Tuesday, April 4, 2017

Author Anne Marie Pace Writes Vampirina at the Beach!

We love VVampirina at the Beach High Resampirina Ballerina at our house.  She's engaging and fun and makes monsters more approachable.  Today is the book birthday of the third book in the series, Vampirina at the Beach! The series has been so popular, that Disney Junior is premiering a Vampirina series in 2017!  I'm thrilled to interview Anne Marie Pace for ReFoReMo.
Kirsti Call: My kids and I love your Vampirina Ballerina books.  What was your inspiration?
Anne Marie Pace: As always, my inspiration begins with kids, trying to write stories they will like, so I’m happy to hear that your kids like Vampirina Ballerina! Three of my children took ballet when they were small, so there was rarely a week when we didn’t bring home a new ballet book from the library. Not wanting to reinvent the wheel, I never thought about writing a ballet book until one day I was pondering things that are quite different from each other, thought about vampires and ballerinas, and realized that a vampire would have trouble seeing himself in the mirrors that line many ballet studio walls. That hit the sweet spot of “teaching an old dog a new trick” as Vampirina’s original editor Kevin Lewis says; and the first draft actually came rather quickly from there.
KC: When you wrote the first book, did you have the entire series planned out?
AMP: No, not at all. I’d always heard that authors shouldn’t try to pitch series to agents and editors, but instead, they should write a stand-alone. Then if the book is well-received, perhaps the publisher will want another. (I’m not sure that’s actually true for novels these days—I realize many series begin as a planned series—but in this case, that’s what I did.) I was very pleased that kids like the book and Disney-Hyperion asked for more. LeUyen Pham suggested as we began work on the second book, VAMPIRINA BALLERINA HOSTS A SLEEPOVER, that we have character growth not only within each book, but also over the course of the series. So the friendship skills Vampirina acquires in the first book are developed in the second and third books. 
KC: What is your favorite book that you've written?
AMP: Coincidentally, my son asked me that same question this morning, and I honestly don’t know. It’s not quite as hard a question as asking me which of my four children I love best (it’s YOU, whichever of you is reading this right now), but it’s still quite difficult to answer. I hope this isn’t a cop-out, but I probably love them best when I’m working intensely in revisions with my editors and when I’m seeing art for the first time, which means the favorite changes over time. I will say that I am a huge LeUyen Pham fan, and her work in VAMPIRINA IN THE BEACH really makes me smile, so I’m not lying to say it’s my current favorite.
KC: What new projects are you working on?
AMP: I just sent my agent a couple of picture book manuscripts that I hope she’ll deem ready to submit. Then I’m working on a middle-grade novel that I’ve been working on for something like fifteen years, on and off. I can’t shake it, so I guess I’m supposed to keep at it. I hope this time I can make it work. I also have GROUNDHUG DAY coming out next December. Christopher Denise’s illustrations are completely charming. I’m really looking forward to sharing that book with kids.
KC: What advice would you give to aspiring kidlit authors?
AMP: As far as the writing goes, there is no substitute for properly learning your craft. When I teach classes on writing picture books, I talk a lot about the writer’s toolbox, which is a metaphor that really resounds with me. I also believe very strongly in mentor texts, so this blog is a perfect place to learn a lot. In fact, studying mentor text is a great way to add tools to your toolbox. Taking writing classes and workshops can also be a huge help. I love the work that the Highlights Foundation does, and I think SCBWI provides an invaluable resource.

KC: Thank you Anne Marie!  To see my full review of Vampirina at the Beach, go here.  

ANNE MARIE PACE is the author of Vampirina Ballerina and Vampirina Hosts a Sleepover, and has had stories, poems, and articles for kids published in such magazines as Highlights for Children, My Friend, Wee Ones, and On the Line. She lives in Charlottesville, VA, with her husband and four teenagers. Visit her online at www.annemariepace.com and on Twitter @AnneMariePace.

19 comments:

  1. Good luck with Disney Junior Vampirina series, Anne Marie!

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  2. I'm writing at the beach this week. I only hope I can come up with a character as appealing as Vampirina! Happy Book Birthday!

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  3. I always enjoy learning how an author came up with an idea. I'll definitely start trying to mash-up things that are so different like you did, and then hope to develop it just as well. ;)
    Best of luck and Happy Book Birthday!

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  4. Love the way you came up with your idea to combine vampires and ballerinas. I'm sure kids will love your new book too. Thanks for sharing an inspiring post. I, too, have a MG novel idea that won't go away so I'm hoping this time it will come to fruition. :-)

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  5. Looking forward to reading Vampirina at the Beach! I was introduced to Vampirina during ReFoReMo this year and loved her!

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  6. Anne Marie, Wow! Disney is premiering your 'Vampirina' books as a series! That is exciting! Good luck with your next books as well!

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  7. My girls will be so excited to hear that the Vampirina we came to love through your writing will now have her own show AND another book! Congratulations!

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  8. AnnMarie,
    thank you for sharing the evolution of your series. It's clear that nothing takes the pace of hard work and inspiration. I look forward to reading your new book.

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  9. Fabulous interview with Anne Marie!
    I can't wait to see the Vampirina toy line that is coming out.
    So exciting.

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  10. Thanks for this fun and insightful interview. My daughter loves Vampirina. We can't wait to read Vampirina at the Beach!

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  11. Love Vampirina! Congratulations on your upcoming books and good luck with your MG, Anne MArie

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  12. Congratulations on the Disney deal! I look forward to more fun Vampirina :) I enjoyed this delightful interview, Anne Marie and Kirsti.

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  13. Congratulations on all of your successes, Anne Marie!

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  14. Thanks for a peek inside your writing world. As always, learning the craft is paramount. Congrats on your Disney premier! How exciting!

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  15. You have a magical toolbox Anne Marie! Congratulations!

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  16. Such a fun series to study. So clever to think of a vampire ballerina!

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  17. Anne Marie is a wonderful writer and thoroughly terrific person. Can't wait to see the new Vampirina book!

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  18. This series looks wonderful. It's always fun to learn how an author got an idea and developed it into a polished manuscript and book.
    Thank you for sharing your process.

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  19. I think this blog about what is a study case and its writing techniques could be useful.

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