The Backstory: I MISS YOUR SUNNY SMILE
It's a double feature week and kicking us off today is the incredible Deb Adamson. Deb is the author of the forthcoming I MISS YOUR SUNNY SMILE (Blue Manatee Press), illustrated by Anne Zimanski and releasing March 23, 2021. Read on to learn all about what inspires Deb!
Welcome to The Backstory and thank you for joining us and sharing the inspiration behind I MISS YOUR SUNNY SMILE.
First off, please tell us a little bit about your story.
I miss your sunny smile. How'd you lose it? Where'd it go? Let's go searching for a while." Having a bad day is never fun, but it can be especially difficult for young children to understand that sad feelings are temporary. Through gentle rhymes and warm illustrations, we see a mother helping her son find his smile again. I Miss Your Sunny Smile is an introduction to learning emotional intelligence for the very young ages (0-4)
"Sad feelings are temporary" is such a wonderful way of phrasing this concept. For our littlest ones who feel their feelings so strong at times, this is a powerful message.
What’s the story behind the story? What was your inspiration? Where did the idea come from?
My inspiration for this story came out of being a mom. When my son was a toddler he had the occasional bad day and it was up to me to guide him and help him understand that bad days come and bad days go. (I think it is worth noting that I wrote it for children who are simply having a rough patch and not those who are more seriously and chronically, emotionally-suffering.) I’ve always had an interest in adult self-help books, so I’d say this is my stab at writing one for the littlest audience!
Such an important lesson for young kids to learn and what an asset your book is to adults who are helping children through these emotions. I also love Anne Zimanski's illustration style in this book. It is so inviting!
How did you approach going from this seed of an idea to what is now I MISS YOUR SUNNY SMILE? Was it something undeniable you had to write immediately or did you need to sit with this idea and let it grow for a while before it found its way to the page?
Like most of the manuscripts I attempt to write, this one simmered for a while. I never sit right down and pound out perfect prose. My ideas need time and many scraps of paper to grow in concept and development. It was originally written as a picture book but was edited to a board book which seemed like a more appropriate age for the message.
Where do you tend to find your inspiration or your sparks for ideas?
Ideas come to me all the time! I text them to myself and then write them in an idea notebook. I revisit them and continue to brainstorm until I am ready to write. Many of my ideas come from news and science articles I’ve read. I worked formerly as a journalist and also at an aquarium for many years, so I think they both color my thoughts remain innate interests.
Ideas seem to strike from nowhere and can be gone just as fast. I love that you text them to yourself to avoid any slipping away. I am also jealous of your job at an aquarium. I can only imagine the number of ideas that could come from working in such an environment.
What authors have been the most inspirational/impactful on your writing?
Authors who have influenced me are Dr. Seuss, Doreen Cronin, Adam Rex, Aaron Reynolds, Shel Silverstein, Cynthia Rylant, Roald Dahl, Kate Dicamillo.
That is an impressive lineup of inspiration! I bet most writers would share a few of these on their own lists of inspiration. Roald Dahl is a personal favorite of mine and I regularly reread his works.
What are the must haves for your workspace? Tools? Inspiration? Reference materials?
Must haves for my workspace include my cat Lumpy. He’s a constant and quiet writing companion. I also need a good rhyming dictionary nearby and a copy of the inspirational writer’s book, Walking on Alligators to inspire me when I feel like throwing in the towel.
Any inspirational words of advice for aspiring authors?
The only inspiration I have for other writers is to repeat the overly-used phrase, “Never give up.” Read and write all the time. Hone your craft and only pitch your work when you know you cannot possibly edit it more. If in fact you put in the hard work I do believe someone will connect with your writing and eventually publish it. But chances are great it will take far longer than you ever expected. Grow a thicker skin and plan to be in the game for the long haul. And above all, enjoy the writing process and creative outlet!
Super advice! My favorite is the planning to be in it for the long haul. Publishing can be so slow and each step along the way seems to come with its fair shair of wait time. While some aspects may come quickly, aspiring authors should be prepared for it to take a while.
Do you have any upcoming projects or news you would like to share with us?
I have four books coming out over the next year!
I Miss Your Sunny Smile- Blue Manatee Press March 2021
Bing Bang Pling, Now We Swing—Blue Manatee Press, summer 2021
A Christmas Eve Wish For Santa- Blue Manatee Press, fall 2021
Scott Joplin’s Maple Leaf Rag- Starbright Books, spring 2022
Four books in a year is incredible! Huge congrats to you! I will be keeping my eye out for your upcoming books and who knows, maybe we will get to learn the backstory behind those in the future.
Thank you so much Deb for joining us! I loved getting to know more about the inspiration for I Miss Your Sunny Smile and about your creative process.
Readers be sure to check out Deb Adamson's I Miss Your Sunny Smile, illustrated by Anne Zimanski, coming out March 23, 2021, and be on the lookout for her other three forthcoming books.
Deb is generously offering a copy of I Miss Your Sunny Smile to one lucky winner following its release on 3/23.
Ways to enter:
1. Retweet my tweet about this blog post. Additional entry for tagging friends!
2. Leave a comment on this post.
3. Post about this interview on FB/Instagram and tell me in the comments that you did.
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ABOUT DEB ADAMSON
Deb Adamson writes children’s books that can be silly, sweet and often a combination of both.
She lives in Connecticut with her husband, son, and orange cat extraordinaire, Lumpy.
After I Miss Your Sunny Smile is released this month, Deb has three picture books coming out over the next year!
Bing, Bang, Pling, Now We Swing, fall 2021- Blue Manatee Press
A Christmas Eve Wish For Santa, December 2021- Blue Manatee Press
Scott Joplin’s Maple Leaf Rag, spring 2022- Starbright Books
ABOUT ANNE ZIMANSKI
Anne Zimanski is a freelance illustrator, with a passion for all things creative! Since earning her BFA in Illustration from Kendall College of Art & Design, she has illustrated dozens of children’s books and works on a wide range of projects and artistic endeavors. Anne resides in Michigan with her husband and pets, and when not working she loves to travel and explore new places.
Facebook: Anne Zimanski Illustration
ABOUT ANDREW HACKET
Andrew’s background of being surrounded by children, both at work and at home, has been a treasure trove of inspiration.
A nature lover, Andrew can be found exploring the woods of Massachusetts with his wife and three kids.
While often witty and imaginative, Andrew’s stories can also delve into the more serious and emotional topics that children can experience.
Andrew is represented by Dan Cramer of Flannery Literary.