Friday, September 12, 2014

Interview With Tara Lazar

THE Tara Lazar
I am so excited! I got to interview THE Tara Lazar. The reason I'm so excited is that I've been following Tara's blog for a while now. I believe someone told me to visit the site for PiBoIdMo. This may be a bit of an exaggeration, but this is how I remember it happening: When I came upon the site "How To Write for Children While Raising Them" a shaft of light came into the room and I could hear a choir singing (something intelligible as they always do). I fell to my knees and cried, because I knew someone out there finally understands me. Of course my memory has gone downhill since I became a mom.

Tara's website is a wonderful resource for children's writers. I don't know how she is able to do it all! Each post has so much writers, illustrators and even readers can learn. She hosts PiBoIdMo (Picture Book Idea Month) is a month where each day is spent coming up with a new picture book idea! Her debut Picture Book, "The Monstore" is highly popular right now and so much fun. She has several books coming in 2015 & 2016 including, "I Thought This Was A Bear Book" (which I'll have Tara tell you more about). You can see the rest of the list here.
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Dani: How did you get started writing?

Tara: Wow, I don ‘t remember a time I didn't write! I was the strange child in elementary school who cheered when it was time for creative writing. The other kids whispered behind my back. “What’s wrong with HER?” They’re still whispering.

But seriously, I began my journey toward publication when I was pregnant with my second child, about 7-8 years ago. Procreation inspires creation, I guess. I kept seeing notices in my local paper about a group called “Women Who Write” and I finally gave them a call to join a kidlit critique group. Thankfully, those ladies thought I was perfectly normal (although I’m certainly not).

Out Now! Buy it and love it!

Dani: Do you prefer sandals or bare feet?

Tara: Bare feet, definitely. Many people don’t know I suffer from Multiple Sclerosis and my feet are mostly numb. Going shoeless means I can feel the ground and balance better.

But when I do have to wear shoes, I love my Naot sandals. They have a cork footbed and are so comfy.

Dani: Your blog “How to Write for Children While Raising Them” is fantastic. What lead you to create this blog?

Tara: It seemed like a natural thing to do, to document my path to publication. I had already been writing a mommy blog for fun, so I abandoned that one and moved over to “Writing for Kids”. My mommy blog could be controversial at times, and I don’t like argument or confrontation, so I thought it was best to let it go. (Let’s sing: “let it go…let it gooooo!”) I had written a post about how we didn’t accept every birthday party invitation simply because it was interfering with family time. People didn't like that at all, but we didn't like having a party to attend EVERY weekend. Family time is very important to us!

Although my favorite mommy blog post is now on my writing blog. It’s about HPT or “Husband-Perceived Time”. Look it up for a laugh.

Dani: I know you started Picture Book Idea Month (PiBoIdMo) to be the Picture Book alternative to National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo). Why did you choose to devote the month of November to Picture Book Ideas?

Tara: It’s no big secret—I was jealous of all my friends participating in NaNoWriMo. I wanted something especially for picture book writers during November, so we could boast and post just as much. Nanny-nanny-poo-poo.

Dani: What was the hardest thing about getting your first book published?

Coming in 2015!
Tara: Knowing that it’s ready to submit—that it’s a marketable idea executed well. Selling a book isn’t just about writing well. Many people write well. It’s about having a killer idea.

After submitting at least a half dozen other stories, by the time I wrote THE MONSTORE, I was gun-shy. I didn’t know if the idea was good enough. I didn’t want to submit it. Had it not been for author friends who encouraged me, I still might be unpublished.

Dani: What's the story behind The Monstore?

Tara: It began with the portmanteau “monstore”. What a great new word! A shop where you can buy monsters! I had the title in my head for a long time, several months, before I did anything with it. When I met an agent at a conference, I was forced to develop the premise on the fly. So I came up with “a boy wants to return the monster he bought because it doesn’t spook his pesky little sister.” When I finally sat down to write it, several months after that, I needed to throw that boy for a loop. I figured out the manager should tell him “no returns, no exchanges”. The rest of the story fell into place after that epiphany.

Dani: Please tell us about "I Thought This was a Bear Book!"

Tara: It’s an ordinary day in the library until a kid bumps into a bookshelf and causes titles to tumble. An alien gets knocked out of his book—spaceship and all—and crash lands into the story of Goldilocks and the Three Bears. Chaos ensues!

I hope you love this woman now that you know more about her!
Dani: What is your ultimate goal in life?

Tara: I’m currently searching for a new goal. I’m happily married with two great daughters, we live in a terrific neighborhood surrounded by good friends, I have books being published—I pretty much have everything I’ve ever wanted. But my goal as a writer has always been to be some child’s favorite author, and I think I've got that covered now, too. Right, Briana?

I love to make people smile and laugh. Ultimately, I’d like my work to be enjoyed long after I’m gone.

Follow Tara:

Blog and Website: http://taralazar.com/
Twitter: https://twitter.com/taralazar
Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/TaraLaz
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/authortara

Buy the Monstore here: http://www.indiebound.org/book/9781442420175
Or at other places here: http://taralazar.com/taras-books/

Cool Podcast Interviewing Tara: http://letsmakekidsbooks.com/episode-4-tara-lazar-childrens-book-blogger-author-monstore/

2 comments:

  1. I loved this woman even BEFORE I knew more about her ;) Great interview, Dani :D

    ReplyDelete