Sunday, June 23, 2019

THE STORY BEHIND THE STORY: Rosie the Dragon and Charlie Make Waves by Lauren Kerstein (by Lauren Kerstein)

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My Word Playground!

Thank you for hosting me on your blog, Lynne! Congratulations on your upcoming books: MOLDILOCKS AND THE THREE SCARES and LET’S EAT: MEALTIMES AROUND THE WORLD.
Writing challenges, swim team, and flexibility (i.e., saying “YES!) helped me create ROSIE THE DRAGON AND CHARLIE MAKE WAVES.
Let me explain:
In April 2016, I read a ReFoReMo post by Tammi Sauer about structure. I was fascinated by the myriad of structures we might use to write picture books. In May 2016, when I participated in NaPiBoWriWee, I was curious to see if I could write in different structures, so I challenged myself to do just that.

I wrote a “how to” book about putting your mommy to bed. It was fun and cute, but critiquers asked: “Can you make this more unique?”
I said, “YES! How about a dragon who wants to learn how to swim?!”

And then I revised. And revised. And revised.
At that time, I was one of the Parent Reps who ran our swim team (NOT a job for the weak). I hid in a corner revising Rosie and Charlie’s story. Ideas flooded me as I listened to the swift strokes of swimmers and wiped pool water from my face. If you’ve ever been a swim team parent, you know the trials and tribulations of keeping track of goggles, intense summer friendships, overcoming fears, and eating more sugar at swim meets than you thought humanly (or dragonly) possible.
 I subbed to critique group after critique group. (Including Lynne—thank you!)
And then I revised. And revised. And revised. Again.
I queried agent after agent after agent after agent until finally, Deborah Warren (East West Literary Agency) said “YES!”
Deborah asked, “Can you incorporate actual swim skills?”
I said, “Yes! What a terrific idea!”
So, I revised again.
When an editor asked, “Can you rewrite this as a character-focused manuscript with a more typical structure?”
I said, “YES!”
And revised again, until:
I am thrilled to share Rosie and Charlie with the world!
May you live courageously and make waves, just like Rosie and Charlie!

Lauren is giving away a critique and a copy of the book.

Lauren Kerstein is an author and psychotherapist. She is a Jersey girl at heart who loves reading, drinking tea, and devouring chocolate. Lauren currently lives in Colorado with her husband, Josh, their two, daughters, Sarah and Danielle, and Hudson, the dog. Her picture book, ROSIE THE DRAGON AND CHARLIE MAKE WAVES, recently swam to shelves near you. She runs a critique business, is a member of SCBWI, is a judge for Rate Your Story, and is one of the founders of #ReVISIONweek. Lauren also writes books in the mental health field. Her writing goals are simple. Read voraciously. Embrace feedback. Grow each day. Work hard. Be passionate. Write courageously. Touch children’s hearts.

Website Link:
Social Media Links:
FB: @laurenkersteinauthor

Jacket Flap Copy from Book (Optional):
It’s summertime, and you’re invited for a rollicking day at the pool with Charlie and his pet dragon (and best friend!), Rosie. But be careful—swimming with a dragon can be, um, challenging. As Rosie and Charlie blow bubbles (don’t forget your umbrella!), practice flutter kicks (watch out for tidal waves!), and offer shoulder rides (hang on tight!), Rosie proves that dragons make the most fun pets ever. Now if only Charlie can keep Rosie’s attention focused on the rules at the pool and NOT on her gummy snacks (you know, the ones that cause stinky dragon breath!)…Grab your towels and sunscreen and join Rosie and Charlie for a fun-filled summer adventure!

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  1. I love the story behind Rosie and Charlie, Lauren! ❤️

    1. Thanks for stopping by My Word Playground, Joana -- it's a favorite of mine, too!

  2. Great backstory. It's always fun to try a new story structure. Also, a perfect reminder to revise and revise until the story is the best it can be.

    1. I agree, Joel C. I always love hearing the story behind the story -- and Lauren's is especially interesting! Thanks for stopping in to comment and for following!