Monday, January 30, 2017

Cover Reveal and Under the Cover with Rebecca Colby, Author of Motor Goose Rhymes that Go!

I am excited to offer a *sneak peek* cover reveal of Rebecca Colby’s Motor Goose! Read on to find out more about this fun author and her new book!


Thank you for having me on My Word Playground today! I’m thrilled to be here and to reveal the cover of my forthcoming book with illustrator, Jef Kaminsky.

LYNNE MARIE: What was your occupation prior to becoming a picture book writer?

REBECCA COLBY: Ha! Which one? I’ve had a varied career life. I always wanted to be a published writer but I took a circuitous route to get here. Some of my past occupations included: panty hose inspector, international tour director, English teacher in Taiwan, and librarian. I even worked briefly for the Russian comedian, Yakov Smirnoff.

LM: When did you decide to pursue picture book writing, and why?

RC:  I’d never considered writing a picture book until my first child was born. I had plans to write the great American novel instead. But once I started reading picture books every night to my daughter, I thought, “These are a piece of cake. I’ll write a few of these and get published in no time.” I was badly mistaken but I was so hooked on picture books that I kept writing them until I eventually did sell my first book a full 7 years later. 

LM: How long was your journey from start to first book?

RC: Oops! I just answered that in the previous question. I started writing pictures books in 2006 but didn’t acquire an agent or sell any books until 2013.

LM: Who/what has been most influential on your journey?

RC:  My two daughters! If it wasn’t for them, it’s unlikely I’d ever have started writing picture books. But if it’s other writers you’re referring to, I’d have to say Dr. Seuss’, and a Dr. Seuss treasury is one of the first books I bought for my eldest. 

LM: Do you have a critique group? How long has it been together?

RC: Doesn’t everyone? My stories wouldn’t be any good without mine. Myself and two other picture book writers formed our on-line critique group, Picturebookies, in early 2011. Six years on and we’re still going strong. We now have seven members split across the US and UK.

LM: What inspired the title and story of your previous book, It’s Raining Bats and Frogs – such a fun concept!
RC:  Thanks, Lynne Marie!  The book was inspired by my favorite weather—rain. I knew I wanted to write a book about a witch and I went for a walk in the rain to mediate on my character and come up with an idea. The more I walked, the harder it rained. Soon it was pouring that heavy kind of rain when people say, “it’s raining cats and dog.”  In an instant, I had my title—a play on this phrase. As my idea began to form, I thought of another saying, “it’s raining on my parade.” That’s when I decided to write about a witch parade that was being rained on and making the witches miserable.

LM: Which came first, the concept or the title?

RC:  Title, then concept. I often come up with what I feel is a catchy title first and then develop an idea around it.

LM: How many times did you revise this manuscript before selling to Macmillan/Feiwel and Friends?

RC: This book had one revision before it sold. After showing it to my critique group, I changed the ending to make it stronger.

LM: Did you sell this book on your own or did you have an Agent at the time?

RC: My agent sold this book within a week of my signing with her. Nothing for years and then an agent and a book sale all in one week. It felt like I’d won the lottery!

LM: How did you come about getting your Agent, Kathleen Rushall, of Andrea Brown Literary Agency?

RC: One of my awesome critique partners saw a tweet Kathleen had posted soliciting picture books with witches. She knew I had two in my portfolio, so she encouraged me to submit them to Kathleen. Twenty-four hours and a couple of emails later, she offered me representation. Again, it felt really strange. I’d received more than 140 rejections over the years and then overnight I had an agent.  

LM: You were born in New Hampshire, USA and ended up in the UK. How did you get there from here?

RC:  Oh, gosh! How much time have we got? Traveling has always been one of my big loves so when I graduated from college, I applied for a BUNAC student work permit and moved to London where I fell into a job with a tour operator. After returning to the States, I continued working for tour operators in New England, eventually going out on the road as a tour director. While I traveled all over the world for my job, my main tour destination was the British Isles. Following a brief stint in Taiwan teaching English, I moved back to England and I’ve been here ever since.      

