Greetings. This is the second stop on the blog tour for the release of Edmund Pickle Chin, A Donkey Rescue Story by Clara Bowman-Jahn and Susan April Elwood.
The book is illustrated by Lynne Bendoly and published by eTreasures Publishing in April 2014.
When asked to participate in the blog tour, I jumped at the opportunity to ask questions about being co-authors. Are you ever curious how writers work together. I’m happy Susan and Clara are sharing their experience.
This is the second stop in our incredible blog tour show casing Susan and mine journey from idea to book for Edmund Pickle Chin, a Donkey Rescue Story. Tomorrow is Vivian Kirkfield’s Perfect Picture Book Friday giving you the review and a parent activity you can do along with the book. At the bottom of this post you will find the other stops of this tour and the way you can win prizes by following this blog and by leaving a comment. I hope you enjoy our discussion of how Susan and I wrote the book together. —Stacy
Q: Who came up with the story idea for Edmund Pickle Chin?
Susan: I have the pleasure of caring for Edmund, so when we decided to write a book for the farm, Edmund was an easy pick for me. He out of all the critters had transformed the most.
Clara: The idea for a story came from both of us at the same time and Susan had already written a very rough draft for a story hoping with more work it could become a children’s picture book. We started talking picture book at the same time and it grew from there.
Q: Did you know one another before the book idea came about or did you get to know one another through the story?
Susan: We met while our now grown sons were young. We lost touch, and I saw on face book Clara’s had written her first book, Annie’s Special Day, contacted her to congratulate, it took off from there.
Q: How did you all write the manuscript? Did you each create a draft or did you write it together?
Susan: I sent Clara Edmund’s true story in rough form and it morphed dramatically over time with our revisions and Clara’s critique groups input.
Clara: I worked on it feverishly for five months, getting up at dawn to work on it. When I thought I had a good revision, I sent it to Susan and we would work on it some more till it we thought it was done. We did this over and over. I also took it to my critique groups who were invaluable in their input. I give full credit to them in the acknowledgements page. One awesome friend even gave me the idea of matching the nick names with the days of the week showing passage of time for Edmund to build trust.
Q: Did you write via email, via Skype or another video chat system?
Emailed. And phone calls. We were on the phone to each other almost daily.
Q: How did the idea of using days of the week come about in your writing process?
Clara: See above answer, I give full credit to one of my awesome critique partners who gave me the idea of adding the nick names to the days of the week so Edmund could develop trust while showing the passage of time.
Q: How does the revision process work with two authors?
Susan: We bounced it off one other over and over.
Clara: I asked Susan questions of her care giving for Edmund and how trust developed. As each piece of the story showed it needed more info I would ask Susan more questions and she dug deep and found the answers I needed. I worked and worked the answers to my questions into the story you see. As each piece came together I would send Susan the “finished “revision and we would get to work on another draft till it was perfect. We had 28 revisions and each time I thought it was the finished manuscript. I only brought it to the critique groups when I thought it was finished. So you can see how important one or two critique groups can be.
Q: Did you still share the story with your critique groups?
Clara: I belonged to Julie Hedlund’s 12×12 where I posted the first 250 words and got good feedback and from there I belonged to a critique group we formed from the 12×12 group where I sent it but the awesome idea of turning each day with a nick name came from my Round Hill Writer’s group. And of course my SCBWI picture book critique group got to look at it twice. So my critique groups were invaluable. I knew I had a good idea but it would not be the book it is today without the invaluable feedback from my critique groups. Thanks, Friends!
Q: How does the submission process work for a co-authored story?
Susan: The same as for any author except we each had to write our bio’s etc.
Clara: Since I had already been published by eTreasures Publishing once with Annie’s Special Day, I felt they deserved first refusal for a second picture book and they were first on my list of submissions. I sent it right before leaving for my son’s wedding and did not send it anywhere else at that time. And we got a reply in two weeks saying they would take it. It was snoopy dance time!
Q: How long did it take you all to create the story and then to publication?
Susan: I believe we started around Dec. and submitted in the end of May. We heard within two weeks that eTreasurespublishing was interested.
Clara: I did not work on anything else but Edmund, starting early in the morning and giving it four good hours each day, working and reworking it, sending Susan questions as they came up. She was an awesome co-author giving me answers almost as soon as soon as I sent them. We also did a lot of phone conversations around the topic of the book.
Q: Did you all have a formal contract for the work you did or did you just work on a handshake? If you had a contract, how did you find out the proper way to do this? This question might be too personal, but wondering after I attended a ghostwriting workshop at the weekend conference.
Susan: I might say that we did not have a contract between us, but that doesn’t mean we shouldn’t have. Especially with the farm involved. For us it worked out but for some it may not have.
Clara: I agree, it worked out for us not having a contract but for others, not as close, they may want to have a written contract.
Stacy: Thanks for answering the questions. I learned a lot about the process of working with a writing partner. Good luck with the book!
With two authors, we have two bios!
Susan April Elwood has worked with children for over twenty years in Northern Virginia as a preschool teacher, kindergarten assistant, and a library assistant. With her passion for animals it made perfect sense to combine the two and write an animal story for children, teaming up with author Clara Bowman-Jahn.
Susan and her husband Tom moved from Northern Virginia in 2007 to central Georgia where they founded Evermay Farm, a non-profit rescue for farm animals. This is the setting for the book titled, Edmund Pickle Chin, A Donkey Rescue Story. The story is based on Edmund a donkey, the first of many animals to call Evermay Farm home. Susan and her husband Tom have two treasured sons, a wonderful daughter-in-law and a precious grandson. In her free time, Susan enjoys photographing animals and antiquing.
