One of my favorite things in the world is stumbling upon a book that seems to be written just for me, but I get an even bigger rush when I find a book that is PERFECT for someone else. That’s what happened with CHARLOTTE THE SCIENTIST IS SQUISHED. One busy afternoon, I stopped in at B&N with this Paper People interview in mind. It took me all of ten minutes to find it, check out and rush from the store, eager to share my newest treasure with my daughter. As the oldest she is spirited, strong and selfless with an insatiable thirst for all things science. This adorable bunny book belongs on my daughter’s shelf as much as my trusty copy of WRITING PICTURE BOOKS belongs on my own. Since the beginning of Paper People, I’ve been so grateful that the books I’ve read introduce me to their author by way of these interviews. In CHARLOTTE’S case, I feel blessed that reaching out to Camille helped my daughter and I to know Charlotte. Trust me, if you don’t already, you’ll be glad to know Camille and CHARLOTTE, too. They’re powerful women! So, what are you waiting for? Read on!
Camille, thanks for being here! Before we get started, can I get you something to drink? You’re such a great hostess, thank you Jennifer J I always love a cup of cocoa on a cold winter day.
Cocoa it is! Although it’s not wintery here, anymore, there’s just enough of a chill in the air that I think I’ll join you. So, it seems you are a woman of many hats. Your website mentions that you garden, have six kids and are an EMT along with being an author. Plus, you’ve lived all over the country (and Israel!) You must have countless stories to tell! How did you start writing for children? I’ve always loved picture books, never out grew them and always wanted to write them. When my youngest was finally sleeping through the night I decided see what it would take to make that dream a reality.
Elizabeth Gilbert (BIG MAGIC) gives full credit for her writing career and deep-seated respect for creativity to the fact that she watched her mom live a creative life. Do you see your writing having an impact on your children? The impact I hope for it to have on my children is that they have seen firsthand how I had a dream, set goals to achieve that dream and then worked really really hard to make it happen.
I wish the same for my own! I don’t have a publishing contract in hand, nor one in the foreseeable future, but I keep reminding myself that if I’m helping my kids to embrace their creativity and understand what it means to work towards a dream, then I’ll consider myself a success. I’ve ‘met’ some of your Picture the Book-mates over recent months and read an interview you did with Anna Forrester. In it, you mention that you’re the oldest of 7 kids! Basically, you have first-hand, life-long experience being ‘squished’. Where was your favorite place to retreat to when you need a minute alone? My bunk bed. I would walk to the grocery story, buy myself a candy bar, snuggle up in my bed, eat my candy and read. My grandparents also had a tree I loved to climb and read up in the tree. It always sounded like a good idea, but in practice it was actually kind of hard to balance a book up in a tree.
Let’s talk about CHARLOTTE THE SCIENTIST IS SQUISHED! I love science (my background is in nursing) and so does my eight-year-old daughter. We read it often! Was this story your first picture book manuscript? How long was it a ‘work in progress’? This wasn’t my first manuscript. I had several I was working on trying to build up a body of work that I could share with an agent, but it was the first book I sold. My first picture book manuscript I wrote is THE DRESS AND THE GIRL and will be coming out this August illustrated by Julie Morstad.
Not long after we first ‘met’, I saw your cover reveal for THE DRESS AND THE GIRL! It’s beautiful and simple and rich. Can you give us a taste of what this one is about? Does it have a similar feel? THE DRESS AND THE GIRL is totally different from Charlotte. It’s a story about a little girl and her favorite dress, the power of memory, and how a life we think may be ordinary is actually quite extraordinary.
Tomorrow, March 14, you’ll have been a published author for one whole year! Happy Book-iversary! Do you have plans to celebrate? Thank you! I hadn’t actually thought of celebrating, but I do love any excuse to celebrate, so now you’ve got me thinking…maybe I’ll have a birthday party with my kids for Charlotte the Scientist! J
Do you remember the first time you saw CHAROLTTE on a bookstore shelf? Yes! A friend texted that she saw it at Barnes and Noble so after everyone got home from school we loaded all the kids up in the car and went to make it official. It was a pretty fun night!
I can imagine! So, tell us, how did you get it on those shelves? Oh my. I think I had zero to do with the book getting on shelves other than writing it. There is so much out of our control in this business and that is one of them. I think you just do the best with the information you have and don’t look back. You can “should-a, could-a, would-a,” yourself to death, but it’s not productive. Spend your time writing more great books.
I’m a member of an online book study and we’ve just started making our way through Ann Whitford Paul’s WRITING PICTURE BOOKS. I don’t know if you’re familiar with her book or not, but in the first chapter she recommends typing out a ‘picture book you love’ as a guide. I can tell you that CHARLOTTE THE SCIENTIST was one of them… for a couple of us! It is so cleverly written. Where did you get the idea to use the Scientific Method to guide your story? Thank you! In the early drafts of the book the scientific method was only mentioned in passing. It was only after the book was sold that we decided to add in the specific steps of the scientific method.
It’s spot on! I don’t think we’ll ever study the scientific method the same way again. Now that you have one year and (nearly) two books under your belt I’m curious: What’s been the most surprising thing about making it to the published side of the industry? I’ve learned that most people feel like they are an imposter and are just waiting for everyone to figure it out. I’ve also learned that it’s not productive to compare yourself to anyone else. It’ll only make you feel bad. The world is wide enough (to borrow from a Hamilton reference;) for all of us and all of our books and ideas, so our time is best served writing good books, and helping to cheer others on to do the same.
Yes! Just write good books; so simple and so powerful. Can you remind us when we can expect THE DRESS AND THE GIRL? Anything else coming down the pipe? Where can we find and follow you on social media? THE DRESS AND THE GIRL will be out August 7, 2018, another CHARLOTTE THE SCIENTIST book will be out next year, as will a picture book biography about ELIZA HAMILTON.
Facebook: Camille Andros
Thanks so much for visiting with me!