A few weeks ago I reviewed Samantha's novel, Super Freak. Middle grade readers, and even some adults will enjoy the fast-paced story of a one-of-a kind human girl, who lives in a totally supernatural town. She's the only one who has no special magic…at least, she thinks she is. I highly recommend Super Freak.
There was an old dragon who needed
a lesson in table manners!
I mean really, he swallowed
everything in sight, and much to the delight of young readers, burped them all
This rollicking retelling of a
well-known children’s song has perfect meter, action verbs, and a rhyme scheme
that makes the story roll off the tongue. Children especially LOVE the refrain.
As an adult, I’ve used this book
as an introduction to cumulative tales in my 3rd grade writing class
for Young Author’s Day at a local college and the children loved the lyrical language
and easily understood the concept.
Nominated as one of the ten best
rhyming picture books of 2015, There Was an Old Dragon Who Swallowed a
Knight may lumber away having eaten yet another item, the inaugural
Best Rhyming Picture Book Award.
Author Penny Parker Klostermann
is a teacher, author and lover of picture books, especially rhyming ones. She’s
a member of The Poets’ Garage, where she hones her rhyming skills.
Good luck, Penny and Dragon! For more information on Penny scroll down to my interview with her in September.
The crisp leaves cinched beneath my feet and the sun shined through the trees on campus. It was a day that inspired writing and over 250 children from northeast Pennsylvania schools did just that. They attended Young Author's Day ay Keystone College, in La Plume, PA.
I taught 120 third graders a fun writing activity. It was a bit hectic with that many children in one room, but with the help of Brooke and Kat, and a few elementary teachers, we got the job done. One child even shared his work with the group. The keynote speakers and the activities inspired these children to to write.
That’s the trick of it, isn’t it? I steal time
throughout the day—first thing in the morning, a few hours midmorning to
early afternoon on days I don’t work, late at night after the kids are in bed,
really anytime I can squeeze writing in. I protect my writing time like a ninja
warrior wielding words instead of swords.
I prefer to write at
home at my beautiful maple desk surrounded by books and free from distractions.
My ‘real’life obligations lead me
to write during planning periods, in the car, on metal bleachers, or wherever
inspiration strikes me.
2. How did you find the inspiration for AND THEN HE?
Inspiration for my books
hits me suddenly and violently and usually when I’m sleeping. I write down every thought, every image,
and every conversation as soon as possible even if it’s in the middle of the
night. These rough notes become the basis for my stories.
A few years ago, I dreamt
about attending a high school reunion. I became the main character, Tiffani
Watson, but Tiffani wasn’t the ‘real’me—I realize that thought processmight not make sense because I’m the who had the dream,
but it’s no different from any
first person point of view story. I’m not Katniss Everdeen but I become her during Hunger Games.
After I woke up, I wrote
down the loose premise for AND THEN HE and went back to my Young Adult project
I was working on. But Tiffani wouldn’t quiet down. She wanted a voice and her own story,
but a reunion just didn’t fit into the proper Young Adult age range, 14-18. I
toyed with the idea of a homecoming weekend at a private school, but it didn’t feel right. I thought
about a few other scenarios, but it still didn’t feel right and at that time, I had no interest in
writing an adult book.
Fast forward a year or
two, and I’m surfing Twitter, and I
discover a new genre called New Adult. The age range of 18-24 fit perfectly
into the parameters I had in mind for AND THEN HE, and so AND THEN HE took
3. How long did it take you to write AND THEN HE?
I started AND THEN HE in
the spring of 2013, then I rewrote my Young Adult book in the fall of that year
before diving back into AND THEN HE for the remainder of 2014. I rewrote and
edited AND THEN HE in the spring of 2015. I’d say all in all about two years.
I don’t write much in the
summer—I travel with my family,
so I spend most of my free-time reading, which is essential to strong writing
anyway, so win-win.
