Where we celebrate new books by Michigan's children's book authors and illustrators
Congratulations to Kathleen Vincenz on the release of her new book, GOD'S SPARROWS!
Q#1: Congratulations on your newest book, God's Sparrows! It sounds like a bit of a mystery which I love. What gave you the idea for this book?
Thank you! I’m so happy that God’s Sparrows is out for everyone to enjoy.
Several years ago, I watched a silent film, Sparrows, late one night. I never watch silent films but I was so taken by the direness of the orphans’ situation and the spunk of the heroine, Mary Pickford. I wanted to create my own version. God’s Sparrowsis fan fiction!
Like Rose, the main character in God’s Sparrows, I was a terrible babysitter. When I babysat, I’d play piano, read a book, or watch TV instead of watching the kids. The kids never did what I told them to, anyway. And, when I gave in to their demands, they’d tell on me. I couldn’t win! Of course, being a comic, adventure story, more exciting, death-defying things happen to Rose in God’s Sparrowsthan ever happened to me.
Q#2: I detect a theme of family in both God's Sparrows and your first book, Over the Falls In a Suitcase. How does family inspire your writing?
I grew up in a large family—I was infamous for having exclaimed 6 kids! when my youngest sister’s arrival was announced. Being part of a large family gives me a lot to draw from, both sad and comic. I also write about the conflict between mothers and daughters—to do what you want versus meet the expectations of your mother.
Q#3: Can you share a bit of what your writing process looks like? Are you a pantser or a plotter, do you edit while you write, etc.? Any advice for new writers?
I am a total pantser and waste so much time that way but I can’t change. I’ve taken tons of courses on outlining or finding the structure to your story but I never follow the advice. I loved playing with dolls when I was little so I see my characters as being my dolls alive and acting out. I have no control over them than the kids I babysat.
To a new writer, I’d say keep working and don’t make publication the reason you are writing. Write to express yourself and see if publication is what you want later. Attend all the SCBWI functions you can afford! They are all worth it.
Q#4: As authors we are used to rejection, right? What are ways that you deal with rejection and how do you get back in that seat?
My books are in a niche that traditional publishing companies are not interested in today. That means I get rejections and they knock me out especially when I know there is an audience for my books. I know because I found that audience by publishing my books through my own publishing company, Squirrels at the Door.
I am blessed to have my son, Danny, who is an artist and illustrates my book covers and bookmarks, and other miscellaneous items, like an avatar of me.
Q#5: What do the next few months look like for you? Are you working on anything new?
Yes! Being a pantser, I have a new story in every drawer. Right now, I am most focused on a novel about a teen who travels to Paris and is a bit overwhelmed by her experience. That was me! I want to capture the love for a city but also show that everyone is the same, even if they live in the City of Lights.
In the next weeks and months, I will spend time promoting and selling God’s Sparrows. I’ll be at the Sterlingfest on Saturday, July 27, with other Michigan SCBWI’ers.
You can find me at kathyvincenz.com and on Twitter @kvincenz100. My publishing company is Squirrels at the Door (squirrelsatthedoor.com). On the website, you can sign up for a fun quarterly newsletter I write about all things squirrels. My books are for sale on Amazon.
Danny, my son, is also available for freelance work. You can find him on Twitter @dannyvincenz.
Thanks so much for giving me the opportunity to tell you about God’s Sparrows. SCBWI is a wonderful organization and I wouldn’t have two books finished without it.
A little bit about the book:
When a winter storm approaches, neighbors ask Rose to babysit their children, six in all, including precocious seven-year old Lily. She is sure she can’t handle the responsibility, especially when Lily’s father arrives and demands he take Lily—is he a distraught parent or the villain he seems to be? To keep the children safe, Rose must shake her fears and find her faith. In doing so, she starts on an adventure that changes her and the children’s lives forever, even gaining Rose a makeshift family.Enjoy Rose’s sparrows as they climb out windows, trek through snowstorms, chase around hotels, and find endless trouble from unexpected villains. Will you ever babysit alone after reading it?
A little bit about the author:
Kathleen Vincenz is the author of Over the Falls in a Suitcase and God's Sparrows, as well as articles and short stories that have appeared inBoys' Life, Appleseeds, and Boy's Quest. She lives on a hill with her husband and many squirrel friends, who are fed everything from bread to taco chips. She is also a technical writer and explains how to use software to help solve engineering problems.