Welcome to #SeasonsOfKidLit, monsters! I'm beyond thrilled to have the incredibly talented Annemarie Riley Guertin with us today. Annemarie is here to talk about her new board book, The Monsters on the Broom (illustrated by Shauna Lynn Panczyszyn). This adorable story follows a group of monsters as they fly around town Halloween night, to an extremely popular tune for little ones. Want to know more about the monsters included and the adventure in store? Read on...
Q: Hi, Annemarie. It’s wonderful to have you on #SeasonsOfKidLit! I’m excited you could join and talk about your newly released board book, The Monsters on the Broom. First, can you share a little about yourself and your journey to becoming a children’s author?
A: Hi, Heather, thanks for having me-I’m excited to be here! A little background on me- I’ve been in public education for over 20 years, starting my career teaching early elementary school (Kindergarten and First grade; then, in 2020, I decided to shake things up and moved to teaching grades 9-12. My focus has always been on Early Childhood Education, so when the opportunity to teach high school students (focusing on becoming educators) popped up, I jumped at the chance to teach them how to work with little ones. This is where I am today. I have the best of both worlds because I am teaching high school students how to become teachers, certifying them to become teachers, all while working alongside preschool-aged children housed next door to my classroom. It’s the best of both worlds! Aside from teaching and writing books for children, I am a wife and mother to two teenagers.
My journey to becoming a children’s writer began in 2016 when I wrote How the Finch Got His Colors. This was the first book I’d ever written! I didn’t know much in the way about publishing and agents back then. I had joined SCBWI shortly after writing Finch and began reading about subbing to agents and subbing to publishing houses. I was so eager to get my story out there that I didn’t submit it to agents at the time; I just went right to subbing to presses that accepted unsolicited manuscripts. If you know me, I can be very impatient, so I just went full steam ahead and sent my manuscript to just a handful of publishers to get a feel for it and see what their feedback would be. I had no idea what would come just a few weeks later. I sent my manuscript out in April, and by June, I had 4 offers of publication on it- right out the gate. It’s such a wild thought now that I have been in the business for a few years and have a deeper understanding of how things work. I realize how fortunate I was! Fast forward to June, I went through the offers with a lawyer, and after speaking with Christopher, the CEO of Familius, I knew Familius was the right house for this book. Christopher’s vision for it was precisely what I had hoped it would be. After I signed, I received another offer of publication and had to let that house know it was already under contract. It was such a whirlwind of an experience, and I am truly grateful for where it has led me!
Q: The Monsters on the Broom follows a group of monsters as they hop on a witch’s broom and take flight around their town. What else can readers expect to see when flipping through the pages of this vibrantly colored board book?
A: Readers can expect to see a group of Halloween friends sharing a good time as they fly through the town singing a familiar tune. I wanted the text to be something familiar and repetitive for young readers but wanted the added element of a Halloween theme (I am obsessed with all things Halloween). This idea popped into my head, and the end result is what you see! Hannah, my editor at Little Simon, had such a vision for this book. She really wanted to take it to the next level and suggested a die-cut format where the pages of the book make a unique outline. It was a super expensive format, so it took a little finessing on her end to get it to work, but the end result is nothing short of amazing! Shauna’s illustrations and Hanna’s format really make this book something special!
Q: What monsters are introduced in your story?
A: Readers will see 5 little monsters- A witch, a ghost, a vampire, a mummy, and a werewolf enjoying a Halloween romp through the night!
Q: What makes The Monsters on the Broom the perfect read for parents, children, and monster-lovers of all sorts?
A: This book is a perfect read-aloud for little ones because it has the element of repetitive text lines and the added bonus of it being a spin-off of a popular tune. Children should easily be able to “read” alongside their parents. The bright, bold illustrations only enhance it. I think this book will do well! We’ve received a lot of great press from SLJ, Kirkus, and our readers!
Q: What can we look forward to seeing from you in the near future?
A: I have 3 more books coming out with Familius in 2023 and 2024. Finding Mr. Trunks (2023), 123 Counting on Community (2024), and Monsters Hide and Seek (2024). In addition to these titles, my agent, Regina Bernard-Carreno, has 3 of my books on submission, so I am hopeful they’ll be more to come!
This is all truly amazing! Thanks again for joining us, Annemarie!
Q: Would you like to leave a Trick or a Treat for the readers?
A: I am happy to leave some tricks for your readers that I hope will help them in their own writing journeys!
When you finish your manuscript, read through it using the read-aloud option in Microsoft Word. I cannot tell you how many times it has picked up errors that I read through!
Look for gaps in the market and write books to fill them. That is what I did with Finch and a few other stories I’ve written. If you can find a gap and explain why your book fills this gap, it might give better odds in the publishing game.
Thanks for the FANGTASTIC tricks, Annemarie! Everyone, please leave a comment below and thank Annemarie for stopping by.
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About Annemarie Riley Guertin:
Annemarie Riley Guertin is a wife, mother, teacher, and Amazon best-selling author of several books for children. In 2016, she began to write professionally, crafting books for children with themes of kindness and dreaming big! Annemarie holds a bachelor's degree in Early Childhood Education from Boston University's Wheelock College and a master's degree in elementary education M.Ed. (summa cum laude) from Fitchburg State University. She teaches Early Childhood Education in Massachusetts, where she lives with her husband and their two children.
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