Friday, April 29, 2016

A Chat with Rose Cooper, Author & Illustrator, and a GIVEAWAY!

Happy Friday, everyone! Shannon here. 

I have such a treat for you today. It is my great privilege to introduce you all to my friend, Rose Cooper. An amazing author and illustrator, Rose's career inspires me to reach far and wide as I meander down my own road. She kindly agreed to let me throw a few questions her way. Would you like to eavesdrop?

Of course you would! It's fun to be a fly on the wall!

Shannon: Lovely, Rose! You know I adore your books and your illustrations. Which came first for you, the writing or the drawing?

Rose: Thank you! The writing came first. I loved to draw as a kid, but it never occurred to me to try illustrating my stories until I came up with a middle grade book idea that demanded images with the text. Even then, I only considered the drawings as a way to show an agent and then an editor, the full concept of my idea. I never expected to illustrate my books but I am so grateful I was given that opportunity. Now, I can’t imagine not illustrating my books.

S: I can honestly say no one has ever asked me to draw them a thing. And I am so glad! But you! I love that you haven’t pigeonholed yourself into one genre. You write these fun middle grade books but also produce hilarious comics for women. How do you decide where to focus your energies and what does your writing schedule look like?

R: My focus is first with the priority.  If I have a deadline for a book or for greeting cards (comics), then I focus my attention on that. If I’m between deadlines, then I work on whichever creatively moves me. Sometimes I will have a great idea for a story that I must start writing, but the next day I will be inspired by something funny for one of the comics and I’ll work on that. 

Last year I quit my day job and went full time with my creative career. I still keep a “work schedule” of sorts and set goals so that I can get work accomplished, especially on days where I’m not motivated. I work 8am-3:30pm each day (when the kids are in school) and then I usually draw in the evening, since that relaxes me. 

S: I love hearing how other authors structure their days. It reminds me that there is no ONE WAY. Lots of ways work. 

Now, I know authors hate this question, but where did you get the idea for your middle grade novel I Text Dead People? What inspired you?

R: I actually love this question! There are so many places to get inspiration. The Idea for I Text Dead People was actually inspired by my teen years. My mom married a mortician and we moved to a very small town. It was difficult starting over at a new school where everyone grew up together and I was basically an “outsider.” It also didn’t help my social status that I lived on the cemetery grounds and my mom became a cosmetician for dead people. At the time, I thought I had the worst life ever. As I grew up, I found the humor in it. I’m a fan of paranormal, so I added ghosts to the story and I Text Dead People was born.

S: Oh my gosh! How did I not know this about you? I think we need to talk more when we hang out. Talk more, write less! 

Tell me this, what’s your favorite part of the writing / illustrating process? Any part of it you absolutely dread?

R: I love having ideas and then turning those ideas into something of substance—whether it’s a story or an illustration. I love that feeling of excitement while creating. It’s a great motivator. I enjoy the whole process—from beginning to end and all the many revisions in between—but if there is one thing I dread, its deadlines.  When I know I have to do something by a certain date, my creativity suddenly shuts off. It’s probably just the pressure of the looming deadline, but I stress more about everything and that sucks the fun out of creating. But, I always push through it and remind myself that without deadlines, there wouldn’t be any books. 

S: Isn't that the truth? Deadlines are a necessary evil. Any advice for our teen writers?

R: Never give up. I know that sounds pretty clich√©, but it’s so completely true. Giving up is so easy, especially when things aren’t going great. There will always be rejection, bad reviews, and many negatives at any stage of your career. It doesn’t stop once you publish one book or several. You just need to remember it’s all worth it, once you accomplish what you’ve set out to achieve. You can’t become successful if you quit.  And you don’t want to have any regrets about “what could’ve happened” if you don’t try.

S: See, you guys!? She's brilliant. Listen to her.

Alright, Rose. I'll let you go, but before I do, you must know I’m dying to get a peek at what you’re working on now. Can you share?

R: I’m finished with the deadlines for my next book, The Ungrateful Dead (the 2nd book to I Text Dead People), which comes out September 13, 2016. I’m taking this time to now work on several works in progress, including a picture book and a chapter book. I would also love to complete a graphic novel for young readers.  So while nothing is definite yet, I hope to have something new to bring readers soon!

