Welcome, readers, writers, and wonderful werewolves out there! We have a wickedly cool treat for you today. Michele McAvoy and The Little Press is here sharing publishing insight and an up-close look at her new book, Willa the Werewolf. Willa is a fashion-designing pig who turns werewolf at night and gets the chance of a lifetime - to design for a very important pig trio. But pigs are of course scared of wolves. Will Willa be able to design before the clock turns midnight or will she spook her famous clients? Want to know more about Michele, The Little Press, and Willa the Werewolf, PLUS want a chance to win an Above-the-slush pass? Read on...
Q: Thanks so much for joining #SeasonsOfKidLit! We’re thrilled to have you Trick or Treat with us and hear all about your book Willa the Werewolf. Please share a little about this book’s journey and/or your journey to kidlit.
A: When my daughter was little she was scared of a wolf in her closet. I think I may have told her the story of the kid who cried wolf and it scared the crap out of her. I was thinking of a way to make a wolf less scary and I came up with the idea that she is a fashionista and it just spun from there. In the beginning the story was different and it wasn’t a pig world. I received a critique from SCBWI that the stakes weren’t high enough, and that’s when I thought it has to be a pig world and they need to be petrified of wolves. I had a friend of mine who is well published review the revised version and she said, “Michele, this is really good, and I don’t usually say that” and that gave the me confidence I needed to keep reiterating and to keep on the path.
Q: We understand this is a series. Can you say more about the series?
A: Willa the Werewolf is the first in a modern fairy-tale early reader series. The second book is Curlilocks & the Three Hares by Andrew Hacket and the third, Digital Red by Kimberly Delude. The great thing about this series is that while it’s approachable for emerging and early readers it’s not your typical step reader. The stories are modern and entertaining, with themes of fashion, hair, and social media. The book covers are super pretty too! (lol) They have sparkles on them!
Q: As a publisher, what do you look for in a Halloween book? What do you feel would make a Halloween story stand out from the rest?
A: As a person, I love Halloween! It’s my favorite time of year. So, as a publisher I tend to gravitate toward Halloween stories when looking for holiday titles. We have acquired two Halloween stories. Broommates, by Lynne Marie & Brenda Sturgis, illustrated by Nico Ecenarro. We have a second book, not yet announced. To stand out, I love stories with humor, not only in the text but if I can visualize them in the illustrations, the story stands out to me.
Q: As a publisher, what advice do you have for adding an extra layer to a Halloween book to give it year-round appeal?
A: To give it layers and allow for year-round sales there need to be a more universal storyline, a conflict, character development, story arc that is universal, not just geared towards Halloween. And if there is humor, that’s a bonus!
Q: Excellent advice! What other holidays would you like to feature in books you're looking to acquire? Any other wish list items we can share with the readers?
A: I would love an Easter book for our Bless This Press imprint. I’m also a sucker for a great Romeo & Juliet or Pride & Prejudice inspired middle grade or YA. (Please!)
Thanks for sharing your wish list with us!
Q: BONUS QUESTION: What’s your favorite Halloween Candy and what candy pairs the best with your book?
A: I prefer to get a Snickers in my Halloween bag, but if you ask me my favorite Halloween candy it has to be the candy corn. They don’t taste that great but they are the epitome of Halloween!
I think the best pairing for WILLA THE WEREWOLF would be a Twix, because there are two sides to a Twix, much like Willa!
Thanks again for joining us, Michele! It was such a treat learning more about you and Willa!
Q: Would you like to leave a Trick or a Treat for the readers?
A: A Treat! I'm offering an Above-the-Slush Submission Pass for holiday titles only.
Thanks for such a fang-tastic treat!
Contest Details: To enter to win an Above-the-Slush pass 1) like and share this post on social media and 2) leave a comment below and let Michele know why you're dying to share a holiday themed story with her (and which holiday).
#SeasonsOfKidLit's Trick-or-Treat Winners will be chosen on or about November 5th.
*Books will be shipped in the US only*
Note: Those who leave a comment on all posts will be eligible to win one (1) of ten (10) Rate Your Story Speed Passes, perfect for quick MS feedback, provided by Agent Mentee Lynne Marie & Author Heather Macht.
About Michele McAvoy:
Michele McAvoy is an inspirational speaker, an award-winning children’s book author from New Jersey, and a children’s book publisher. As a child, she read Judy Blume and drew Garfield comics. For her 10th birthday, she asked for a pink typewriter. Michele always loved the smell of new books. Now all grown-up (typewriters near obsolete) she loves bringing joy to children through her own stories. Michele currently has 5 published titles with another on the way! Her titles include Willa the Werewolf, Buckingham Gets A New Shell, Cookie & Milk, The Gorilla Picked Me!, My Superhero Grandpa and Toby Undone with Clear Fork Publishing coming 2024. You can find Michele on social media @michele_mcavoy (Twitter) and @michelemcavoy (Instagram.)
For more about The Little Press, check out the below links:
Website: home (littlepresspublishing.com)
To purchase Michele's books on Amazon or to leave a review for them, click here.
To browse The Little Press Publishing's bookstore, click here.
A special thanks to David Rodriguez Lorenzo for the amazing custom-signatures!