Thursday, January 24, 2019


The world of a children's writer is very small! No, I'm not referring to "It's a Small World After All!... But it is!

Today's guest on THE STORYTELLER'S SCROLL explains my case in point.

ELLEN LEVENTHAL is a widely known children's author on Children's Writer's sites like 12 x 12 Picture Book Challenge, KidLit 411, and Sub Six.

I was first introduced to Ellen at the SPORK publishing website. She is a fellow Clear Fork Author. She has two picture books published by SPORK and today I'm going to interview her about her new one, LOLA CAN'T LEAP!

Welcome, Ellen. I have a few questions for you...

1. Can you tell us something your readers don’t know about you?
One thing my readers may not know about me is that I am terrified to send my manuscripts to agents and publishers. I could spend years and years on revision (and I usually do) because I never really feel that my story is the best it can be. However, I have learned to get to a point where I say “this is it,” and I take a breath and hit “send.” Then I yell at the computer to send it back. It doesn’t help. 😊
2. Do you see yourself in any of your characters?
That’s an easy one. YES! I am super clumsy, so when I thought about poor Lola trying to leap, I thought of myself slipping and tripping. The “splat” and “kerplunk” in the book are sounds very familiar to me. Also, I wrote a short story about a little girl’s relationship with her grandfather, and that was based on my grandfather and me. 
3. How long ago did you get the idea for Lola Can’t Leap? What inspired you to write it
 I got the idea close to four years ago. I was taking Susanna Hill’s wonderful class, and one night I was in bed watching a mattress commercial where a sheep was jumping the fence. I said to my husband that I’m glad I’m not a sheep because I could never get over the fence. That was my “aha” moment, and I started writing it for her class. Unfortunately, there were lots of starts and stops due to unexpected circumstances (including three floods in two and a half years), but, I kept going and finally began to submit it. 
4. When and where do you write, Ellen?
I really don’t have a set time when I write. I often write or at least do “writing-related tasks” first thing in the morning, but on some days, I only have a few minutes before the rest of my life calls.  On days like that, I try to get back to writing later in the day. As far as where I write, it depends on the day and my mood. I usually do the “real” writing in my home office, but I take notes, do research, write random thoughts or poetry pretty much anywhere. I’m lucky because I work with young writers, and when they write in class, I do too. 

5. Any new picture books coming out?

No more picture books in the pipeline at this point. I have several manuscripts completed, and I will be submitting them soon. (See, I am overcoming my fear!) Of course, there is no guarantee that they will be published, but they’re there! 
6. What are you currently working on?
Right now, I am doing research for a non-fiction picture book biography, playing around with an outline for a middle-grade historical fiction novel, and trying to take that short story about my grandfather and change it into a picture book. 
7. Do you have any advice to unpublished writers?
 My main advice to unpublished writers is to work on the craft. Writing a book is hard work. Reach out to others in the kid lit community, take classes, find a critique group (or three!), and don’t be afraid to fail. The other thing I’d say is to focus on the joy of writing, not the end game of publication. I think we all need to remember that. The advice to an earlier version of myself is basically the same advice I give to my present self. Be brave and remember that a rejection is not a rejection of you. Keep working, learning, and connecting with other writers. And as I said above, don’t let the stress get you. Connect to the joy in writing. 
For me, one of the best things about this business is the connections and friends I’ve made. I couldn’t do it alone. We are in this together! 
Thank you so much for having me, Gayle! I really appreciate it. 

You are certainly welcome, Ellen! 
And now for Ellen's special Giveaway...

Ellen has agreed to giveaway a picture book manuscript critique. To be eligible, we have a little game for you to play. 


The following three statements are about Ellen and Lola. Can you guess the lie? Those of you that comment below and guess correctly will have a chance to be selected for the manuscript critique prize. Winner will be posted here in 2 weeks. ***

I wrote more than thirty drafts of the book.

When I was young, I fell off a tire swing and took ballet lessons like Lola did. 

A song gave me the idea for the name Lola.

***Follow The Storyteller's Scroll through email choice above for updates on other new books, author giveaways, and contests!

Good luck to everyone and Congratulations to Ellen and Lola!

LOLA CAN'T LEAP is available online at Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and Clearfork Publishing!


  1. Thank you for the fun post! Congratulations, Ellen! I think the song reference is the lie.
    Candace 😃

  2. Great interview, Ellen! I enjoyed learning more about you and your process. I also think the song reference is the lie :)

    1. Thanks for guessing, Shelley. Check back to see if you are correct. :)

  3. Thanks so much, Gayle! And thanks for reading, guys. I'll let you know the lie soon. :)

  4. Thanks for the great interview. I've been looking forward to reading your cute little book! I also guess the song reference to be the lie.

    1. Goos guess, Tracy. You all seem to be guessing the same. Hope you are all right! :)

  5. I'm also guessing the song. (Though it's sort of tempting to choose one of the other options, just to be different!)

    1. Thanks for commenting, Janet. Hope you are right,. Good Luck! :)

  6. Thanks, Gayle and Ellen, I really enjoyed the interview, and look forward to seeing this book! I hate coming across as a copy-cat, but I also think its the song.

  7. David, you're no copycat.
    You've got a's this! or that!

    Good Luck :)

  8. I'm going to break ranks and say 30 drafts is a lie :)

    1. Thanks for entering a guess, Michelle. Good Luck! :)

  9. I just don't picture Ellen sitting around, listening to classic rock radio and hearing a Clapton song and saying, "Bing! This is it!" lol. It's just my guess. Can't wait to find out the answer.

    1. Thanks, Raven. Maybe you're on to something here. Thanks for playing along. Good Luck!

  10. Great interview...Love Lola, but I think the song is also the lie!

    1. Hey, Mona. It's almost unanimous in guessing the song is the lie. Good luck to you and thanks for participating. :)

  11. Thanks for reading, everyone! Gayle will announce the winner very soon! :)

  12. This book sounds wonderful, but the song is the lie.

  13. Excellent article. Very interesting to read. I really love to read such a nice article. Thanks! keep rocking. school photography


Fall Frenzy Writing Contest 2020

 I entered this last year and it was a great writing experience. This year’s rules: 1. Choose a fall image from Lydia Lukidis’s blog