Saturday, March 16, 2013

The Next Big Thing- Blog Tour

The Next Big Thing is a global blog tour (which started in Australia!) to bring awareness to authors & illustrators and their current work. Thank you to the wonderful Nancy Cote for tagging me! I will answer some questions about my newest book, then pass the it on to two other fantastic book artists. 
What is the working title of your next book?

Where did the idea come from for the book? The idea came from 2 areas in my life- past and present. When my kids were younger we took a February Vacation trip to Florida...leaving our little dog behind in snowy NH. And a relatively recent separation from my off to college- the other off to live on her own. Separation can be difficult!

What genre does your book fall under? My book is a picture book, for ages 4 - 8. (It is a small book...perfect to take on vacation.)

What actors would you choose to play the part of your characters in a movie rendition?  
Movie??? There is going to be a movie? Well, my Godchild's daughter Violet was the inspiration for the character...she looks just like this Violet. (We better get Violet into acting lessons...quick!)

What is the one-sentence synopsis of your book? A mix up causes Violet to imagine her dog, who was left behind on vacation, is miserable.

Who is publishing your book?  Christy Ottaviano Books (Henry Holt). (The book was published on Feb 19-2013- It's out!)

How long did it take you to write the first draft of the manuscript?
First drafts are quick! It's the 5Oth draft that takes forever! 

What other books would you compare this story to within your genre?

A Vacation for Pooch might be compared to "Knuffle Bunny"(by Mo Williams), as in both books the child is missing a loved one. It also captures emotion and an element of surprise as in the classic "Caps for Sale" (by Esphyr Slobodkina). This book has an important but subtle message, which I try to instill in all my books, including,  Princess K.I.M. And the Lie That Grew, and Princess Kim And Too Much Truth.

Who or what inspired you to write this book?

My daughter Kristin, who was going off to college, was a biggest inspiration.

What else about the book might pique the reader's interest?

It is a book about missing someone and surviving without them...whether being separated  for a short time ( going to work) - or a long time ( a parent in the service) or leaving a pet behind while on vacation, this book can ease the fear and let the child know, that even when miles separate you- LOVE will keep you connected.

Thank you so much for stopping by -  I hope you enjoyed hearing about my new book.
The Next Big Thing Blog Tour continues on March 21st with the following book artists - you won't want to miss them!

Author Illustrator- John Nez
Author Illustrator-Loreen Leedy

Friday, March 15, 2013

Final Winner Announced

WINNER- Week 1- Tracy Verheyen- Rochester Hills, MI
WINNER- Week 2- Jan Herzog- Southborough, MA
WINNER- Week 3-  Karen McLoud- Plymouth , NH
WINNER- Week 4-  Cathy WIlson , Milford, MA
WINNER - Week 5-  Katie Worth, Austin TX

Thanks Everyone for entering my Autograph Book Give-away! Keep Sharing books.

Monday, March 11, 2013

Guest Blogging on Macmillan's Blog

I recently wrote a Blog Post about my new book A Vacation for Pooch on my Publisher's Blog:
Macmillan Books- GET TO THE POINT!

As an author and illustrator, my ideas for my books rarely come from one source, but rather the merging of imagination, real life events and emotions.  Two major events came together in the creation of my new book, A Vacation for Pooch.When my daughters were young, we traveled as a family, to Florida on winter vacation, leaving our cute little dog, Bianca, behind in snowy New Hampshire. Like the book character, Violet, we wondered- “How will our dog ever survive without us?”

Bianca posing with a picture of Kristin, both instrumental to developing the concept for A Vacation for Pooch!
And like Violet, we imagined the worse. We were sure that our dog would starve, get lost, and be lonely without us. But of course, Bianca did survive, and so did we. A few phone calls always made us feel a bit better. (Side note: You might be wondering, why I didn’t use Bianca as my model for Pooch in my book. It just wasn’t possible-a white dog in snow is very hard to paint! Hence, Pooch became a cute brown dog- with the spirit of Bianca! )
But years later…it was the thought of separating from my daughters that brought the story together. My oldest daughter, Janine, was preparing to live on her own and my youngest, Kristin, was getting ready to go away to college. Can anyone say- empty nest? Those same questions nagged at me, will my daughters survive without me? Will they starve, get lost or be lonely?
My daughters will be the first to tell you that MY imagination is much more vivid than my alter ego, Violet! I was sure they would starve; could Janine really learn to cook decent meal? I was sure they would get lost; when Kristin was studying abroad and I didn’t hear from her for 5 days-I was sure she fell off a mountain. Okay- I worry. (I had to read my own, yet to be published, story many times to assure myself that my daughters were safe and having the time of their lives…just like Pooch.)
Whether pet or loved one, separation can be difficult for a child (and for a mom!) Missing someone can be hard…imagining that they are miserable, is harder. But like Violet discovered, our loved ones do survive without us. Not only do they survive, they thrive! And in turn, we learn to relax and enjoy the time apart, knowing that when you are together again, the love will be stronger than ever.  But you still miss them!
I’m getting use to not having my daughters home and I have learned to visualize them eating healthy foods, studying hard and getting a lot of sleep in a room which is neat as a pin.   (mmm… I DO have a good imagination.)
PS. Kristin and Janine- Call your mother.

Week 4 WINNER!- One more book to give away-

WINNER- Week 1- Tracy Verheyen- Rochester Hills, MI
WINNER- Week 2- Jan Herzog- Southborough, MA
WINNER- Week 3-  Karen McLoud- Plymouth , NH
WINNER- Week 4-  Cathy WIlson , Milford, MA

1 more week of Book Give-Aways! Please enter!
February Vacation is upon us- and so is the release of my new book,          A Vacation for Pooch, (release date: Feb19, 2013).  Violet is going on vacation to sunny Florida and leaving her dog, Pooch, behind on Grandpa's snowy farm! Violet packs two bags, one for her and one for Pooch. They are all packed and ready to leave! What could go wrong?

How can YOU win a book?
Help me spread the word about my book, by sharing it on facebook, writing about it in a blog, Tweeting about it, sharing this blog, or sharing my website  Then:
1.  Email your Name and Address to: 
2.  Subject Line: POOCH BOOK GIVE-AWAY

I will draw one winner every Friday beginning on FEB 15, for 5 weeks.  Winner's names will be posted on this blog and notified by email.

Here's what reviewers are saying:
Kirkus STARRED Review:
"Cocca-Leffler knows children inside and out. Pitch-perfect, well-paced and with a conclusion that will leave children deeply satisfied, this is a book to be shared before any kind of separation and just for fun." 

 "A cleverly conceived, charming little story for kids with beloved pooches of their own."

Reading level: Ages 4 and up
Hardcover: 32 pages/ with jacket
Publisher: A Christy Ottaviano Book, Henry Holt and Co.  

Thank you so much for your support! AND Happy February Vacation!