Today I’d like to welcome Nancy I. Sanders, author of over 75 books to my blog. This is part of her blog tour to introduce her new book release, Yes! You Can Learn How to Write Children’s Books, Get Them Published, and Build a Successful Writing Career. I am fortunate to be in two of her writing critique groups and have read and helped give feedback on this book for beginning writers like myself. Nancy has taught me the career of writing, and her advice really works. Within a year of just starting to write, I have already been published in different markets. I hope that you, too, can purchase this book and start getting published and see dreams come true! If I can, You can, too! Below are some things I just had to know about Nancy!
Tina’s Interview of Nancy I. Sanders
Nancy: While I was growing up, I loved science and math and I wanted to be a biochemist! I won the Bausch and Lomb Physics Award when I graduated from Everett High School in my hometown of Everett, PA. I started college and after taking preliminary classes, then I decided to switch and have a double major as a Teacher and in Religious Studies. But then, as many college students do, I changed my decision and decided to become a nurse. I moved out to California to go to nursing school and worked as a Certified Nurse’s Aid on a med-surge overflow floor at Loma Linda Medical Center. My hope was to attend nursing school at Loma Linda University. It was an exciting and challenging time! But then I met Jeff and we got married and started our precious family. College got put on the back burner. And as I began to read picture books to our two little sons, Dan and Ben, I fell in love with books all over again (I had loved to read as a child) and decided I wanted to write.
Tina: Did you attend college or take any writing classes or did you just have a talent for writing?
Nancy: Actually, I don’t feel like I started with a “talent” for writing. I did everything wrong at first and received 5 years of hundreds of rejections. But I borrowed the Writer’s Market Guide from the library and studied it from cover to cover. I borrowed each new issue of The Writer from the library, too. I found out there was a local Christian conference and volunteered to stuff envelopes and help with registration so I could attend for free. Little by little, I started learning how to write for different genres and different markets and how to submit manuscripts to editors. Now here today, I’m writing a children’s column for The Writer’s online magazine! I truly believe that anyone can learn how to write successfully for the children’s market, just like I have.
Tina: How did you get interested in writing about African American history?
Nancy: My first project on African American history was actually an assignment from an editor. As I researched this topic, I discovered so many fascinating facts and inspirational stories of remarkable achievements and contributions African Americans have made for our country that I wanted to tell kids everywhere everything I’ve learned. I’m trying to reach different kids at different ages and stages, so I have carefully targeted different genres and audiences through different types of books. So far, my books on African American history include:
A Kids’ Guide to African American History (now in its 2nd edition with Chicago Review Press)
D is for Drinking Gourd: An African American Alphabet (illustrated by E. B. Lewis, Sleeping Bear Press)
Readers Theatre for African American History (Libraries Unlimited)
My newest book, America’s Black Founders: Revolutionary Heroes and Early Leaders will be published this spring with Chicago Review Press. I also have a middle grade historical novel series and a nonfiction book of primary sources coming out in the near future.
Tina: How long did it take for you to get your first book contract? right away? many rejections?
Nancy: I attended my first writer’s conference after 5 years of writing with total rejections for everything I submitted. At the conference, someone signed me up for a 15-minute appointment with an editor. Surprised, I decided to attend the appointment. The editor ended up explaining to me that she was looking for a book of Sunday School crafts. She told me how to send her a proposal. I went home, sent her the proposal, and landed a contract to write the book.
Tina: How many hours on average do you spend a day writing?
Nancy: I have “seasons” of writing. When my sons were in school, I usually wrote 3 or 4 of those days during the hours they were at school. Now that they’re grown and gone, I can spend about 4 days a week, 8-12 hours a day, working on deadlines, doing research, and brainstorming ideas. I don’t sit at the computer straight through because that would cause eyestrain and backache, but I break up my time at the computer and do a lot of my thinking and brainstorming about each new scene or each new page of my manuscript while I do housework or yardwork. You can always tell when I’m writing the most ‘cause my house is the cleanest!
Tina: What has been one of your personal highlights so far since the release of Yes! You Can Learn How to Write Children’s Books, Get Them Published, and Build a Successful Career?
Nancy: Tina, the day you came to our writer’s group, CHAIRS, and did a presentation last month about my book just knocked my socks off! You brought these three cute crowns for people to wear and shared about the Triple Crown of Success that’s from my book. I can’t tell you how surprised and excited and happy I was to hear someone else (you!spreading the word about how helpful this book is to writers. It is truly a highlight I’ll cherish. Thank you so much!