Yee haw! It’s Tuesday! And you know what that means!
Time to meet another brand new author and find out how she navigated the path to publication!
Today I’m happy to introduce Nadine Poper and her funny informational-fiction sea story, RANDALL AND RANDALL!
RANDALL AND RANDALL
written by Nadine Poper
illustrated by Polina Gortman
published by Blue Whale Press
release date Oct. 1, 2019
fiction picture book, ages 4-8
This very funny informational-fiction story about one of the sea’s naturally-existent odd couples illustrates how certain species depend upon their symbiotic relationship for survival.
SUSANNA: Welcome, Nadine! And thank you so much for coming to share your book journey with us today! Where did the idea for this book come from?
NADINE: The idea for RANDALL AND RANDALL came while researching unusual animal relationships ( I actually Googled ‘unusual animals relationships’, I think). When I saw that a specific species of goby fish and snapping shrimp have this symbiotic relationship, a light bulb went on. I said to myself, “There is a story here! I don’t know exactly what yet, but there is a story here.”
SUSANNA: How long did it take you to write this book?
NADINE: Writing this story didn’t take too long. The more I researched these two animals and their natural relationship, the idea for their friendship (and their slight moment of animosity) formed rather quickly. Their true behaviors in the ocean were so comical to me that the plot just rolled out.
SUSANNA: Did you go through many revisions?
NADINE: RANDALL AND RANDALL didn’t go through a ton of revisions. I was pretty satisfied from the beginning with the overall storyline that came out of my head. The Spanish language needed to be tweaked often because I knew I wasn’t going to get it correct right away. That was probably where I spent most of my revision time, on the Spanish.
SUSANNA: When did you know your manuscript was ready for submission?
NADINE: I had taken it to my critique groups at least twice. I wasn’t getting a lot of advice or feedback that was major. t just felt that it was ready to submit.
SUSANNA: When and how did you submit?
NADINE: RANDALL AND RANDALL is not the manuscript I queried to the editor Alayne Christian at Blue Whale initially. I had queried her with my book that is coming out November 1 titled PORCUPETTE AND MOPPET. It just so happens that R&R is coming out first. I do not have an agent but at the time I queried Blue Whale, I had queries out to agents. I saw that Blue Whale was looking to grow their list and I felt that PORCUPETTE AND MOPPET was what they were looking for.
SUSANNA: When did you get “the call”? (Best moment ever! 🙂 )
NADINE: I received an email from Alayne two days after submitting saying that she would like to talk to me about it and when would be a good time. We arranged a call for two days after that email. I was offered a contract for it. I didn’t accept immediately since the manuscript was out to agents, one of which expressed interest as well. As the industry expectation and out of courtesy, I had contacted that agent to let her know of Blue Whale’s offer. After about two weeks, I had made my decision to sign with Blue Whale. During that time, I had sent Alayne RANDALL AND RANDALL, which she also wanted to sign. I was just beyond thrilled at this point!
SUSANNA: How did you celebrate signing your contract? (If you care to share J)
NADINE: Honestly, I don’t think I did anything! How boring, right? I should have made one of your amazing chocolate recipes Susanna from Would You Read It Wednesdays and celebrated with that!
SUSANNA: Was the contract what you expected in terms of advance, royalty percentage, publication timeline, author copies etc.?
NADINE: I didn’t have any experience with contracts so I wasn’t completely sure of what was acceptable, but it turns out that yes, the contract was extremely fair and is pretty much right on target with what I hear about other authors’ deals. Since I submitted right to a publishing house and without an agent, my royalties are slightly higher.
SUSANNA: Tell us a little bit about the editorial process?
NADINE: There weren’t too many big changes to the manuscript. Alayne had suggested some areas needed clarification since the one Randall is singing and then he goes into spotting a predator. The way I had it written, it seemed as if Randall was still singing when he wasn’t. The ending is stronger too because of a suggestion Alayne had made.
SUSANNA: What can you tell us about your experience of the illustration process?
NADINE: Aren’t the illustrations just so awesome?? From the beginning, Alayne had sent me a list of illustrators she had come across and whose worked she liked. I was encouraged to look at all their online portfolios and share my thoughts with her. We then agreed on Polina. I can’t quite pinpoint why I was drawn to Polina’s art, but that it just felt that my Randalls would be in good hands with her. I saw proofs and sketches along the way. I didn’t really have my own vision of what the characters or the setting was to look like. Polina’s attention to detail in the undersea world she created is impressively meticulous. That part I never imaged. As far as art notes, looking back, I think the copy I sent initially may have had one or two about the animals that the goby Randall was calling predators. I realize now that they weren’t necessary. So, no. I don’t think I had art notes.
SUSANNA: Did you get to see advance reviews from Kirkus, SLJ, etc? What was that like?
NADINE: Yes. Kirkus actually awarded RANDALL AND RANDALL a blue star. That was thrilling.
SUSANNA: How long did it take from offer to having the first copy in your hand?
NADINE: The offer came April of 2018 and real copies will be available October 1, 2019. So 18 months from query to release.
SUSANNA: What kind of marketing and promotion has your publisher done for this book?
NADINE: Blue Whale has created a book trailer and has sent the book out for reviews. Alayne is busy on social media too.
SUSANNA: How long was it between the time you started writing seriously and the time you sold your first picture book?
NADINE: Well, I started writing seriously in 2013 so about 5 years.
SUSANNA: Thank you so much for taking the time to participate in this series and paying it forward to other writers, Nadine! We so appreciate everything you shared with us today and wish you the very best with RANDALL AND RANDALL and your forthcoming PORCUPETTE AND MOPPET!
PORCUPETTE AND MOPPET 2019
RANDALL AND RANDALL 2019
“A clever introduction to a scientific concept with an accessible moral.”-Kirkus
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Readers, if you have questions for Nadine, please post them in the comments below and if she has time I’m sure she’ll respond!
You may purchase Nadine’s book at:
(all links below are book-specific)
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– purchasing their books
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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!