Lucky me, I do have an interview for everyone today. Sent an email last night and got an answer this morning. It's no wonder Romelle is published, she is on the ball! (Don't we all wish we could say the same thing about our work... especially those pesky emails?)
Romelle has her work published in many magazines. Her published children's books are Casey Chameleon (ebook by Flying Books 2012) and Tummy Monster (MeeGenius 2013). She also has two more books coming out: Running Boy and The Case of the Funny Face. Both of these MeeGenius titles will be coming out this fall!
Dani: What was your first big break in writing?
Romelle: I'd have to say my big break was when I completed the Writing for Children's course with the Institute of Children's Literature. That course gave me the skills I needed to get published. It taught me how to write a good story, how to write a query letter, and how to research publishers. Shortly after I received my certificate, I submitted a few of my assignments to magazine publishers and got published right away! I was amazed at what a difference taking this course made.
Dani: Chocolate milk or hot chocolate?
Romelle: Chocolate! What? Choose only one? Then it's chocolate milk because I can pour it right from the box and drink it. The quicker the better.
Dani: Where do you go to be inspired?
Romelle:I use to say my kids are my source of inspiration, but now that they've outgrown my genre, I turn to the library and the bookstore. It's filled with inspiration and ideas. I could spend hours in the picture book section. When I find a book I love or see my friends' books in print, I'm inspired to write.
Dani: Would you suggest that other writers publish in magazines before moving to full length books?
Romelle: That was the advice given to me when I started writing so that's what I did. It gave me something to write when an agent or editor asked to list my credentials. It may get you noticed, but I don't think it matters much. Great writing, passion, determination, patience, and good timing will get you published with or without credentials. If you want to write books, then I recommend finding the genre you enjoy reading and writing. If it's picture books, then immerse yourself in it and study the craft of writing picture books. Writing for magazines is so different than writing for picture books.
Dani: How did you go from being a Dental Hygienist to being a Writer?
Romelle: I think there was always a writer in me. It wasn't until I left my job as a dental hygienist to go on maternity leave that I developed a passion for picture books. With barely enough energy to lift up a book, I’d lay down with my son, close my eyes, and make up a story for him. I enjoyed creating stories in my head and told myself that I should be writing it down instead. At that moment, I rediscovered my passion for writing. It was then that I decided I wanted to write for children. I am still practicing as a dental hygienist. I am fortunate that I can continue to do what I enjoy most- providing optimal dental health for my patients and writing wonderful stories for children.
Dani: I love the sample of your book "Tummy Monster". What's the story behind this book?
Romelle: It was two years ago when I participated in the Picture Book Marathon with Jean Reagan and Lora Koehler. I was sitting at my desk scribbling in my notebook trying to come up with a story to write when my tummy monster growled. He would not leave me alone. So, I did what I had to do--I wrote about him.
Dani: I know you have a few books coming out soon, please tell us about them!
Romelle: Running Boy is one of the first stories I wrote when I decided to write for children, which was in 2008. I am an avid runner so the long runs provide me with ample time to create stories in my head. This led me to write a book about a boy who enjoys running. In this story, the question that everyone is asking is, "Running Boy, why are you running?" As you read along you will experience the feel, the sights, the sounds, and the smells that Running Boy experiences on his run to find the answer to the question everyone is asking. I am excited that this will finally be published by MeeGenius by the Fall of 2014.
My other book, The Case of the Funny Face, will be published in the Fall of 2014 as well. I entered this story in a contest held by Sleepytown Press back in 2012. I won the New Voice award and as part of my prize, Sleepytown is publishing my book. The Case of the Funny Face is another one of my earlier stories so it is nice to see this in print.