The Next Big Thing: A Global Book Tour

When it rains it pours! On top of a book launch, taxes due, and project deadlines, I’ve added some major website technical issues to the list. Pardon the mess around here! Because of this, I’m a little late in posting for this blog tour, but if you don’t tell then I won’t either.

THE NEXT BIG THING: A Global Blog Tour

MissMaple_cover_webpreview

Illustration friend and SCBWI mentee Christina Forshay recently tagged me for participation in a global blog tour called The Next Big Thing. The idea originated in Australia and is basically a cool way for authors and/or illustrators to promote their next or latest book.

1) What is the working title of your next book?
Miss Maple’s Seeds, just out April 4, 2013 from Nancy Paulsen/Penguin Books.

2) Where did the idea come from for the book?
The book merges a couple inspirations: a) when I was younger I was obsessed with drawing tiny people living in trees.  b) my grandmas and mom all have green thumbs, and though I don’t have the ability to garden now, I would love to follow in their footsteps and become a gardener one day  c) I was inspired for my character when I first saw fellow illustrator Diane Browning, and drew a little sketch in my notebook of “the acorn woman”, who eventually became Miss Maple.

3) What genre does your book fall under?
Picturebook.

4) What actors would you choose to play the part of your characters in a
movie rendition?
I would love to see this animated with claymation, and hmm, who would be the voice of Miss Maple? I can’t think of many older actresses at the moment, but someone with a warm crackly voice would be perfect.

5) What is the one-sentence synopsis of your book?
A tiny woman collects and cares for orphan seeds, and teaches them all they need to know before sending them out into the wide world.

6) Who is publishing your book?
The lovely and intelligent Nancy Paulsen of Penguin Books!

7) How long did it take you to write the first draft of the manuscript?
I wrote a first solid draft in under a week. I keep wondering if that will ever happen again!

8) What other books would you compare this story to within your genre?
Miss Rumphius, Mrs. Spitzer’s Garden

9) Who or what inspired you to write this book?
See answer for #2.

10) What else about the book might pique the reader’s interest?
The story balances a fun, fictional story with a little bit of education about seeds (types of seeds, what they need to grow, how they travel) hidden inside. Kids love these little micro worlds; parents and teachers will relate to Miss Maple as a caretaker who has to eventually let her seeds set out on their own into the world.

Thank you, Christina Forshay, for incuding me in this fun blog tour!

I pass the torch on to a literary sibling (we share an agent), a talented and super nice guy, Mike Boldt! Mike has a hilarious new book coming out this year called “123 Verses ABC”.  Look for his post next week.

Book Party for Miss Maple’s Seeds!

I’m having a  book launch party for Miss Maple’s Seeds! Everyone is welcome, and I’d love to see you there!

Sunday April 7th, 5-7 pm
Skylight Books, 1818 N. Vermont Ave, Los Angeles CA 90027

Coming to the party? You can pre-order your book directly from Skylight to ensure there will be enough copies at the store. And of course, I’ll sign them! Pre-order here:

skylight books icon
http://www.skylightbooks.com/book/9780399257926

 

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MissMaple_cover_webpreview

MISS MAPLE’S SEEDS
April, 2013
AGES: 3-5 years
AUTHOR: Eliza Wheeler
HARDCOVER: 32 pages
PUBLISHER: Nancy Paulsen/Penguin Books
ISBN 9780399257926

Miss Maple gathers lost seeds that haven’t yet found a place to sprout. She takes them on field trips to explore places to grow. In her cozy maple tree house, she nurtures them; keeping them safe and warm until it’s time for them to find roots of their own, and grow into the magnificent plants they’re destined to become.

AVAILABLE EVERYWHERE!  Check your local bookstore or online.
Order online from a local indie bookstore here: http://www.indiebound.org/book/9780399257926

Miss Maple’s First Book Review

Miss Maple’s Seeds is coming out in 1 month (April 4, 2013), and I was so excited to see that Publisher’s Weekly posted the first review a few days ago!

The Review: http://new.publishersweekly.com/978-0-399-25792-6
Since Publisher’s Weekly is a subscription site, I’m not sure how long the link will be available, so I’ve taken a screen grab of the review here:

MissMaple_Review_PW_030413

 

Here’s what they said:

“Confident artistry and an intuitive knowledge of what the world looks like to a very small person make a winning combination in Wheeler’s debut. Miss Maple is a grandmotherly, Borrowers-sized woman who adopts “orphan seeds that got lost during the spring planting.” Dressed in a big straw hat and a billowing skirt, she marshals bluebirds to collect the seeds in baskets on their backs, finds leaf boats to take the seeds on field trips “to learn about being a seed,” befriends woodland animals to pass the winter days around the hearth with, then sets the seeds free from a bough high in the air: “Take care, my little ones, for the world is big and you are small. But never forget.” Careful observation of seeds (including a labeled seed chart), leaves, and plants gives the artwork substance, and Japanese woodblock–style skies that fade to sunset hues provide a wistful emotional overlay. Wheeler has clearly had a good time inventing fairy-house fixtures for Miss Maple: flower lantern boats and hollow-log houses make one yearn to escape our big, unwieldy world and inhabit hers.
Ages 3–5. Agent: Jennifer Rofé, Andrea Brown Literary Agency. (Apr.)”

