Interview with Louise Galveston
I have noticed that many readers are aspiring authors. Do you have any tips or advice for them?
Don't be in a rush to get published; impatience is your enemy. Trust me, you will miss the days of being able to savor writing at your own pace once you start working under deadlines. I'd have been published a lot sooner if I'd taken longer to send my work to agents. Take time to let your book "ripen," then take another look at it. Have seasoned writers look at it, have it professionally critiqued, enter the first 250 words in contests, etc. Harden yourself a little to constructive criticism. (Apply it if it fits and learn not to take it personally.) If you can't handle that, you'll melt under editorial input which can be quite wilting to the uninitiated.
Find critique partners who are at your level or better yet, a little more advanced than you. When looking for an agent, it's not always the giddy cheerleader that's your best bet. An agent who loves your work, yet recognizes your weaknesses and can help you improve them is the one most likely to sell your book. And be certain both you and your agent have similar expectations (especially in regards to communication and your other works) before you sign!
When did you start writing?
I was always the last one done with tests as a kid because I wrote such lengthy essay question answers. I just loved the whole process of putting words on paper. In ninth grade I wrote a scary story for a contest (which ended up being more of a spoof) that my English class voted the best. That little thrill hooked me on connecting with readers and making them laugh.
How do you handle negative reviews of your books?
My editor is kind enough not to send me negative reviews, so I've stumbled upon any negative ones on my own. Since I was blessed enough to get some substantial good ones first, the negative ones didn't sting as bad as they otherwise might. But they do sting, especially when it's clear that the reviewer is trying to be snarky or clever. Remember, most reviews are written by ONE person, and it's only ONE opinion. We writers commiserate (and even laugh at the absurd ones) to help get through it. And chocolate never hurts! The one thing you cannot do is let it stall your writing. Some writers avoid reviews altogether, but I've not found the strength to do that yet. Just remember, you aren't writing for reviewers-you're writing for kids.
What do you enjoy, outside of writing?
I love theater: acting, singing, directing. I was a music theater major in college. I also love to draw and play around with watercolor. I've always been a horse enthusiast, but don't ride nearly often enough. We play a lot of card and board games as a family, and that's always a blast.
What's something about you that most people don't know?
I was a minister for many years. As our family grew, I felt like I needed to give my children more of my time. I also have a phobia of popping noises (balloons, fireworks, gunfire...) As a child I hid in the house during the Fourth of July. Wait, I still do that!
What was your first published book? How do you feel about it now?
I wrote a picture book for an iPad app. (under another name). I still love that book, and the illustrations are phenomenal!
What are you currently reading?
I'm just starting an ARC of Balance Keepers: The Fire of Calderon by fellow debut author, Lindsay Cummings. I'm also reading The Five Love Languages for Children by Gary D. Chapman and Ross Campbell.
What is your favorite book?
Pride and Prejudice wins for most reads. Harriet the Spy is my favorite book from childhood. Anne of Green Gables is a close second.
Who is your favorite author?
Jane Austen, but she's got some close competition.
Do you have any excerpts from any of your books (published and WIPs) that you'd like to share with us? (In the next section)
Humor me, because this is my favorite (mythical) animal: Would you ever consider putting a platypire in one of your books?
Sure! Hey, I have to find some way to top tiny, dead-skin-cell-eating people! I'm actually very keen on platypuses...platypi? They are so cute, especially as babies!
As soon as we'd dried off, Duddy and I got ourselves out of the locker room. Max had trailed us as we dressed, threatening the usual: over-the-head wedgies, limb-from-limb dismemberment, squashing our skulls, and my personal favorite, roasting us like suckling pigs with his brand-new blowtorch.
This is from a scene where the Toddlians (the tiny people who have sprung from the filth on Todd's sock) have asked Daisy (Todd's somewhat evil-genius baby sister) to help them look for a more responsible god. She speaks Toddlian fluently. (And she's my favorite character to write):
When they were silent, Daisy concluded. "Basically, ANYONE would make a better god than my brother. Except me, of course. Although I am highly qualified, I am far too overcommitted. Why, between my artistic endeavors, playdates, meeting my never-ending nutritional needs, rearranging furniture, and keeping the parents on their toes, I scarcely have time to take a nap!"
And finally, a snippet from the Toddlians as they try to figure out a way to get back in Todd's good favor:
One of our maternal people made a more rational plan. "We could make him one of those Nitro Chicken Burgers like they serve at Cluck 'N' Chuck. He practically licks the screen when one of those commercials comes on."
Lewis's face lit up. "I can sing the jingle and do the chicken dance!" He bent his elbows and flapped about madly, singing, "Are ya tired of salad? Are ya sick of soup? Get your hungry on! Come down to our coop!" Several of the younger Toddlians joined in, clucking and mooing so I could not hear myself think. Finally Persephone whistled, stopping the ruckus.
It was not long before we realized we could not manage the actual capture and killing of a chicken. Despite Persephone's valiant offers to do the "fowl" deed, we had no idea where to find such a bird, dead or alive.
Perfect for fans of Andrew Clements, Dan Gutman, and The Borrowers, By the Grace of Todd is the laugh-out-loud answer to what happens if you leave dirty laundry on the floor . . . and don’t follow your mother’s instructions to clean your room.
Twelve-year-old Todd has created life through sheer grossness.
How did he become an accidental god?
Ingredient A: A worn athletic sock
Ingredient B: Dirt from the Great and Powerful Todd himself
Instructions: Leave under bed for months. Do not clean room.
Yields: 50 ant-sized Toddlians
BUT WATCH OUT! When school bully Max Loving puts the future of the tiny Toddlians in jeopardy, Todd will have to do everything in his power to save the race his very negligence created.