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Thursday, April 19, 2012

PUZZLED BY PINK by Sarah Frances Hardy - GIVEAWAY!!

With all the pink that little girls are supposed to love, there must be a few who don't, right? That's the story behind Sarah Frances Hardy's new PUZZLED BY PINK! It's being billed as 'Wednesday Addams of the Addams Family meets Fancy Nancy' - gotta love it. I've watched SF go through all the struggles of a debut writer for the past few years, so I'm thrilled to give her the shout out on her FIRST book!

Q. PUZZLED BY PINK is such an adorable story - how did you come up with it?
A. After I drew this little girl, I wanted to figure out her story. I spent a lot of time developing her character by brainstorming and asking myself very specific questions about her personality. She ended up being a little bit like Wednesday Addams from the Addams Family, and I wrote a story about her having a creepy tea party in her grandmother's attic. I thought it was finished and ready to submit, so I signed up for a critique at an SCBWI Conference. Anastasia Suen who teaches children's writing did my critique. She looked at me and said, "This is cute, but you have no conflict . . . Tell me, what is the worst thing that can happen to this little girl?"
     I replied, "Something pink!" And I immediately had the beginnings of a story.

Q. You are a fine artist first - how was illustrating your first book different?
A. It was SO incredibly hard. My painting style was somewhat post-impressionistic (think Van Gogh, Gauguin), and I used color in a way that respected the "flatness" of the painting surface. In other words, I brought everything forward and didn't use tricks of color or drafting to create a sense of depth or perspective.
     When I shifted to illustration, I found that not only was I suddenly confined by the words of the narrative, but I needed to learn how to show depth and play with perspective in order to create a believable and interesting story-world. To learn how to do this, I studied hundreds of children's books and tried to absorb styles of other illustrators. I also spent a lot of time on *your* advice pages learning invaluable information about using the value and tone of color to create depth. {{{{me: blush}}}
     I also had to go back and work on figure drawing. Since for years I'd been painting landscapes, my figure drawing was rusty. I'm lucky to have three daughters who will pose for me (as long as I'm quick!).

Q. This is your first published book as author too - what was your journey to publication?
A. I think my story is pretty typical in that I had several failed attempts and rejection letters. PUZZLED BY PINK is actually the third picture book that I wrote and illustrated. The first two were learning experiences, and I'm grateful that they will never see the light of day. But what I learned from sitting down and writing, illustrating and revising over and over again was invaluable.
     I had been going to SCBWI Conferences for several years when I developed the "Wednesday Addams meets Fancy Nancy" concept (as a result of the critique session mentioned above). After I spent several months writing and drafting sketches for the story, I began querying agents. I signed with my amazing agent, and we spent a few more months on revision. Right before we were about to submit my manuscript to publishers, I met someone who worked for Penguin at a book conference here in Oxford, and she offered to show it to one of the editors at Penguin. Soon after that I had an offer from the incredible Regina Hayes of Viking Children's Books.
     One of my favorite quotes about seeking publication comes from Sheldon Fogelman who is Maurice Sendak's agent. He says, "Remember, the harder you work, the luckier you get." We all know that luck and timing play a part when you're trying to land a publishing contract, but it's up to you to do all of the hard work on the front end so that you'll be ready when the universe smiles on you.

Q. Which character are you more like, Izzy or Rose?
A. Ha! Good question. I think I'm a little of both now (maybe even a little more Rose these days--I love clothes and glitter!). But as a child, I was Izzy all the way. No doubt.

Q. I've seen some of the awesome decorations at your kick-off party - spiderwebs and pink cupcakes! I imagine lots of little girls will want PUZZLED BY PINK-themed parties. Can you share some ideas?
A. I'm so glad you asked! I've actually created a website scripting an entire children's birthday party inspired by PUZZLED BY PINK. It includes a wand-making craft project, a black cat treasure hunt, coloring pages, cupcake recipes, and printable invitations.
     You can find it here www.puzzledbypink.blogspot.com.

Click the image to see it larger.

     Thank you so much for having me!

