Now that the weather is getting cooler, it’s time for more snuggles and cuddles! So, today, I’ve asked Della Ross Ferreri to share about her new board book Huggle Wuggle, Bedtime Snuggle. Della has generously offered to share a copy Huggle Wuggle, Bedtime Snuggle with one lucky reader. Make sure to stay tuned till the end to find out how to get yourself entered into the GIVEAWAY.
Bio – Della Ross Ferreri is a French teacher and children’s writer. She is the author of picture books, board books and easy readers. Her stories and poems have appeared in children’s magazines such as Highlights High Five, Highlights Hello, Ladybug, Babybug and Clubhouse Jr. As a co-founder of CWHV – Children’s Writers of the Hudson Valley – she helps organize local writing workshops. Della lives in New York with her husband, three children and two guinea pigs. Besides writing and teaching, Della enjoys reading, traveling, movies, leisurely walks and cheering for her family at running races, and basketball and baseball games. Della is represented by Emma Sector at Prospect Agency.
Her latest book, HUGGLE WUGGLE, BEDTIME SNUGGLE, was published this fall by Beaming Books. This father and daughter’s goofy antics and sweet interactions will inspire all families to put a little fun into the bedtime routine!
Her other books published this year are PRECIOUS BABY (Beaming Books) and BEEP! BEEP! SPECIAL DELIVERY (Clear Fork/Spork.)
Kaitlyn: For those of you that don’t know, Della is one of my amazing critique partners who asked me to join her group. That group is where I met Annemarie Riley Guertin who helped me get my agent! Della and I swear we share the same brain sometimes and always push each other to make our stories better! Ok, enough happy gushing! Della, thanks for joining me today on the Math is Everywhere blog!
Della: Thanks for having me, Kaitlyn!
Kaitlyn: It’s my pleasure, Della! To start, I have to know, you just released your 7th book into the world last month, with no signs of stopping, can you share with our readers your journey to get where you are?
Della: I began the journey of writing for publication when my own children were young. Countless trips to the library and piles of picture books rekindled my love of writing and children’s books. I joined SCBWI, took a writing class through the Institute of Children’s Literature, attended conferences, and found a fun and supportive critique group. My first writing successes were short pieces in children’s magazines – poems, crafts and short stories. Those early acceptances were validating and motivated me to persist until my first book acceptance. Fast forward to today, where I juggle writing with teaching and family – and yes, my seventh book!
Kaitlyn: That’s the dream, Della! Can you share a bit about Huggle Wuggle’s journey from idea to publication?
Della: HUGGLE WUGGLE, BEDTIME SNUGGLE started out as a short poem way back in 2006 until I eventually expanded it into a book manuscript. I came up with the opening line ‘Huggle wuggle, bedtime snuggle / cuddle up with me,’ then made lists of rhyming words – ‘wiggle, jiggle, giggle’ and ‘floppy, loppy, hoppy’ and ‘funky, monkey, spunky’ etc and kept playing with the manuscript and getting feedback from my critique group, then more playing and revising. It came close with many publishers and fortunately for me, Beaming Books published it with the talented Mette Engell as the illustrator. Mette did an amazing job bringing my daddy-daughter bedtime story to life.
Kaitlyn: Wow, that’s awesome! Some stories take time, and I agree, Mette’s playful and vibrant illustrations fit perfectly with your fun words! All your stories are like this one, so adorable and creative, how do you come up with book ideas?
Della: Aw, you’re so sweet! I’d say ideas come from everywhere – from my own kids, reading, and sometimes they just pop into my head. I jot down ideas in my phone or on scraps of paper from my purse, and keep an idea folder on my computer. I try to come up with basic outlines or possible ‘moments’ to see if the story feels workable. For pieces that seem best told in rhyme, I use an online rhyming dictionary like rhymezone.com to make lists of rhyming words and expressions that might contribute. Of course, with help from my critique groups and many many revisions, my stories take a zig zag journey as they evolve. Naturally, I have many ideas that fizzle out along the way, but every once in a while, I revisit these ideas to see if I could rework them.
Kaitlyn: I LOLed at the scraps of paper in your purse; love that image! It’s such a writer’s way, get it down, no matter where. I’m so glad you revisited Huggle, I bet it was inspired by your own bedtime rituals with your family. Speaking of which, I know your family is very supportive of you, can you share some things they do that help you become a better writer?
