Hello again, Picture Book-Loving Friends!
I’m so happy to announce today’s Tuesday Debut: Danielle Dufayet and her beautiful and important book, You Are Your Strong!
I always say that picture books are about big emotion for little people (a quote I heard somewhere and can never remember who to attribute it to! but it’s so true.) Danielle’s book takes that quite literally. It is all about showing children how to manage some of their more negative emotions – fear, sadness, worry, anger – when they threaten to become overwhelming. I think all of us – even adults – can benefit from a little help in that department. We all struggle sometimes.
And as writers and artists who, some might argue, face more than the average amount of rejection… 🙂 we can all benefit from finding and embracing our strong!
You Are Your Strong
Written by Danielle Dufayet
Illustrated by Jennifer Zivoin
March 19, 2019
YAYS: Finding your inner strength to manage big emotions.
You Are Your Strong reassures kids that they can handle big emotions and highlights the benefit of developing inner strength and confidence in oneself.
Susanna: Where did your idea come from for You Are Your Strong?
Danielle: The idea came from: three things: Leaving an unhealthy marriage, being asked what keeps me so strong and, watching the movie Room, where 5 year old Jack (held hostage with his mom in a room) said that he didn’t want his mom to cut his long hair because his hair was his strong. It gave him strength and courage. I thought that was beautiful. It made me want to know what my strong is and other people’s strong. I knew I had a book!
Susanna: How long did it take you to write?
Danielle: This manuscript was written fairly quickly. I’d say maybe 6 months from start to final ms. – which is not typical!
Susanna: Did this manuscript require many revisions?
Danielle: Maybe around 15 or so – not my usual 30 or more.
Susanna: When did you know it was ready for submission?
Danielle: I knew it was ready when I had reduced it to the simplest expression I could, and when I had included as many literary devices as necessary for the flow and rhythm. It’s also an internal knowing, an intuition.
Susanna: How did you celebrate getting the contract?
Danielle: I couldn’t stop smiling for a week. I celebrated with a nice dinner!
Susanna: What was the editorial process like?
Danielle: The editing process went so smoothly. My publisher didn’t want to change hardly anything, so that made it easy. We went a little back and forth on the illustrations, however. Magination Press is a dream publisher in my opinion!
Susanna: Is there anything else you’d like to share about your journey to publication?
Danielle: I believe in order to be a published author, you have to be disciplined. I knew I had to keep revising, keep submitting, and knowing I would probably get rejected. You have to want it more than anything. You have to push through the doubt and fear and keep moving forward through honing your craft, building relationships, critiquing, reading, etc. etc.
To improve your writing you have to have a thick skin. You have to read your critiques (assuming you’re in a good critique group!) with an open mind. There’s usually always a nugget of truth to ponder –even if you don’t agree with the comment. But, if the feedback doesn’t resonate at all with you, brush it off. Remember, only you can write the story – don’t let the critique derail you from finding it! Stay true to your vision.
The one thing everyone can expect is rejection and that’s the hardest part of the process. Your story may be rejected even if it’s really good –it just may not be the right fit for that publication. You have to discipline your mind to stay on course and remain positive and hopeful that one day your time will come.
I think the one lesson I can impart is this: don’t compare yourself and your journey with anyone else. I used to get mad when I saw a published picture book that I thought was poorly written. I would think to myself, How did this get published and not my book? Or I’d get discouraged when I’d read a really good picture book. I’d think, I’ll never be that good. All these thoughts are irrelevant, distracting and emotionally draining. I finally learned that all I can do is be the best writer I can be and focus only on that! (That’s not to say mentor texts aren’t the bomb!)
Susanna: Thank you so much for joining us today, Danielle! We all so appreciate you sharing your knowledge and expertise with us!
Danielle: Thank you so much for the interview, Susanna!!
Art Website: https://www.danielledufayet.com
Readers, if you have questions for Danielle, please post them in the comments below and if she has time I’m sure she’ll respond!
You may purchase Danielle’s book at:
(all links below are book-specific)
We can help our debut authors successfully launch their careers by:
– purchasing their books
– recommending their books to friends and family
– recommending their books to our children’s teachers and librarians
– recommending their books to our local libraries and bookstores
– sharing their books on social media
Thank you all for stopping by to read today! Have a lovely, inspiration-filled Tuesday! Maybe today is the day you’ll write your debut picture book 🙂
Missed any previous Tuesday Debuts? Check them out!