Congratulations on your first book, SF! I hope it's the first of many more.
:)
GIVEAWAY!!!!
So, leave a comment on my blog to win a free, signed copy of PUZZLED BY PINK. I will do a random drawing next Wednesday! You must live in the continental US and include your email addy (yourname at such-and-such dot com written out is just fine).

27 comments:

Vicky Alvear Shecter said...

Congratulations, Sarah Francis! SUCH an adorable book. I love hearing the inspiration for it. It makes me feel all nostalgic for my little girl (teen now) because she would've loved it. Also, I clicked the link to the party ideas (BRILLIANT!) but it didn't work.

Jade said...

Well, I very much love Fancy Nancy and Tickled Pink but I also has a side that is also confused by pink so I can't wait to read this book with my little girl!

Elizabeth O. Dulemba said...

Vicky - the link should work now. Scroll down in the right sidebar when you get to Sarah Frances' page and click on the PUZZLED BY PINK party! :) e

Rhonda Miller said...

What a fun book. I think my kids would love this.

Julie Hedlund said...

I love the genesis of this story, and it looks like a great book! My email is JulieFHedlund (at) gmail (dot) com

Goldie said...

Looks absolutely delightful! robenc@gmail.com

Kristi Valiant said...

Congrats again, SF! Can't wait to see your book in person. Kristi at kristivaliant dot com

Jennifer Rumberger said...

Congrats to Sarah! What a fun book and great concept. I can't wait to read it.
jenberger75 at yahoo dot com

Kathy Salazar said...

Looks like some funis about to be had... Thanks

Deebi27 said...

I was never a "pink girl" until recently...the book is for ME! Congrats to Sarah on her 1st of many books! Such a great accomplishment for her! Thanks for the FYI Elizabeth!

Deebi27 said...

deebi27 at tds dot net

Christine Deffendall said...

My daughters both loved pink when they were small, but at the ripe old ages now of 7 and 13, they have decided purple is more their color! My oldest is especially disenchanted with pink, and I can't wait to show her your book, SF! Thanks for taking the time to chat (whether virtual or live) with E.

Christine Deffendall said...

Whoops! Missed the email requirement:
cdeffendall at lex dot lib dot sc dot us
It's a library employee address, so rather unwieldy. :)

Payne Holler Cards said...

New here! Would love to share this with my granddaughter ...my precious 5 yr old
Also fell in love with images
My email is twobizie@aol.com
Thank you for this chance

PinkLadyCarol said...

This book looks delightful and I would love to get it for my granddaughters. Our last name is Pinkey and I am always getting "Pink" books for them. carol.pinkey@gmail.com (carol dot pinkey at gmail dot com)

bryansgyrl said...

What age group is this book written for? It's a great idea...thank you for the chance to win it!
alysiadawn 14 at yahoo dot com

Anonymous said...

Looks like a great book for girls - can't wait to get it at the library!

damoonitz@fuse.net

mea5798 said...

what a lovely giveaway! and congratulations on your first book!

Anonymous said...

A perfect story for my daughter who doesn't like pink but has a daughter who does!

lorrrclar@hotmail.com

Chris Kresge said...

What a fun story theme! I will enjoy reading this with my 6 year old granddaughter and we may have pink cupcakes too!

The Gilmores said...

This is such a cute book concept. I'm excited to check it out! I have 3 girls...
dorinakailani at yahoo.com

Angela Marie said...

Haa I Love it already. I'm totally a pink lover, my daughter, not so much! LOL I have to get her this book! ~Angela mireles4@yahoo.com

Corey Schwartz said...

Great interview. My daughter would love a signed copy!

CG said...

What a wonderful book! Can't wait to read it with a special little one. Thanks so much for introducing me to it! Best, CG

Scattered Brain said...

What a fun looking book,I would loved to have a signed copy. Thank you

cal8007 said...

I liked your interview with Sarah, so I definitely would like to read her story. Thanks for the chance to win and thanks for the cute, cute, cute bear you drew!

Hugs,

Carmen L

cal8007 at aol dot com

KarKar said...

I think my grandaughters would love this book!

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