By Kim Briggs
Hi everyone! Today, we get up close and personal with Gayle C. Krause, a long time member of SCBWI.
She writes across the genres. Her writing journey is briefly described in this interview. During the course of her writing career Ms. Krause has served as assistant editor for Underneath the Juniper Tree, a dark fantasy online magazine developed for young teens, a children’s book reviewer for Children’s Literature .com and she offers a critique service for children’s writers at First Peek Critique. (www.gayleckrause.com)
She also runs a blog that encourages new children’s writers through contests, writing tips, book reviews and author interviews. http://thestorytellersscroll.blogspot.com.
She lives in a cliff house with her husband in the Pocono Mountains with a view of New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania and the Delaware River.
You were a teacher, right? What came first, the teacher or the egg, er, I mean writer?
You would think the answer would be ‘the teacher,’ but I wrote poems in elementary school. So the writer part of me was always present and it came in handy when I became a teacher.
I wrote children’s plays for my nursery aged children to perform and developed advanced children’s literature assignments for my high school students.
How did you bring your story to life?
My first published story, a seasonal rhyming picture book, ROCK STAR SANTA, came a few days after I attended a Trans-Siberian Orchestra Christmas Concert.
And my latest, a YA, RATGIRL: The Song of the Viper, was inspired by my love of fairy tales, and environmental seminar I attended several years ago where I learned about the benefits of willow bark, bilberry bushes and acorn flour.
You wrote your book, then what?
With ROCK STAR SANTA, I sent it out to editors, because at the time I didn’t think an agent would be interested in one picture book.
I attended SCBWI conferences in PA and NY and the Rutgers One on One Conference in NJ in October of 2006, where I met my editor at Scholastic, though she was not my mentor. I sent her my rhyming manuscript in February of 2007 and she emailed me saying she loved it, but asked if I could wait until July when the editorial staff considered original books for Scholastic Book Clubs. Of course, I said yes and the rest is history.
Fast-forward five years. During that time, I was published in children’s magazines and anthologies. Chicken Soup for the Kid’s Soul 2 and Timeless, short YA historical romances and And the Crowd Goes Wild, an international poetry collection about sports for children.
And then in April of 2012 I signed a contract with a small publisher for RATGIRL: Song of the Viper, a dark, gritty retelling of The Pied Piper. It was first published in February 2013 from Noble Romance – Young Adult, with a second edition published in December of 2013 from Trowbridge Books, LLC.
It has since been nominated for the Boston Globe/Horn Book for 2013, The International Reading Association Award and the SCBWI Golden Kite Award for 2014.
Were you involved in contract negotiations or did your agent handle everything?
I do not have an agent, although I am actively pursuing that avenue. Any agent out there interested in representing me? I have written 40 picture books, a dozen novels and 2 MG poetry collections.
Did you research sample contracts?
I did not. My first contract was from Scholastic. And what can I say? I was thrilled. My choice was either sign the contract or not get my dream book published…I signed the contract.
How long did process take?
I submitted the manuscript in February of 2007. Waited for the editorial team to make their decision after my editor said she liked it. The contract was offered in fall of 2007 and the book was published the following year in November of 2008.
How did you handle the criticism?
The only thing that was asked of me was to write a few more rhyming verses.
Did you take all the editor’s advice?
Yes. The biggest was to change the title of the book from ‘ROCKIN’ CHRISTMAS EVE’ to ‘ROCK STAR SANTA.’
Did you spend a lot of time on social media pre-publication?
At that time, social media was very young. I believe I made a Facebook Page for Rock Star Santa in 2009. You can all “like” it, even now. 🙂
For RATGIRL: Song of the Viper I was savvier. I had virtual blog tours, blog interviews, a FB page, Twitter comments, book signings, newspaper articles, swag and both paperback and e-book sales that can be found on Amazon and Barnes and Noble.
How much time do you spend on social media post-publication?
I check it twice a week.
And what platforms do you use?
Facebook, Twitter, Linked In, My own blog, The Storyteller’s Scroll http://thestorytellersscroll.blogspot.com
Where can we find you online?
FB – Gayle C. Krause https://www.facebook.com/gayle.c.krause
Twitter – https://twitter.com/GeeCeeK
Critique Service – First Peek Critique
Do you participate in many events? What type of events and who schedules them?
Yes. I’ve been on the faculty at SCBWI conferences. I speak to prospective children’s authors at library functions and conduct seminars on children’s literature for teachers and educators as well as school visits.
Event coordinators may reach me at my email firstname.lastname@example.org
Do you try to stay local or are you willing to travel?
I prefer local. It’s easier, but I will travel if reimbursed.
What’s your event calendar like since your book release?
I’ll be speaking in March 2014 at the Monroe County Library in Stroudsburg, PA (book signing afterward)
Hosting the Cliff House Writer’s Retreat in May.
A possible speaking and teaching engagement in June for children’s writers, yet to be confirmed. A possible critique session with my fellow Wonderwriters in the Lehigh Valley area later this year and a book sale and signing at the Zane Grey Museum later this summer, along with a few children’s book festivals.
Do you receive sale updates from the publisher?
Yes, I get two ROCK STAR SANTA royalty statements from Scholastic yearly – September and March.
RATGIRL: Song of the Viper royalties are paid monthly.
Were you in a critique group before publication?
I was not in a critique group before ROCK STAR SANTA was published.
Are you in one now?
Yes. My current critique group is called The Wonderwriters. We are four professional women who write MG and YA novels.
Any tidbits of wisdom you would like to part with?
Don’t send anything out until at least four different people have critiqued it, but keep your perspective on your work. Be true to your ideas. Don’t get swayed by your critiquers’ opinions. In other words—take what will help you. Disregard what will not.
Inquiring minds want to know, what projects can we expect to see in the future?
My current WIP is a YA Contemporary Thriller with a male protagonist and I’m very excited about it because I’ve never written from a male POV before. It’s a real challange. Also,my fans have been contacting me asking for a sequel to RATGIRL: Song of the Viper. An idea is in place and I’m playing with a title of RATSBANE: The Betrayer.
Thanks for having me as a guest on the EPA SCBWI blog. I’ve been a proud member of this chapter since 1999. The Beatles once sang, “All You Need is Love,” and that’s so true. Thanks for showing me some love. And to show my appreciation I will give away a signed copy of RATGIRL: Song of the Viper and RATGIRL swag to a random commenter, below.
🙂 I would appreciate the winner’s honest opinion in a review on Goodreads.
Deadline for giveaway is April 30, 2014.