LM: Please share the story behind There Was a Wee Lassie Who Swallowed a Midgie, with Floris Books, a UK Publisher.

RC: I’ve always loved the traditional rhyme There was an Old Lady who Swallowed a Fly and I’ve collected several retellings over the years. It was when I came across an Australian retelling, There was an Old Lady who Swallowed a Mozzie by P. Crumble, that I decided to try my hand at writing a Scottish version and the Wee Lassie book was born.

LM: Please share a link to the You Tube Trailer for those who can’t get it here:

RC: Floris has created a fabulous trailer for the book, which is illustrated by Kate McLelland. Here’s the link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FaBMkLrG8Co


LM: I would love to hear how you came up with the title and concept for Motor Goose. Such a fun, brilliant idea, with such boy appeal!

RC: Much like The Old Lady who Swallowed a Fly, I’d always wanted to write my own version of it. I came up with dozens of ideas, but ultimately chose Motor Goose as I knew the topic of transportation was taught in early years’ education and I liked the idea of a tie-in with the curriculum.  

LM: When will this book be available in 2017?

RC: Motor Goose comes out in mid-July of this year.

LM: How many times did your Agent submit Motor Goose before you were offered a contract?

RC:  Just once. We submitted it to my editor at Feiwel & Friends and she loved it, thank goodness!

LM: Did you read/enjoy Nursery Rhymes while growing up, or was this a new avenue of literary exploration?

RC: In first grade I won a “Most Improved” award and the prize was a book of poetry. It was one of the few books I owned so I read it over and over. It soon instilled in me a love of rhythm and rhyme.

LM: What is your favorite Nursery Rhyme, and why?

RC: Star Light, Star Bright is my all-time favorite. Instead of counting sheep at night, I would look out the window from the top of my bunk bed and count the stars. But before I started counting, I would wish on the first star I saw and recite this rhyme.

LM: What is your favorite form of transportation, and why?

RC:  It would have to be a snowmobile. There’s nothing like the thrill of racing through the woods on snowy trails, and it’s a vehicle that requires a fair amount of physical exertion to ride so I can get a good workout in the process. Having said that, we don’t get much snow in England so I haven’t had the opportunity to drive a snowmobile in years. Alas!

LM: What is your current picture book FAVORITE in USA? In Britain?

RC: I’ve been a huge fan of Tammi Sauer’s and Scott Magoon’s Mostly Monsterly since it came out in 2010. It’s my go-to book when teaching others how to write picture books.

Here in Britain, my favorite is Debi Gliori’s No Matter What. I don’t read it very often anymore as it inevitably tugs at my heartstrings and makes me teary-eyed, but it’s long been a British favorite.

LM: What are you working on now?

RC: Oh, no you don’t! It’s a secret. I can’t tell you except to say that I’m working on both picture books and screenplays at the moment.

LM: Any books slated to come out in the next three years?

RC:  There you go again asking questions I’m not at liberty to answer. I can’t say boo about them until they’re officially announced in the Publishers’ Marketplace. Sorry!

LM: If you were a literary character, which one would you be?

RC:  Probably the Good Little, Bad Little Girl. Because when I’m good, I’m very, very good, but when I’m bad, I’m horrid. But mostly, I try to be good.

LM: Do you have any plans to offer a picture book mentorship next year?

RC:  Yes, all being well, I’ll offer another free picture book mentorship later this year. Towards the end of 2016, I decided to give away a free six-month picture book mentorship as a way of giving back to the kidlit community who has given me so much. As we’re only two months into the mentorship, and I have another paid mentorship running alongside of it, it will probably be autumn before I offer the next free one. In the meantime, however, I’m offering lots of other freebies on my blog, like critiques, books and even a smart watch.

Thank you so very much for sharing your journey, Rebecca!

Thank you, Lynne Marie! I’ve enjoyed being on your blog today. I hope my experiences inspire others to persevere through the rejections and not give up.

