Welcome to Three Times A Charm. I love meeting new authors, illustrators, bloggers, agents, editors or promoters from the children’s publishing industry and sharing their careers with my readers.
Today’s guest is author, Sharon Stanley. Sharon can you tell us a little about you, please?
I live in rural Virginia, with 5 chickens, 4 dogs, 3 cats, 2 boys, one husband and lots of cows in a crop circle of craziness called White Oak Farm. It’s a working, family-owned farm which has been in my husband’s family for over 100 years. Writing material is never a problem! The Little Dog in the Middle of the Road, recently published by Silver Tongue Press, is my first in print. I have several others under contract.
When not writing picture books, I am usually up to my ears in artistic projects or writing about farm life and my publication journey on my blog, www.farmandfrufru.blogspot.com, that is when I’m not needed on the farm.
I’m a member of SCBWI and have had articles published in Ideals Magazine, The Upper Room and the GAP Kids e-zine through Guardian Angel Publishing.
Tell us more about your book.
The Little Dog in the Middle of the Road is actually based on a true story that happened here on thefarm. Of course the first draft was about 2000 words and was eventually whittled down to its present state. I’ve written for a number of years, but this was the first book I actually tried to have published. It took over a year, but I am pleased with the result and have met so many wonderful people in the process.
The original little dog was returned to his owner (thankfully!), but I was so taken with him, I wanted one of my own and bought “Olive” a little Yorkie-Poo soon after. When the illustrator, Diedre Carr heard about Olive, she added the little ant pushing the olive throughout the book in honor of my little Olive….I love that! Children seem to really enjoy searching each illustration for that little olive!
Now, for the Threes. Share with us your top 3’s to help us know you a little better.
- Top 3 skills to hone for people just starting in your business.
Since I am new to writing myself, I feel qualified to answer this question! I think the ability to research a publisher very carefully before submitting a manuscript is particularly important. It’s such a waste of time to submit to a publisher who doesn’t publish your type of writing, be it age, story type or whatever. Carefully googling and researching is such a time saver in the end. A second important skill I believe is editing. Slash that manuscript! I tend to be very wordy, but when I put a manuscript on the back burner for a few weeks and let it simmer, I find it much easier to slash and cut ruthlessly. If you are not good at it, find someone who is. Thirdly, I think it’s important to be able to write a great query/cover letter. There are lots of classes, books, and blogs about queries and there’s a reason for that. That’s a tricky business and doing it well pays off down the road.
- Top 3 leisure activities.
I love art. When I’m not writing I want to be making something. I love working with paint, fabric, ribbon or paper creating some sort of art project. I loved Captain Kangaroo when I was a child and my favorite part of the show was when he pulled out that shoebox of art supplies and made a puppet or hat. I still get that feeling when I start a new art project!
I love to thrift. For me, it’s the thrill of the hunt. When we bought a small farm about 40 miles from home, we built a barn with a small studio apartment. I vowed to outfit the space on less than $1000 and with my thrifting, I did it. Tons of fun! I love seeing what I can find and then what I can do to make it better.
I love being at home. The best afternoons are spent reading magazines on the front porch just watching the cows in the field. It’s peaceful, quiet and simple. I like that.
- Top 3 professions you wanted to be when you grew up.
Growing up I remember very much wanting to be an artist and to write. I can’t draw a stick, but I do enjoy creating in other ways. I think I always did. I also remember wanting to be a Vet. I’ve always loved animals and thought working with them would be a great way to make a living. But as old-fashioned as it sounds, more than anything, I wanted a home and family, just like my mother had. I’ve always admired my mother and grandmother very much and thought the jobs of “keeping house” and raising a family were very important and very cool. Both my mother and grandmother always treated their “jobs” as important and I grew up thinking that’s what I wanted to do. Lucky me, in some ways I get to live all three of those childhood dreams!
Readers, now Sharon wants to hear from you. Share your response to this question:
Do you prefer quiet books or those with more action for children today?
Where can our tech savvy readers find you online?
Sharon, it was lovely having you charm us on this week’s Three Times A Charm. Best of luck to you and your book.