Welcome back to my newly updated blog! I was honored to be asked by my colleague Susan Montanari to participate inThe Writing Process Blog Tour. You can find Susan’s blog post at henandinkblots.wordpress.com/
As to the four questions…
What am I working on?
At the moment, I'm focused on book promotion for my new middle grade novel, ABRACADABRA TUT. So much has changed in the past few years in terms of what an author can do on her own to get the word out. My thinking has shifted from depending on a publisher to depending on social media. Author visits are an integral part of what I do, and so I've been thinking a lot about "my brand." I have a new, updated website, an active Twitter account, and my FB fan page. I'm also offering some free book downloads and giveaways to get the buzz started. My next promotion project is the book trailer. Coming up with creative ways to sell this book has been a lot of fun.
Lurking in the back of my mind is also the follow-up plot to Tut and a middle grade manuscript in need of revision that has been living in my drawer far too long.
How does my work differ from others of its genre?
Hmm. I have a kind of nerdy enthusiasm for all sorts of interesting topics that capture my imagination and then find their way into my books. I love to research a topic and then anchor my story to weird/cool/fascinating ideas prompted by whatever I discover in my journey.
Why do I write what I do?
My writing career began when I was hired by a book packaging company in the mid-80's to create a series for boys. Because I love animals, I came up with an idea about a kid who started a pet care business. Each book in the Oliver and Company series revolved around a different pet and of course, a catastrophy. That first series led to other series. Sometimes I was assigned a topic, other times I came up with my own idea. Ever since, my research and my curiosity have always driven my plots. Many of my books started as freelance assignments, but my nosy nature allowed me to find the things that tugged my heart, made me laugh out loud, and jump started my brain. I guess the shortcut answer would be: I write about what I love. Doesn't everybody?
How does my writing process work?
Try as I may, my butt never hits the chair before 10am. I think I need to wander about for a few hours before I'm ready to "commit to the page" (pun intended!). Once I'm fully seated, I lock in for a few hours. Often, I begin by editing whatever I wrote the day before. I also give myself daily goals, such as a chapter, a particular number of completed pages, or an event to complete. The hardest part for me is getting the first draft down, so I trick myself with stupid rewards, like if I reach my goal, I can go to TJMaxx and look at shoes. I've also been known to lock myself into the library with a promise that when I reach my goal I'll take myself out for coffee and a donut. During this phase, I also take long walks and play Solitaire. Once I'm fully into a revision, my brain goes into Madwoman state, and all I can think about is how to fix things and make them better. That's actually the part of the writing process that I love best. My mind hums and buzzes, and even when I hit roadblocks, I know from past experience that the block will eventually break and I'll find my way. (This grumpy block phase can last for several days. My family recognizes the warning signs.)
I also find writer's critique groups to be enormously helpful. I don't think I've ever written a book that didn't have lots of input from other writers. Their suggestions, questions and comments are essential to my process.
Tag you’re it:
The talented Marisabina Russo, a graduate of Mount Holyoke College, is an award winning children’s book author and illustrator. She began her career as a freelance illustrator contributing spots and covers to The New Yorker as well as many other magazines and newspapers. Her first picture book, THE LINE UP BOOK, won the International Reading Association Award in 1986 and remains in print nearly 30 years later. She has written and illustrated 32 picture books and young adult novels including I WILL COME BACK FOR YOU; A FAMILY IN HIDING DURING WORLD WAR II (A Junior Library Guild Selection and Oppenheim Portfolio Platinum Award winner), ALWAYS REMEMBER ME; HOW ONE FAMILY SURVIVED WORLD WAR II (American Library Association Notable Book), A VERY BIG BUNNY (Junior Library Guild Selection, Bank Street Best Books), and THE BUNNIES ARE NOT IN THEIR BEDS. Her books have been translated into Chinese, Japanese, Korean, French, and Hebrew.
To learn more about her writing process log on to: http://marisabinarusso.wordpress.com