Della: You’re absolutely right! My husband and family know that my writing time is important to me. They support me by giving me time and space when I need it. My kids will often read my drafts or help me brainstorm and give feedback along the way.
Kaitlyn: That’s wonderful that your family respects your writing time and even helps with it! Do you think you can help other writers by sharing the best ways you’ve found to get the word out about your book?
Della: Getting the word out can be challenging. Thankfully, I have wonderful friends and family who buy my books for themselves or as gifts, or recommend my books to their local library and/or share my good news on Facebook, etc.
I’m also fortunate to be a part of SeenIn19, a group of authors and illustrators with books released this year. We support each other by celebrating book birthdays, sharing and retweeting posts, writing reviews and participating in book giveaways.
As much as possible, I participate in book fairs, festivals, farmers markets, and do author visits at libraries and schools. It’s so fun to read my stories and do action rhymes with little ones!
Kaitlyn: With all your wonderful experience, can you give some insight into what goes on after the contract is signed – working with editors, artist, marketing etc.?
Della: Once contract terms are agreed upon and revisions are accepted, the next big moment is finding out who the illustrator will be. I love scouring their website, reading their books and discovering their artistic style. I always appreciate when the editors share illustrations and ask for my thoughts.
Marketing varies from one publisher to another, but most have given me a timeline with key dates leading up to publication. This might include when to do a ‘cover reveal,’ and ways to network and get the word out.
Kaitlyn: Oh that sounds so exciting! I love that you get the books from the artists who will do the illustrations for your book, that’s so thoughtful! Okay, now, if you had to pick one thing that’s your favorite thing about writing, what would it be and why (oka. ..top 3?🤣)
Della: Oh that’s easy – critique groups! First of all, they’re vital to bringing out the best in a story. And we have so much fun together. I love meeting with my in-person group – usually over food and wine! We have a great time picking apart stories and talking all things kidlit. This same in-person group is my fellow CWHV group – Children’s Writers of the Hudson Valley. We organize hands-on writing conferences and workshops in NY. If you’re interested, here’s the website: http://www.cwhv.org/
My online CPs (Kaitlyn included!) are awesome, too. They offer daily doses of fun and support!
Another awesome thing about writing is when an idea finally clicks – and sometimes it’s when you least expect it. Maybe the right word comes to you in the shower. Or maybe you figure out the right story ending on your way to work. Or how you think of a funny line when laying in bed.
And of course, last but not least, a favorite part of writing is that day when you get your author copies in the mail – it’s an amazing feeling!
Kaitlyn: Those are all awesome (and thank you; you’re so awesome and fun to work with as well!) So what’s next on the horizon? Can you share what’s in the pipeline?
Della: Thanks for asking! I’m excited to announce my first novelty book, a lift-the-flap board book called GOD BLESSES ME, coming out in March 2020. It’s a sweet story to help children recognize the blessings in their day-to-day lives.
Kaitlyn: I cannot wait for that one! It’s one of the first books I get to say, I got to read it before it was out 😉 Finally, if you could spend the day with your favorite author, would you rather go outside and fly a kite or sit by a fire with tea?
Della: A cup of tea by the fire with JK Rowling! Wouldn’t it be fun to pick her brain about all the Harry Potter characters!?
YES! If it happens, invite me too!! Thank you so much for joining me today, Della! My favorite math from this interview is 7, lucky seven books in print, congrats, can’t wait for the next one to come out, too!
Before the giveaway details, here’s my review of Huggle Wuggle, Bedtime Snuggle:
This adorable board book is such a fun rendition of bedtime playtime with Daddy! I think parents and kids alike will have a blast with these incredibly fun word choices and great images; it’s definitely going to be a bedtime favorite for many kids. –Kaitlyn Leann Sanchez
GIVEAWAY info (U.S. only): to be entered into the random drawing to get a SIGNED copy of Huggle Wuggle, Bedtime Snuggle:
- Comment on this blog post; we’d love to hear about your bedtime fun with your kids or that you remember as a kid.
- For an extra entry, retweet the tweet on Kaitlyn’s twitter about this blog post
- For an extra extra entry, request your library buy the book and let us know in the comments that you did so!
I hope you all enjoyed this interview as much as I did!
Kaitlyn Leann Sanchez