S: I sincerely hope so too! THANK YOU so much for visiting with us Rose!!! Coffee soon, alright?

AND YOU ALL! My lovely teen writers. To celebrate our Friday with Rose, we're giving away her spooky and delightful middle grade novel, I Text Dead People.  

You guys, she did these illustrations HERSELF. How amazing is that? You want this book. So, use the Rafflecopter below and enter. The giveaway will run until next Thursday when I'll draw a name to be announced on Friday.

And please check out Rose's work. You can find her all over the web. 

Twitter: @RoseCooper

 Happy reading, everyone! Write on!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

36 comments:

  1. I love these chats. I enjoy drawing (mostly horses though) and I've often done concept art for my stories. I love doing it, but I probaly wouldn't share it with anyone but friends and family.
    Your book sounds great. (That title is a great hook!) And it's so cool that you illustrate your work. :)

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    1. That's awesome!!! I like drawing horses and concept art to :)

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    2. I am so jealous that you can draw horses! I struggle with stick people.

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    3. Thanks! Concept art is great...I know how sharing your work with the public can be so intimidating! I use to be the same way.

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  2. Thanks for this awesome post!!! I love drawing/painting, it's probably my biggest hobby after writing. I'm not really sure if my art is good enough or consistent enough for illustrating, but I try to practice often. I've been thinking about trying a children's book :)

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    1. Do it! Trying leads to awesome things.

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    2. Shannon is right...try it! You'll never know otherwise. We are our own biggest critics of our work, so don't let that stand in your way. And practicing is a great habit to have :)

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    3. Thanks for the support :) I want to make a knights and castles book for my little brother, that won't give him nightmares, or be to long for his attention span

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    4. Do it! Trying leads to awesome things.

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  3. I'm definitely putting your book on my reading list! That is so amazing that you were able to get published and illustrate your own book! Does it happen very often where the author gets to illustrate their own book?

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    1. I don't know the stats on this, but, while it certainly does happen, it's not often. Usually books have a writer and an illustrator.

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    2. Thank you!! I have noticed there are more author/illustrators than before and more agents are representing them too. Maybe this will become a growing trend?

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  4. Thanks so much for stopping by GTW, Mrs. Cooper! I love drawing scenes in my books, but I wouldn't want anyone else other than me to ever see them. :P

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    1. Thank you! I know that feeling...I had a freakout moment when I realized people would see my drawings. I also felt that way about my writing :)

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  5. Your book sounds so awesome! And the fact that you get to illustrate it as well as write it is incredible.

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    1. Thank you, Lexi! I feel so grateful being able to do both!

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  6. I don't illustrate my books, but I do love drawing, and I draw my characters all the time. YA books aren't usually illustrated though, are they?
    Your book sounds so funny!

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    1. Rose's book is considered Middle Grade, but you're right, not all of them are illustrated. It's awesome when publishers think outside the box.

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    2. More publishers are wanting books illustrated, even YA. It's not very common for YA but I bet it's heading in that direction! I Text Dead People is considered "older MG" so they wanted fewer drawings in this series. My Blotastic series is younger MG and half the book is illustrated.

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    3. Awesome! Illustrating my own books sounds so fun.

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    4. Rose's book is considered Middle Grade, but you're right, not all of them are illustrated. It's awesome when publishers think outside the box.

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  7. I haven't been a teen in a LONG time but I so love this blog.

    Rose, you are an inspiration!

    Thank you for sharing.

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  8. A Determined WriterApril 29, 2016 at 2:26 PM

    Sounds like a fun book! I'll enter. :)

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  9. I Text Dead People sounds like an amazing book. I totally want to read it!

    K.A.C.

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  10. Hey, any ideas as to how to stay inspired? What do you do to keep yourself excited about your project? I have real issues sticking to anything because any excitement I have tends to fizzle quickly. ~Melody

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  11. As an artist and writer, I have considered illustration my own books... I'm not sure my style of writing an drawing fit well together, though. I write young adult fantasy/sci-fi and draw mostly realism portraits from my imagination... Maybe I could put pictures of my characters at the beginning of my books?

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  12. Hey, Rose! I have a question for you. How did you get into illustrating your own books? I like to draw, but I heard it's difficult to be able to illustrate you own stories. Usually companies hire an illustrator. Any advice? Thank you!

    storitorigrace.blogspot.com

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