Hi Math is Everywhere readers,
I’m so excited to have one of my favorite author-illustrators here today to share about her debut picture book The Big Sibling Getaway: Korrie Leer! She just recently received her arcs and you lucky readers have a chance to win a copy!
Kaitlyn: Hi Korrie thanks for joining us today!
Korrie: Hi Kaitlyn, thanks for having me!
Kaitlyn: Anytime; I’m so excited to talk about your book and your publication journey. To start off, how did you become an author-illustrator of picture books?
Korrie: Well, I went to college to become a teacher. I’ve always loved school and kids! While working towards my degree, I took a lot of children’s literature classes. (My favorite!) One of my professors encouraged me to pursue writing for children. I always enjoyed painting and drawing, but I never really considered making books as a real option until then. Once I graduated, I started learning all I could about the Picture Book world and got to work!
Kaitlyn: What an amazing professor. I hope you send him or her a copy of this awesome book! This is your first book and it’s so beautiful and imaginative. One of my favorite things about it is your super clever puns, did those come naturally or after the fact?
Korrie: No actually! The first draft of my book was totally boring! I focused mainly on getting the story down, the beginning, middle, and end. It was only during the rewriting process that I was like ‘wait, there’s a more fun way to say this!”
The original and final spreads for one of Korrie’s wonderful puns.
Kaitlyn: I totally admire how you can plot that out. You just got your first set of book arcs of The Big Sibling Getaway, what was that experience like?
Korrie: Um, AMAZING! Writing a book is such an abstract thing, it’s hard to imagine actually holding it in your hands one day. Getting the first set of book arcs really made me feel like my hard work paid off.
Kaitlyn: What a wonderful feeling! What’s your favorite thing about being an author-illustrator?
Korrie: There’s so much I enjoy it’s hard to pick a favorite, but I can list a few! I love imagining situations that could be turned into a story and how there is no limit for how silly they can be! I love when I’ve been struggling on how to make something work, and the way to fix it finally comes to me – like solving a puzzle! I love sketching the illustrations for the first time and seeing my story come to life through pictures. And finally I love sharing my stories with children, usually the kids I babysit!
Kaitlyn: Yes! Those aha moments are just the best! What’s the most challenging thing about being an author-illustrator?
Korrie: Ugh, there are also a few of these! When I realize an idea isn’t strong enough to be a full story and I have to give it up. When I realize a story I have written needs a major rewrite- and I know it’s going to be long, hard work. And finally, when I have a certain idea about what my illustrations will look like – and I just can’t seem to get them right! All of these are challenging, but overcoming them makes getting the final book right so worth it!
Kaitlyn: I love that you see the hardships as a challenge to overcome, what a beautiful way of seeing them. Can you share how you found/landed your agent?
Korrie: Sure! So, like many others I’ve talked to in the writing community, I definitely made the mistake of querying too early. What I was submitting just wasn’t strong enough and I was only getting form rejections. I knew I had some learning to do, so I attended the NJ SCBWI’s summer conference. I learned SO MUCH there. I came home from the conference and made me query stronger, my writing stronger, and my illustrations stronger. When I felt everything was good to go, I queried several agents from the list given to the attendees of the conference.
This time, I didn’t receive a single form rejection! And my current agent, Samantha Wekstein, gave me some edits to work on and later offered me representation. I even had another agent interested.. In the end I picked Samantha, she’s the best!
Kaitlyn: Wow, you rocked it, and continue to as well! What advice can you share with writers and illustrators on this journey to publication?
Korrie: Read, read, read! Read books similar to what you’re working on, but also look into books outside your comfort zone, you never know what you’ll draw inspiration from. Also, if you’re having trouble gathering information on your own – sign up for a conference! It can be pricey and a time commitment, but the investment in yourself is so worth it!
Kaitlyn: Such great advice, especially different books than you’d think–it can be so amazing to get out of your comfort zone and realize there is something else magical out there that you can do well with. Can you share what’s next for you?
Korrie: Of course! Right now, I’m working on my illustrations for my 2nd book, coming out Fall 2021. It’s fun to be doing this for the second time, I’m a little more comfortable and know what to expect. – I’m also finishing up my dummy for what I hope will be my third book. It’s one I’m especially excited for!
Kaitlyn: Eee! I can’t wait to see those! Finally, if you were able to spend the day with your favorite author or illustrator, would you rather drink tea by the fireside or go fly a kite?
Korrie: Hmmmm. I think I would rather drink tea by the fireside. Via twitter, Dan Santat seems hilarious .. and I wouldn’t want to miss any conversation while running around with a kite! lol
Kaitlyn: Haha that’s so awesome. Dan Santat does seem fantastic! Please invite me if this meet-up ever happens. Thank you so much for this delightful interview!
Korrie: You’re so welcome! (:
Book info and links for preorder
First came the boxes. Then the baby. Then the loud, nonstop crying! Desperate to get away, new big sister Cassie climbs into one of the empty boxes and sets off. She drives, she sails, and she soars…but she still hears whimpers. How far will Cassie have to go to finally get some peace and quiet? Perfect for families with new babies, this imaginative picture book lets big siblings escape–and makes them want to come back.
Korrie Leer is a picture book author and illustrator from San Francisco. She studied Elementary Education at The College of New Jersey. While in school, Korrie took a variety of children’s literature classes and was encouraged by a professor to pursue writing for children as a career. When she’s not writing or drawing, you can find her on the soccer field, in a coffee shop, or reading a book.
Kaitlyn’s Review of The Big Sibling Getaway
Korrie Leer has created a magical, humorous, and heartfelt book with absolutely delightful illustrations. Whether you have a sibling you’ve wanted to get away from (or a friend or a pet), everyone can relate to this desire to get away and the loneliness you can find when you get it, and even better, this story takes you on an epic imaginative adventure to find peace and has the sweetest ending you could ask for! A definite must for any library be it public, school, or home.
Would you like to win a copy of The Big Sibling Getaway (continental US only)
You have five ways to enter (each one will get you one entry into the drawing, so feel free to do all three!):
- Comment on this post
- Share in the comments below that you did a purchase request for The Big Sibling Getaway at your library
- Share in the comments below that you added The Big Sibling Getaway to your Goodreads “Want to read” list and/or your Amazon Wishlist
- Share in the comments that you pre-ordered a copy of The Big Sibling Getaway.
- Retweet my tweet about this blog post on Twitter (gold star if you tag Korrie)
Thanks so much, readers, for reading, sharing, and supporting authors in any way you can. Buy books, read, review, and share, share, share!
Kaitlyn Leann Sanchez
PS if you’re looking for some things to get your creative juices flowing, make sure to check out Spring Into Writing by Dani Duck and The Eenie Meeney Mini Writing Contest by Susanna Hill both happening NOW!