Monday, September 22, 2014

Author Stop: Laura Sassi


On this fine Monday morning, we have Laura Sassi stopping by to answer some questions for us! But don't worry, we'll wait until you're done ogling all the cuteness above. Who knew wild boars could be so adorable...?

1. Do you have a favorite illustrated animal from the book?

Maybe it’s because it’s just so recently released, but we like to keep our copy of GOODNIGHT, ARK close at hand at our house, so we can page through it often. I’m really smitten with all Jane’s renderings of animals on the ark. If I had to pick a favorite, however, I would choose the tigers. Tigers can be fierce-looking and that would be very UN- soothing for a bedtime book. Jane’s tigers, however, are delightfully cuddly, even rolling on their backs for belly rubs just as your favorite adorable kitty cat might.


2. How long does it generally take you to write a story and revise it to your satisfaction?

I am a slow worker and I like to take breaks - long breaks- between revisions so I can see my work with a fresh eye each time I sit down to revise. And before I even put down that first word of that first draft, I can spend weeks, and sometimes even months, percolating on an idea, taking notes occasionally, and building plot and rhythm in my head. GOODNIGHT, ARK was what I call “in process” for two years. That doesn’t mean I was writing it nonstop for two years. I usually have several projects going at once, so that when I finish a revision on one, I can set it aside and pick up another to work on in the meantime. This way, I always have a fresh eye for something. GOODNIGHT, ARK went through at least a couple dozen revisions, probably more, before it was finally ready to sub to a publisher.

3. You’re at a bakery— what do you go for? Muffins, cookies, cupcakes?

Pastry! I love, love, love good French pastry. In fact, just recently my husband and I spent a delicious nine days in Paris and each morning began with a stop at the patisserie/boulangerie just around the corner from our hotel. My favorite morning pastry: the “chausson aux pommes” - a delightful buttery flaky pastry with an apple filled center.


4. What animal from Goodnight, Ark would you have been most afraid to coincide side by side with?

Well, thankfully, Jane’s depictions of the animals on the ark aren’t at all scary. Rather, those elephants, boars and snakes manage to look quite cuddly, if a little scared. But to answer your question, I think I would have been most nervous to be cuddled too close to those little black and white creatures that are snuggled into every page. They have a rather whiffy reputation and I hear they can make a big stink if they get startled. Pee-ew!

5. What’s a fav line from Goodnight, Ark?

I had so much fun writing every line, it’s hard to pick! Sort of like having to pick your favorite child. =) But I think, if I had to pick, I would pick the first verse:

Beds are ready.
Food is stored.
Noah hollers,
“All aboard!”


I selected this opening verse, not because it’s the most exciting, but because I spent MONTHS trying to figure out how to open the story and struggled to find the perfect quippy, fast-paced rhythm I wanted. This verse came to me, after weeks of percolating. I remember where I was (at the library) and what I was doing (browsing the stacks for a good beach novel) and that I didn’t have any paper or pen with me. I remember walking briskly to the front desk to grab one of those little pencils and a tiny square of paper and writing it down. I carefully stashed it as my book mark in that beach novel I wanted to read and hurried home. Writing the rest of that first draft was easy now that I had my meter and rhyme pattern established. And it was FUN to have that structure to work within as I kept punching up the plot.

* * * 

So I don't fixate on how envious I am of Laura getting to visit a true-blue French bakery, we'll head straight to the book trailer! ;) As far as trailers goes, I really  love it and it totally does its job by making me wish I could read GOODNIGHT, ARK pronto.




Laura Sassi has a passion for telling humorous stories in rhyme. She writes daily from her century-old home in New Jersey where she lives with her husband, two children, and a black Cockapoo named Sophie. Her poems, stories, articles, and crafts have appeared in Highlights for Children, Cricket, Ladybug, Spider and Focus on the Family’s Clubhouse and Clubhouse Jr. and elsewhere. GOODNIGHT, ARK is her first picture book.





It’s bedtime on Noah’s ark, but the animals can’t sleep because of the storm. Two by two, they crowd into Noah’s bed, creating a sticky situation. Will Noah ever get them back to their own beds? Climb aboard the ark for this rollicking, yet ultimately restful bedtime story as Noah finds a way to make things calm and cozy, even in the midst of a storm.


* * * 

Also, all who comment will be entered to win a $5 Amazon gift card(winner updated in the comments & on Twitter on 9/25). Please just also follow Laura at one or more of her social media sites. And a HUGE congrats to Laura on her heart-warming debut!!!


