Happy Thursday Critters! I’m so excited for today’s interview because it’s with none other than the fabulously talented Tricia Springstubb, who also happens to be a friend of mine and fellow local author here in the Cleveland area. Tricia writes early chapter books, middle grade, and picture books—she’s a triple threat! Many of you may know her from her latest series, the CODY books, which are wonderful! Here at my house, we are big fans of PHOEBE AND THE DIGGER. Her writing is lovely, insightful, and powerful. I’m honored to share her work with you today and give you all a sneak peek at her process.
So without further ado, please welcome Tricia Springstubb!
Where do you live?
I live in Cleveland Heights with my husband, my garden and Billy the cat. We have three grown daughters and here’s how lucky we are--our two grandbabies live a bicycle ride away.
How many years have you been in publishing?
I’ve been publishing since prehistoric times.
Do you write full-time?
Yes--I told you I’m lucky!
What inspires you to create books for children?
Children are the world’s most passionate readers—no one believes in and cares about story more deeply than they do. The world is still so new for them, and their hearts are wide open. I feel privileged to write for them.
What surprised you the most working as an author?
That children treat you like a rock star!
What is your favorite thing about being an author?
I still get the craziest thrill when I find one of my books on a library or bookstore shelf.
Also, I love working with illustrators. I’ve been so lucky (lucky!) to have many talented, visionary artists do the covers and spot art for my novels. The illustrators for my picture books and chapter books make the whole much greater than the sum of its parts. I’m always so excited getting those first sketches. You feel you know your story inside out, and then you see it through the artist’s eyes and it takes on a whole new, rich dimension.
What do you find difficult working as an author?
When I’ve lost my way and know that I need to go back in for a major revision or possibly even start over from scratch. There’s a certain relief in scrapping something you know isn’t working, but it’s also hard to let go of all those weeks and months of writing.
Anything you are habitual about when it comes to creativity?
I always write in the morning, when I’m closest to my dreams and before the world has a chance to make me cranky. After I finish, I go for a long walk or, in summer, a swim. Almost always I get another idea or two, or untangle some knot in the plot-- I make sure to carry pen and notebook in my pocket or swim bag!
Can you share a positive experience you’ve had in the kid lit community?
Kid lit has always been a warm and generous community, and it’s getting even better. Social media has allowed us to come together over so many wonderful causes. Just in the last few months, I’ve been part of #kidsneedbooks, where we donate books to teachers who need them for classroom libraries, and #kidsneedmentors, where we’re partnering with teachers and students to encourage writing and creativity of all kinds.
What is your favorite picture book?
Yesterday I’d have said Sylvester and the Magic Pebble by William Steig. Today I’ll say Madeline by Ludwig Bemelmans. Tomorrow I might say Big Red Barn by Margaret Wise Brown. Can you tell I’m re-visiting the classics with my grandbabies? I couldn’t even begin to choose among contemporary picture books—one after another, they are breaking new ground in text and art. Breath-taking!
What is something you wish someone had told you when you first started writing?
What a slow, slow writer I am, and how there seems to be no help for it. I try to tell myself that I’m creating something that never existed before, something I hope will last for a long time—but I still wish I didn’t have to go through a zillion drafts every time!!! (Maybe it’s better that I didn’t know all this when I first started.)
Tell us about your most recent book?
This past spring, the fourth and last book in my Cody series published. Cody and the Heart of a Champion rounds out a year in the life of Cody, her family, her neighbors and friends. The books are inspired by my own diverse, lively, Cleveland neighborhood. They’re about the things that loom big in kids’ lives: whether the teacher likes you; how to do the right thing even when it’s really hard; not being good at soccer. Every few pages there’s an illustration by the genius Eliza Wheeler, who gives the characters and settings the perfect comic and sweet (but never too sweet) touch.
What’s up next for you?
I’m revising a new middle grade novel of which I must not yet speak, and looking forward to my new picture book, Khalil and Mr. Hagerty. Candlewick will publish it in 2020. It’s inspired both by my late grandfather and by an Iraqi refugee family with whom my family has become close friends. The illustrator is Elaheh Taherian and you really, really want to look up her work right now at elahehtaherian.com
And last, but not least, favorite 80s movie?
In the 80s we were raising our three kids and I swear we didn’t go to the movies more than twice the whole decade. I remember loving Tootsie but I’m not sure if that’s because it was good or I was so happy to get out of the house. I pretend to have seen The Goonies even though (ssh) I really haven’t.
Huge thank you to Tricia Springstubb for stopping by Critter Lit to chat today! We can’t wait to see all of your upcoming books!
Tricia has been publishing picture books, chapter books and middle grade novels for over thirty years. Her work has received many starred reviews and appeared on numerous Best of the Year lists. Her books have won the Parents Choice Silver Award and the Ohioana Award for Children’s Literature, been nominated for state reading awards, and been chosen by the Junior Library Guild. She is a frequent speaker at schools, libraries and conferences.
FOR MORE INFORMATION about Tricia and her work visit her website: triciaspringstubb.com or follow her on Twitter @springstubb.
TO ORDER a copy of any of Tricia’s wonderful books, ring up your local bookstore, or click here.
Want a chance to win a copy of CODY AND THE FOUNTAIN OF HAPPINESS?! Comment on this post or share it on Twitter. One lucky winner will be selected Thursday, December 6th! US addresses only please.
What's up on deck? Tune in next week for a Critter Lit Interview with debut author Hannah Holt!