I interviewed Della with my top five questions.
1. What was your best source of inspiration that led to a picture book?
Thanks for inviting me to your blog, Val. That's a fun question because my best sources of inspiration are my kids! The funny or quirky things they do and say often spark my creativity.
My 2019 picture book, BEEP! BEEP! SPECIAL DELIVERY, features an adventurous little boy who drives his truck on an imaginative journey. This story was absolutely based on my son when he was a toddler. He was truck obsessed, always zipping and zooming his little truck around the house or backyard.
My 2019 board book, HUGGLE WUGGLE, BEDTIME SNUGGLE, highlights the sweet relationship between a father and daughter which definitely mirrored our own bedtime silliness. Now that my own kids are older, I find inspiration in reading stories or freewriting or sometimes an idea just pops into my head out of nowhere -- in the shower, taking a walk or driving to work.
My latest book, GOD BLESSES ME, came to me on a day where I was overflowing with gratitude and feeling blessed about the big and little things in my life.
2. We hear frequently that a serious writer should have their butt in the chair for eight hours every day. What is your writing schedule like? Do you feel guilty when you write less?
As a full-time teacher, it's challenging to squeeze in writing time. I work in short bursts, mainly at night or on weekends, and can only put eight hours of butt in chair in July and August. I try not to feel guilty, except, of course, when I piddle away too much time on social media or watching TV. I have to work on that! A bit of fun news is that I attended my first writing retreat in the fall. I can't wait to get away again to focus on my creativity.
3. As a writer, what have you learned through experience that you did not learn through books or outside sources, if any?
Writing for children is certainly an on-going journey. I continue to grow and develop as a writer and have drawn from many sources over the years -- books, classes, webinars, editor critiques, agent feedback and writing groups. One thing experience has taught me is patience -- patience to keep working on a story, layer by layer, word by word, and most importantly, patience to let a story sit for a while so I can pull it out and look again with fresh eyes. Experience has also taught patience with myself -- patience in accepting that story problems and writing challenges are par for the course, and that solutions will bubble up with time.
4. Were there disappointments with any of your books? Projects canceled or editors left and projects abandoned?
Several manuscripts have come really close, but the biggest disappointment was when a certain picture book was on the verge of an acceptance and the publisher changed their mind. I was so bummed. The silver lining, however, is the editor who was gunning for the story asked if I would be interested in connecting with an agent in the hopes that the manuscripts could be shopped for a new home.I'm incredibly grateful for that referral as it ultimately landed me my agent! As for that picture book manuscript? I'm converting it to a beginning reader chapter book/graphic novel. That's another thing I've learned from experience -- never give up!
We have board books, picture books and chapter books on submission. Although, it's too early to know if an offer is coming in, there is editorial interest on a couple manuscripts so hopefully good news is forthcoming.
This was a fun interview, Val. Thanks for featuring me on your blog!
In 2019, Della had three children's books published: PRECIOUS BABY, a sweet board book for new parents to share with their baby; BEEP! BEEP! SPECIAL DELIVERY, an action-packed picture book for truck-loving kids; and HUGGLE WUGGLE, BEDTIME SNUGGLE, a playful daddy-daughter bedtime board book. In addition, her stories and poems have appeared in 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 and conferences.
Della lives in Hyde Park, NY. She is married with three children and two guinea pigs. Besides writing and teaching, Della enjoys reading, movies, traveling, disc golf, leisurely walks and cheering for her family at running races, basketball and baseball games.
For more information about Della, visit her website: www.dellarossferreri.com