and prose. Whose poetry excites you? Whose prose do you enjoy?

I adore the poetry of Lucille Clifton, and I'll read any prose written by Angela Johnson or Gary Schmidt.  They are both incredible storytellers, each with an usual gift of restraint.

Do you plot out your stories-in-verse like  prose, or does poetry come to you more organically?

Poetry comes to me organically, but all stories need to be plotted out, no matter the format.

Asking a writer to pick a favorite book is akin to picking a favorite child, but is there a character you enjoyed writing more or connected with more than the others?

I most love the character I'm writing, at the moment. Right now, that's a character named Gabriella.

What would you say to writers contemplating SCBWI membership?

I strongly urge anyone who is serious about a career in children's literature to, first of all, join their regional SCBWI.  That's job #1.

The themes in your stories seem to correlate well with school curriculum  (character education in particular) as well as topics for school counselors. Do you have the educational market in mind when you write?

I don't have any particular familiarity with curriculum, but I do understand what children need. I speak to that, and let the rest take care of itself.

Do you have something you're working on that you can share with us?

The character I mentioned earlier is from a manuscript called Words With Wings, which is currently in production.  It is scheduled to be published this fall!  Can't wait.

What's one thing you'd like writers to know about you that they might not already know? 

I face rejection like any other writer does.  It goes with the territory, but you can't let it stop you from pressing forward!  Simply because you have a genuine gift or talent doesn't mean the road will always be easy.  The old adage, "if at first you don't succeed, try, try again" still applies!

Thank you Nikki, for a peek into your world. To learn more about Nikki Grimes and her books, check out her web site

Know who else will be at Springmingle '13? Check out this list, follow the blog tour to meet them, then register to see them in person at www.southern-breeze.net

Jan. 21: Will Terry, illustrator, at Elizabeth O. Dulenba"s blog
Jan. 22: Beck McDowell, author, at Bonnie Herold's blog "Tenacious Teller of Tales"
Jan. 23: Nikki Grimes, author, at  Gail Handler's blo, "Write From the Soul"
Jan. 24: Jill Corcoran, agent, at  Donny Seagraves's blog
Jan. 25: Chad Beckerman, creative director, at Laura Golden's blog
Jan. 28: Katherine Jacobs, editor, at Cathy C. Hall's blog
Jan. 29: Mark Braught, illustrator, at  Vicky Alvear Shecter's blog, "History With A Twist"
Jan. 30: Carmen Agra Deedy, author, at Ramey Channell's blog "Moonlight Ridge Series"


  1. Great interview. Thanks! I'm wishing now that I signed up for the intensive.

    1. Sally, I know what you mean! Hopefully we can find someone willing to share a few gems from the day!

  2. I don't know how I missed this...great interview! At a recent school visit, I was chatting with a young teen writer and I asked her who her favorite author was--when she said Nikki Grimes, I got all "squeeeeee" with her when I told her I'd be seeing her at the conference. Suddenly, I was "somebody!" I had to agree--it made my day.

    1. Vicky,
      Thanks for checking out the interview. I enjoyed reading yours with Mark Braught- what a generous guy.
      Oh, just so you know, you're a "somebody" long before that student classified you as one!

  3. Catching up on the blog tour today and love what Nikki had to say about "try, try, again." It's nice to know that even successful authors have to pick themselves up and keep on going.

    Lovely interview--and can't wait to hear her keynote at SM '13!

    1. Cathy,
      Thanks for reading the interview. Hearing Nikki say everyone has ups and downs, just keep going IS inspiring! Makes us unpubs feel a little more hopeful!

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  5. Thank you, Gail, and thanks, Nikki! Looking forward to the intensive and the conference.