The worst advice I ever got was that you had to “know someone” in the industry to break in. I have yet to meet an author who had an inside track from the start.
I got some really great advice from a workshop Linda Sue Park did last summer. She said, “To succeed as a writer you need talent, passion, and discipline, and if you have to, you can do without either talent or passion.” It’s not easy advice to hear but it’s wise, and it’s kept me on track in a challenging year.
What advice would you now give someone starting out in children's literature?
Finish something. Take your strongest story idea, focus on it exclusively, set a deadline and finish it.
What favorite author/illustrator blogs, websites, Facebook pages, or Twitter accounts do you follow?
The best agent blog I’ve read lately is Jennifer represents… by Jennifer Laughren.
The best general introduction to children’s literature can be had in daily doses from Anita Silvey at the Children's Book-A-Day Almanac.
For all things Middle Grade try From the Mixed Up Files of Middle Grade Authors.
Where do you do your best work?
Love my tree house! I can work anywhere, and because I have a big, busy family I usually do, but I love to work outdoors more than anything, so my husband and kids built me a wonderful tree house in the back yard, and I work there all summer long.
What are you most looking forward to about being part of the 2011 SCBWI WWA faculty?
I’m very much looking forward to catching up with old friends and meeting some new ones. It’s always invigorating to talk with writers at every stage of the process. I’m going to be leaving on a research trip right after the conference so I also have a few people whose brains I’d like to pick about historical and cross-cultural novels.
Attendees are often nervous to meet faculty at a conference. What, if anything, makes you nervous about being part of the faculty?
One of my day jobs has been teaching SAT prep to 17 year olds in an un-air conditioned classroom in August—that’s a tough crowd. Teaching writers is all joy! I won’t make you do any algebra, I swear! Maybe a teensy bit of vocabulary, but no analogies. Promise. J
What do you like most about your job?
I love, love, love school visits! It’s a long exhausting day, but the kids are so fun, and I’m always inspired by the dedicated teachers and librarians I meet.
What do you like least?
Spelling. As a child I became hooked on fonix. I’ve struggled with it ever since. It’s not pritty.
Thanks Rosanne!! You can find out more about Rosanne, and her work, on her website. Sadly, our conference registration is full, but you can still get your name on the waiting list. Visit the event website for more information.