4. Tell us a bit about your revision
process for AND THEN HE.
wrote the first draft of AND THEN HE, I put it in the drawer for two months and
worked on something else. When I came back to it, I was fresh and ready to
work. I printed out AND THEN HE in a different font with wide margins and read
through it. I made notes, examined Big Picture stuff like plot, theme and
character arc, then I got to work rewriting the entire document. This revision
step takes a lot of time, but it allows me to catch awkward phrasing and other
holes I might miss otherwise.
rewrote the draft, I downloaded it on my Kindle and read it again. I also
listened to it on a reading app.
the entire process, my critique group, the Ink Sisters, identified weaknesses
in character development, dialogue, scene creation, and grammar mistakes. They’re
invaluable to my writing process.
5. How many revisions?
That’s a tough question. The
beginning I rewrote many times. I cut, I added, I cut again until I created an
opening that pulled the reader into the story. Other sections came naturally
and I worked on them very little.
I’m a planner, so much of
the character arcs and plots don’t change. I know exactly what I want to happen and
when; it’s just a matter of
putting it into action.
The short answer: One
complete rewrite of entire document, and several shorter rewrites of different
6. Do you have an agent?
I do not. My Young Adult
novel is under review and I am actively seeking representation for that story.
I also just finished a nonfiction picture book, that I plan to start querying
in the next month or two.
New Adult is a different
beast. I didn’t write AND THEN HE for
agent review. I wrote it for reader consumption. I wanted to get AND THEN HE
into readers hands as soon as possible, and the reviews of AND THEN HE suggest
I made the right decision.
7. Was there anything that surprised you about the editorial/publishing
There’s a learning curve for
sure. I didn’t tag AND THEN HE with
the most relevant and appropriate search labels—I’ve fixed that, and hopefully AND THEN HE will come up
within the first few pages of several different categories on Amazon.
I also learned that I am
my own worst critic. I should have put AND THEN HE up for sale months ago, but
now that I’ve done it, I plan to
dive in much sooner.
8. From a practical standpoint, how
do you keep various versions of a longer manuscript organized?
not the best person to answer this question. As I said earlier I am a planner.
I’m also very visual, so I visualize scenes and story arcs in my head
before I ever put them down on paper.
But that’s not very
helpful to most people. Hmm, here’s one, I don’t label my
chapters until the end of the writing/revision process—this way I
can cut and paste easily without relabeling all the chapters. I also encourage
writers to learn about downloading their personal documents to their Kindle or
Kindle app —I’m working on a blog post on that very skill.
I’m also on Facebook:
10. Can you give us an excerpt from AND THEN HE? Sure.
AND THEN HE: A
New Adult Romantic Thriller
by Kim Briggs
The first sip hits the tangle of nerves in my
stomach like a shot of heat lightning. The second wraps its arms around the
knot in a loving embrace. By the third, a seductive fuzziness travels down my
limbs straight to my fingertips and toes.
“Another?”The hotel bartender asks. His dark brown eyes remind me of my favorite
candy bar—savory and irresistible.
I nod, as if the empty
wine glass I pushed towards him isn’t enough of an answer.
I throw another ten on the bar. “Yep, my fifth.”
“On the house,”he says, offering me his hand. “Isaac.”
Mine disappears into his
large, slightly damp one. “Tiffani.”
“Well, Tiffani, you’re welcome to come back and visit me all night.”He squeezes my hand, not to the point of
discomfort but enough to encourage me to take him up on his invitation.
“Tempting,”I smile. A little harmless flirting with the handsome bartender makes me
feel less like the lonely left behind girlfriend and more like a woman who
deserves to attend her high school reunion.
Thanks for reading. If you’re interested in reading more, here’s the link:
thinking about my next project. I’m working on a New Adult romantic
thriller called AVALANCHE. Then I have two big Young Adult projects lined up. I’m also
playing around with some nonfiction picture books, so visit my website htttp://KimBriggsWrite.com to stay up to date on all the latest