Clara Bowman-Jahn worked as a registered nurse for thirty two years finally trading that job for her true love, writing. Clara’s short stories have been published in three anthologies, Campaigner Challenges 2011, The ‘I’ Word and Charms Vol. 2. She is also the author of Annie’s Special Day a children’s picture book. Her second picture book, a true story, called Edmund Pickle Chin, a Donkey Rescue Story, also by eTreasurespublishing released in April 2014.
When Clara is not writing, she volunteers by teaching ESOL to adult students. She also likes taking long walks with her husband, Pilates, blogging, and reading books. She is a member of the Society for Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators, Julie Hedlund’s Picture Book Challenge 12×12, Susanna Leonard Hill’s Making Picture Book Magic; Pennwriters, Bethesda Writer’s Center and Round Hill Writer’s Group. She lives in rural Loudoun County, Virginia with her brilliant husband, and two cats. She is the proud mother of two wonderful grown sons and a grandmother to a delightful grandson.
Thanks so much for reading Friends! For all friends of Edmund are my friends. Below please find our links and the tour. Read every post, follow the blog and comment for prizes. The reader who follows each blog and comments on each stop of the tour will get first prize. And if there are many winners, hurray! We will deliver!
First prize is a print book of both Annie’s Special Day and Edmund Pickle Chin. Second prize is either a print copy of Edmund or of Annie, you get to pick. Third prize is a copy of the ebook of Edmund Pickle Chin, a Donkey Rescue Story.
For Susan April Elwood:
For Clara Bowman-Jahn
BLOG TOUR DATES
May 26: Animal abuse and mistreatment — Joanna –www.joannamarple.com
May 29: Author collaboration— Stacy – http://www.stacysjensen.com
May 30: PPBF and review — Vivian – http://viviankirkfield.com/
June 2: Author interview — Erik – www.ThisKidReviewsBooks.com
June 4: Edmund interview — Patricia – http://childrensbooksheal.com
June 9: Teacher info and guide — Susanna – http://susannahill.blogspot.com
It’s ME — Stacy again. Thanks for stopping by and learning more about Edmund Pickle Chin, Susan, and Clara. Please visit the other blogs on the tour too and enter to win the prizes. I’m sailing away for a bit and will have limited Internet, I’ll be back eventually … Have a great day.
Iza Trapani says
Congratulations to Clara and Susan! I look forward to reading the story about this greatly named donkey!
Susan Elwood says
I hope you enjoy the book as much I enjoyed naming him! 🙂
Teresa Robeson says
What a fascinating look at the co-authoring process! Thanks for asking all the questions we want to ask, Stacey. It’s not something I’d thought of doing but it sounds like this grew organically for Susan and Clar and worked out wonderfully. Congratulations to the two of them!
Catherine Johnson says
Great post ladies! I need an iPad. All the best with Edmund. I hope to hear from him at some point.
Susan Elwood says
Funny you mentioned wanting to hear from Edmund….you will if you follow the blog tour!
Loved reading about this highly successful collaborative process. And yay for crti groups!
Thanks, Ladies for your wonderful comments and nice words. And thanks so much, Stacy for your thoughtful questions and hosting us on our tour. This was a ball to do and Susan and I are so happy to be here with you.
We hope you have fun on your trip! 🙂
Thanks Clara! I finally made it back and hope to catch up on the tour.
Sue Wang says
I LOVE the cover of this book. The green and a beautiful face. Great energy. It is wonderful to hear such passion and friendship/partnership in making this book. Writing is often a solo journey, having a co-author like described here is treasure. ♥
Susan Elwood says
Thank you! Yes, the cover is wonderful, Lynne Bendoly did a fantastic job!!!
Margot Finke says
That cover is a WINNER! I want to smile back every time I see it. Great interview about co-authering too. I sent a link and memo about today’s tour stop to all my Google+ and Facebook connections. Susan and Clara, your “donkey” has success written all over him!!!
Books for Kids – Manuscript Critiques
Beth Stilborn says
It was fascinating to learn about the collaboration process. Thank you, ladies!
Patricia Tilton says
I thoroughly enjoyed learning about their collaborative process. Clar and Susan really compliment each other. Two minds are always better than one! I can’t believe that you sold the idea to your publisher in two weeks. You both brought so much to this fabulous project!
Vivian Kirkfield says
Stacy…this was a fascinating look at how an author and illustrator can collaborate on a book. And we know the author…hurray! Great post…I think it worked well for these two because they are incredibly task-oriented, honest people…but I agree that a contract might be a good idea for others. 😉 Congrats to Clar, Susan and Lynne for a wonderful story and beautiful book!
This was a great interview. Sounds like an incredible feat to accomplish long distance! Yay for Clara and Susan!
Penny Parker Klostermann says
Loved hearing about the collaboration for your book. It sounds like a wonderful story. Congrats to both of you!
Erik - TKRB says
What a great interview! It explained a lot! 🙂
Darlene Foster says
Susan and Clar have done a great job with this important book!
Thank you all for your comments and stopping by to learn about the collaboration behind the book! I just returned from my trip and finally have Internet access once more.
Kristi V. says
Thanks for this post! It’s very interesting seeing your process from start to finish.
Suzy Leopold says
Edmund Pickle Chin! You are sooo cute. Congratulations to Clara, Susan and Lynne on such an outstanding topic.