26 comments:

  1. Hi, Leandra and Laura!

    Another great, interview, Laura! I'm not sure if I ever shared with you about the altercation my dog Haley had with a little black and white creature a couple years ago. It was awful, I kid you not. You can't imagine how bad and strong it smells when it's fresh. She surprised the poor thing (I think it was young because it was really small) when I let her out and actually ended up jumping right on it. The poor thing couldn't get away because it was up against the patio deck.

    It took several baths and a couple months before the smell went away on her, and a full year for us not to smell it when her fur was damp. Even now, every night before I let her out, I check the make sure there is no skunk in the backyard (it was even fenced-in). I don't EVER want to repeat that experience. lol

    ReplyDelete
  2. Awww, look at all the cute cuddly animals :) I bet my kiddo would love this book. Laura, I've followed you on Twitter!

    ReplyDelete
  3. What a fun interview!! And I very much want to visit a bakery...like right now :) Adorable illustrations, though I think I'd be avoiding those little black&white tails, too!

    ReplyDelete
  4. um may I just state HOW MUCH I LOVE THIS haha I just adore animals so animal picture books are a fav. precious cover! I can imagine the illustrations inside are flawless!

    ReplyDelete
  5. A friendly interview, an arkful of cuddly animals, a fun book trailer, And French pastry! What more could we ask for? To read the book! Glad I have a mine!!!

    ReplyDelete
  6. Thank you all for stopping by and a special thanks to Leandra for her interview. I love her fun, creative interview style! Happy reading and writing all!

    ReplyDelete
  7. That's funny that the skunk is the one you'd avoid but is the puppet that accompanies you as you talk about your book! What's the skunk's name? I can't remember.
    Great interview!!!

    ReplyDelete
  8. Yes, Penny, I can see that is rather ironic. But that skunk (and soon there will be two) sure is a hit. I had named him Mouffie, after the French, but it seems not that many 2 - 4 year olds realize what skunks are, so now before I read the story, I introduce the little fellers - and at my daughter's suggestion, they will henceforth be known at Stinky One and Stinky Two. It makes the story that much funnier, knowing what skunks do, especially as I have them hunt for the skunks on each page as we read along. Pee-ew!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Oh that's funny! I love Stinky One and Stinky Two. I liked Mouffie, too, but I see how this will tickle their funny bones.

      Delete
  9. This sounds like a lot of fun! I haven't ever attempted a picture book, so I enjoyed reading about Laura's process. I love how the first line came to Laura in the library. Such a great interview, Leandra! Congrats to Laura on her beautiful book!

    ReplyDelete
  10. That is an adorable cover! I hate snakes, but even those are almost cute. Almost. I really hate snakes.

    ReplyDelete
  11. That looks so cute! Definitely a book I'm putting on the list for my children.

    ReplyDelete
  12. Sounds like such a cute read. Adorable animal faces on the cover.

    ReplyDelete
  13. My boys would love this story! So cute.

    ReplyDelete
  14. holy smokes - this sounds so awesome! And love the cover! Thanks for telling me about this. Going to look for it for sure! (I'd be a little nervous next to the ram, personally.)
    Super interview!

    ReplyDelete
  15. That looks like such an adorable book.

    ReplyDelete
  16. I was in Paris and couldn't find a good pastry place anywhere. We stayed in the touristy area!!! I don't know what I did wrong.

    ReplyDelete
  17. It looks great:) love the illustrations and the trailer is adorable. Thank you for your comment and happy your little one loves Toofs. This is the old cover,but the new version with new cover and some words changements will be soon realised.

    ReplyDelete
  18. What a sweet cover that is. It makes me want to climb into bed and snuggle while reading.

    ReplyDelete
  19. Thank you all for your kind comments. It has been a pleasure to be here. And here's to finding good pastry in Paris, or wherever! (Thinking of Stephanie, especially.) Happy reading all! Laura

    ReplyDelete
  20. Hi Laura!!! Muffins, cookies, cupcakes Leandra asks?? I say ALL THREE!!!!!

    ReplyDelete
  21. This is such a sweet book. I love it! Leandra, your blog is great. I always look forward to reading it when it pops up in my inbox. :)

    ReplyDelete
  22. And the winner of the $5 Amazon gift card is...Beth Ellyn! Congrats! And thanks for all the lovely comments and support everyone. Laura has definitely written a winner! =)

    ReplyDelete
  23. Thanks again, Leandra, for the fun interview and thanks also to all who stopped by!

    ReplyDelete

I love comments! And appreciate the time it took to leave one, so THANK YOU!!!