Readers, Rebecca is kindly giving a picture book critique away to one lucky winner who comments. Please share this post on Facebook or Twitter, include your e-mail address AND tell us where you shared. A winner will be chosen within thirty (30) days of this post, so please share and get your comments in.

On the birthday week of this book, I will also share a book review, and Rebecca will offer a copy of the book to one lucky commenter, so be certain to check back in July!






VISIT REBECCA at...
FB: https://www.facebook.com/rebeccacolbybooks/
Website: www.rebeccacolbybooks.com

60 comments:

  1. Great blog. I look forward to reading another of your wonderful books.

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    1. Thank you, @Elaine Cline -- and a GREAT book, too! So glad to have the cover reveral here! Thanks for stopping by My Word Playground and wishing Rebecca all the best. Keep "Motor"ing forward! XO

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    2. Many thanks, Elaine! Lynne Marie writes some wonderful picture books too, as well as this blog. :)

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  2. another great book from Rebecca Colby. Good luck with this can't wait to read it!

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    1. Yes @rita borg -- that is absolutely true! I'm looking forward to it as well. Thanks for stopping by My Word Playground!

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    2. Thanks, Rita! It's been great being able to share it here on My Word Playground.

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  4. What an inspirational interview! I wish you continued success in all your future endeavors! I shared on FB, twitter! Kvavala@aol.com

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    1. Thanks for your kind words, Kelly, and for sharing the cover reveal! I wish you success in all your future writing endeavors also!

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    2. Awww, thank you for sharing, @Kelly Vavala! We truly appreciate your helping spread the word about this fun book!

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  5. So great to get to know you better, Rebecca. And congrats on Motor Goose. Can't wait to read it.

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    1. Thanks for stopping by My Word Playground @Jeanne Curtin and for your kind words about Rebecca's fab book!

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    2. Thank you, Jeanne! I appreciate you reading the interview and I hope you enjoy Motor Goose when it comes out this summer!

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  6. Being that the talented Rebecca is one of my critique partners, I saw her draft of Motor Goose. I know she made some changes after I saw it, but the draft itself was amazing!
    Loved the interview, Lynn and Rebecca!
    And congrats on an adorable cover!

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    1. Oooh, love to hear part of the story behind the story, @Penny Parker Klostermann. Thanks for telling and for stopping by My Word Playground! XO

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    2. I don't know what I'd do without you and the rest of the Picturebookies. I'm so grateful to have such supportive and talented critique partners! And, yes, Jef did a fab job on the cover! Thanks for everything, Penny!

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  7. Thank you, Lynne Marie and Rebecca. How fun to learn about your background and journey! Cheers on Motor Goose and other forthcoming projects!

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    1. You are very welcome, @JenFW. Thank you for stopping by My Word Playground.

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    2. I really appreciated the opportunity to share today. And I always love hearing about other writers' journeys also. Thank you, Jen!

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  8. Fun interview! I enjoyed reading IT'S RAINING BATS & FROGS! and I am looking forward to reading MOTOR GOOSE. Thanks for the inspiration.

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    1. Awww, thank you @Jennifer! We appreciate your stopping by My Word Playground!

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    2. I'm so pleased you enjoyed the BATS & FROGS book, Jennifer! Many thanks for your kind words and for stopping by to read the interview!

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  9. So very inspiring! Can't wait to read. Tweet @cindyschrauben.

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    1. Thanks @Cindy William Schrauben for tweeting about this fabulous book! And thanks for stopping by My Word Playground!

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    2. Cheers, Cindy! Thanks for sharing!

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  10. Cute! I'm starting to collect even more PBs with "boy appeal" since our little guy will be arriving in April. Now added to the list! We loved IT'S RAINING BATS AND FROGS, and I'm sure this will be equally adorable!

    Love the sound of your mentorship, too. I'll have to look more into that!

    I re-tweeted Kathleen's post about this giveaway. Thank you so much for the opportunity!

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    1. Oh, congrats, Candace! I am sure it will become a favorite. Thanks for stopping by My Word Playground and for tweeting!

