Tuesday, January 31, 2012
The Writer's Block Interviews: Nancy Carlson
1) Describe your journey as a children’s author/illustrator.
I started as an illustrator but after two books was encouraged by my editor to try and write my own.
2) Are you a writer who illustrates or an illustrator who writes?
I am an illustrator who writes.
3) Tell us about your first published children’s book. What was the inspiration for it?
My first published book was HARRIET'S RECITAL It was inspired by a my own childhood recital.
4) How did you go about getting it published?
In 1978, I showed my artwork to Carolrhda Books. They hired me to illustrate my first book which was on the history of Halloween.
5) Describe your body of work as an author.
The majority of my 61 published books are written and illustrated by me. Most have a positive message most solve a simple problem, I also have many theme books out like my best seller I LIKE ME.
6) How have you promoted your books and artwork? What strategies have been the most effective?
In the old days by speaking all over! Now I speak all over, post a daily drawing on my blog and Facebook. I also tweet and post news on my Facebook page. I also send send out 5 or 6 mass emails to my list. You have to do all to be effective!
7) Do you think that eBooks are a viable format for children’s picture books?
No, but they might become viable in the future. Who knows how it will all evolve?
8) What advice would you give to budding author/illustrators?
Draw everyday, write everyday! Do free things like school posters and stuff for churches, etc. Join The Society of Children's Books Writers and Illustrators.
9) What is your definition of success?
That kids think my books are awesome!
10) What is next for you in 2012?
Trying to get a book published and working on my artwork!
Nancy Carlson is an accomplished children's book author and illustrator who has published more than 60 books. She is one of the few people who knew even back in kindergarten what she wanted to do for a living: "Make pictures and tell stories!"
Nancy is a life-long Minnesotan. Born and raised in Edina, Minnesota, Nancy had a happy and fulfilling childhood surrounded by an outgoing family. Her parents read to her and her brother and sister every night. The comic books she loved to read as a child have influenced her style of drawing and use of color. Many of Nancy's stories are taken from her own childhood experiences.
Nancy graduated from the Minneapolis College of Art and Design with a major in printmaking, and shortly afterward became fascinated with children's books while working at Minneapolis's Walker Art Center. Nancy began to write her own stories and created accompanying drawings. It wasn't long before she found herself approaching publishers with her own ideas for children's books. She had numerous art exhibitions before getting into the publishing world and her artwork is held in many private and public collections. Recognition for her published work includes several Reading Rainbow selections, the Children's Choice Award from the International Reading Association and Children's Book Council, the Minnesota Children's Museum Great Friends to Kids Award and several others.
Nancy believes that life should be fun for everyone, but especially for children. This optimistic message permeates her picture books and provides a positive counterpoint to much of what children are influenced by in today's society. Her characters aren't always perfect. They often have fears, anxieties, and disabilities. Through her books, kids learn to cope with different challenges. They can learn that they don't have to be perfect to be a good person. Her characters also convey positive messages without being "preachy". They gently remind children what is right.
Nancy is also a guest author and illustrator at over 150 school classrooms each year, and has touched the lives of thousands of children across the country.
Today, Nancy lives in Minnesota with her husband, three children, and her dog named Lily. Nancy's entire family is into sports and enjoys the outdoors. Nancy herself enjoys running, hiking, biking, swimming, skiing and golf.