Thank you, Publisher’s Weekly!

 

 

Workspace – Sketching for The Grudge Keeper

Right now I’m knee deep in sketching for the picture book THE GRUDGE KEEPER, by author Mara Rockliff. It’s a folk-tale inspired story of the one man in town who collects everyone’s insults, umbrage, and petty complaints, filing them all away in his cottage. Mara’s manuscript is brilliant! It’s been exciting to be able to visualize this quirky world and characters that Mara has created.

Here’s a little peek at my workspace while I’m sketching:

grudge_working sketch_72dpi

Sketching is, for me, by far the most grueling stage in the illustration process. I will admit that I look forward to nailing down these sketches and moving forward to inking and color.

Will share more as I’m able!

 

 

 

Miss Maple’s Seeds: F&G’s


The F&G’s for Miss Maple’s Seeds are in! This is exciting for two reasons:

1) I get to walk around saying “F&G!”, and nobody can scold me.

2) I get to see a beautiful printed proof of my book, all laid out and paginated.

As you’ve likely deduced by now, F&G is not a literary swear word – it stands for “folded and gathered”.

 F&G: “folded and gathered”. A complete printed proof of a book (stack of signatures) that hasn’t been trimmed or bound, and excludes the hard-cover.

F&G’s are the final chance to make sure there aren’t any errors and that the printing and colors are of the quality we’re after. It’s so exhilarating to see in print!

I would never have thought certain things like an ISBN, listed retail price, publisher’s logo, and copyright page could make me go giddy. But there you have it – it’s those details that make the whole thing feel more real!

Interesting side story – I usually get all my Penguin mail from my editor’s assistant, Sara Kreger, whom I discovered (via Facebook, where else?) is also the sister of a college friend, Laura Kreger, from UW-Stout. Crazy small world, eh?

And here’s a little peek at the first spread, just to wet your whistle:

I can’t wait to introduce Miss Maple to the whole wide world on April 4th, 2013!

Current Projects: Rundown

I am so totally behind on all the pieces of news I need to share with you all! So, here’s a quick rundown of my projects to date (and I’ll share more on each item in follow-up posts):

MISS MAPLE’S SEEDS
story and illustrations, Nancy Paulsen Books/Penguin

This is my first very own picture book! Coming out April 4, 2013.

 

DOLL BONES, by Holly Black
illustrations, Simon and Schuster

I created cover art and interior black and white chapter drawings for Holly Black’s new middle grade novel (HOLLY BLACK, you guys!). Coming Spring 2013.

 

THE GRUDGE KEEPER, by Mara Rockliff
illustrations, Peachtree

Illustrations for a picture book by author Mara Rockliff, coming 2014(ish).


(preliminary character sketch)


THE INCORRIGIBLE CHILDREN OF ASHTON PLACE, BOOK 4, by Maryrose Wood
 interior illustrations, Balzer & Bray/HarperCollins

A big ol’ curve ball here – I’ll be doing the interior black and white illustrations for book 4 in the middle grade series by Maryrose Wood. Jon Klassen (squeeeeal!!!) was the artist for book 1-3, and will still be illustrating the cover. Check out the books! http://www.maryrosewood.com

 

Phew – awesome projects, right?? I’ll give a little more info on each one in subsequent posts, and will update on each project as I’m allowed to share more.

 

Sigh of Relief Due Upon Completion

 

 

It’s been months of intense work here on my picture book project, and the interior artwork is all sent off to New York. Though I have yet to do the cover and endpaper artwork, there’s a big sense of accomplishment and relief knowing that the bulk of the work is finished. I can’t wait to share this artwork with you as soon as I’m able to!

Painting the last pages

Clean Palettes

 

Plugging Away . . .

 

 

I’m here plugging away diligently and watching the big deadline approach on my current book project, The Maple Tree Orphanage. I can’t wait to share more details about the story, and share the process of working on my first story with editor, Nancy Paulsen and art director, Cecilia Yung. But, for now I have to get back to the drawing table . . . because there’s a lot to do in this next month, and this is a bit how I’m feeling:

From the great Bill Watterson