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    2. thank you, Candace! As mentioned, I hope to offer another mentorship in the autumn. Keep an eye on my website later in the year if you're interested.

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  11. This is a wonderful story of perseverance. Some people have the tendency to give up on a goal that will take too long to achieve. But the time will pass anyway, so no matter how long it takes, if you keep working toward it, you will eventually get there. Very inspiring indeed!

    This was shared on Twitter @kkennedy86 🙂
    kkennedy@mun.ca

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    1. Exactly, @K.Kennedy! So glad to have you here at My Word Playground.

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    2. I agree! If you're doing something you enjoy anyway, why give up? You know what they say, "The only difference between a published writer and an unpublished writer is that the published writer never gave up." Cheers, Krista!

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  12. Fantastic cover! And what a fun interview. I've tweeted for my chance to win :-) clare_welsh@hotmail.co.uk

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    1. Thanks so much, Clare! Lynne Marie had some great questions and I appreciated the opportunity to share!

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    2. Thanks for your comments, Clare and thanks for stopping by My Word Playground!

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  13. This was a very entertaining interview, Lynn. It was great getting to know Rebecca better after enjoying her books.

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    1. Thanks for reading the interview, David, and for your kind comments! I'm glad to hear you've enjoyed the previous books!

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    2. Awww, thanks @David McMullin. And I agree -- so nice to get to know @Rebecca Colby better!

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  14. Wow, so much great information packed into this post! Love your clever titles Rebecca and can't wait to learn more about your mentoring experience and upcoming work. Happy to tweet about this post (@mandajne). Email is amandajsincavage (at) gmail (dot) com.

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    1. I'm glad you found it informative, Amanda! If you keep an eye on my blog, I'll be offering more critique and mentorship opportunities there. Cheers!

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    2. Thanks you so much, @Amanda Sincavage! I love the clever titles, too!

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  15. Hi Rebecca! You've come a long way baby! Hi Lynne Marie! Thanks for the interview!

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    1. Thanks, B.J.! I couldn't have done it without all the great picture book AND poetry critique partners I've had over the years! ;)

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    2. Hi, @BJ Lee! Always glad to have you here at My Word Playground! XO

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  16. So exciting! PS I think the title Motor Goose is so clever. Thanks for sharing with us

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    1. Thank you, Sharon! I find that's one of the exercises I really enjoy--is to play around with other titles or phrases and change them.

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    2. I agree, @Sharon E. Langley. You are very welcome! Thanks for stopping by!

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  17. I love the title of your new book Rebecca! Thank you for such a generous giveaway. I've shared on Twitter https://twitter.com/cjfriess/status/826364933738737664

    catherine@storysnug.com

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    1. Thanks so much, Catherine! I appreciate you reading and sharing the interview and giveaway! :)

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  19. What a beautiful cover, Rebecca, I love it! You are really on a roll of wonderful picture books and I'm looking forward to reading this one. Such fun to hear how your writing journey began. Congratulations and best wishes for continued success!

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    1. Thanks so much for your kind words, Marcia, and for stopping by for the cover reveal! And I love hearing about other writers' journeys too!

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    2. @MarciaStrykowski.com -- thanks for stopping by and for your enthusiastic comments!

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  20. Very inspiring article, and looks like adorable children's books! Thanks for sharing! Congrats on your new book..

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    1. I'm glad to hear it was inspiring! Sometimes it's a bit embarrassing to share but by the same token, I hope it does inspire others not to give up. Cheers, Cindy!

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    2. So nice to see you here, @Cindy Crawford Garrett! Glad you enjoyed it.

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  21. Thank you so much for sharing. Wonderful and inspiring!

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    1. You are very welcome, @Jena! Glad to see you here.

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    2. Glad to hear it. Thank you for stopping by, Jena!

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  22. I am chasing you all over the place since I joined RYS. I enjoyed the interview and wondering where is my next stop. This is fun and hope to read more interviews.

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  23. So fun catching up with you, dear @Alicia Minor!

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