Tuesday Debut – Presenting Candace Spizzirri!

Hi Everyone!

Welcome back to Tuesday Debut!

Today’s debutess has a lovely book called FISHING WITH GRANDPA AND SKYE. I can’t wait to show it to you! You might recognize the illustrator too, since she was on Tuesday Debut a few weeks ago (Beverly Warren.) How fun is that?

So without further ado, I’m thrilled to present Candace Spizzirri! She has all kinds of helpful tidbits to share!

Author: Candace Spizzirri
Illustrator: Beverly Love Warren
Publishing House: Clear Fork Publishing/Spork imprint
Date of Publication: April 19, 2022
Fiction, Ages 3-8

Skye and Grandpa load up their tackle box, hop aboard their skiff, and chug out to their favorite fishing spot. Today, the sun is shining, the fish are jumping, but will Skye hook a big one?

SUSANNA: Welcome, Candace! Thank you so much for joining us today! We’re looking forward to all you have to share.! Where did the idea for this book come from?

CANDACE: Thanks so much, Susanna, for having me on your blog. It is a pleasure to be here! The idea for FISHING WITH GRANDPA AND SKYE came from my own childhood. My grandpa Henry and I loved to go fishing together. It was our special thing. This story is about the events of one particular day spent on the lake that is very dear to my heart. 

I often look to my own life as an idea generator. The spark for my second picture book, FINLEY; A MOOSE ON THE CABOOSE, was inspired by a trip to beautiful Alaska, where moose roam about freely. (and they’re so adorable!) 

SUSANNA: How long did it take you to write this book?

CANDACE: The rough draft of FISHING was written in a few hours one afternoon at my local library. I like to find a cozy corner in the quiet section, be alone with my thoughts, and just let the words flow naturally. But trust me, they’re not all gems on the first go around. I always attempt to write a new story in one sitting, try to turn off my internal “editor” and just get it all down. I have to admit, I’m a bit of a pantser, not a planner, when it comes to writing.

Candace’s favorite spot to write when it’s nice out

SUSANNA: Did you go through many revisions?

CANDACE: I don’t know exactly how many revisions there were for FISHING, but not as many as usual for me. The story follows the actual events of one particular day on the lake with my grandpa Henry, so it was fully formed from the beginning. It did require a lot of tightening/cutting of darlings and line/word edits.

I generally go through many revisions before I feel a manuscript is ready to submit. After I write a new story, I like to put it away for a week or two. Then I generally do a bit of revising and send it off to my critique partners.(I don’t know what I’d do without them!) After each has weighed in, I carefully consider all of their comments/suggestions while staying true to the vision for my story.

Candace’s writing buddy, Penelope 😊

SUSANNA: When did you know your manuscript was ready for submission?

CANDACE: My critique partners often tell me when they believe a manuscript is ready to go. Thanks, CPs! I also get a gut feeling that a story is finished. If the story arc is all there, the characters are developed, each line/word has been examined, and I’m happy with the beginning and ending. (endings are the hardest part for me) then, I submit and see what happens. It doesn’t mean there won’t be rejections…there are always rejections when you are a writer. It’s part of the process. Just keep going until you get your “yes”!

SUSANNA: When and how did you submit?

CANDACE: I submitted FISHING WITH GRANDPA AND SKYE directly to Callie Metler at Clear Fork Publishing in August of 2018. I was unagented and Clear Fork accepted unsolicited manuscripts.

SUSANNA: How long after you found out about your book going to acquisitions (if you did) or after you submitted were you told it was a “yes”?

CANDACE: FISHING WITH GRANDPA AND SKYE went to acquisitions in October 2018 and I had my YES in January 2019.

SUSANNA: When did you get “the call”, which these days is more likely to be “the email”?  (Best moment ever! ☺)

CANDACE: My “call” was an in person meeting. How exciting is that?! And yep, it was the best!

Callie Metler had a conference in Southern California in January 2019 just minutes from where I live. We arranged to meet for dinner. I was nervous, but she is so warm and friendly. I have to admit my eyes welled up when she said she loved my book and wanted to publish it. Woohoo! 

SUSANNA: How long was it between getting your offer and getting your contract to sign?

CANDACE: I had my YES in January 2019 and signed my contract in early February 2019. 

SUSANNA: How did you celebrate signing your contract?

CANDACE: My husband took a picture of me signing my contract to commemorate the occasion. We had a wonderful dinner and a glass of champagne. I celebrated with my kids and grandkids too. Cheers!

SUSANNA: Was the contract what you expected in terms of advance, royalty percentage, publication timeline, author copies etc.?

CANDACE: The contract was exactly what I expected from a small independent publisher.

SUSANNA: Can you tell us a little about the editorial process?

CANDACE: Much of the editing for FISHING happened prior to receiving my contract. The manuscript went to acquisitions in October 2018 and came back with notes/suggestions to revise and resubmit. At that point I worked with Callie Metler and freelance editor Lynne Marie, now Editorial Director at Clear Fork Publishing, on revisions prior to it going back to acquisitions in early December 2018.

I felt that Callie had a great vision for FISHING and really loved my “slice of life” book. After the illustrator, Beverly Love Warren, paginated the book, we did some additional edits based on page turns. Then, we made a couple of small text changes just before the book went to print. 

SUSANNA: What was your experience of the illustration process like?

CANDACE: Early in the process, Callie Metler shared art by a few illustrators and asked for my opinion. I was thrilled when she ultimately chose Beverly Love Warren to illustrate FISHING WITH GRANDPA AND SKYE! Callie showed me initial sketches and I loved the direction it was going. I also saw what would become the cover (oh my heart!) and spreads along the way. Bev did an amazing job and I couldn’t be happier with the result. I felt her style fit my story perfectly and she even had a few surprises, like the sweet little dog that accompanies Grandpa and Skye on their fishing trip. Oh, and I didn’t include any art notes in the manuscript for FISHING as I felt they were not necessary. 

text copyright Candace Spzzirri 2022, illustration copyright Beverly Love Warren 2022, Clear Fork
text copyright Candace Spzzirri 2022, illustration copyright Beverly Love Warren 2022, Clear Fork
text copyright Candace Spzzirri 2022, illustration copyright Beverly Love Warren 2022, Clear Fork

SUSANNA: Did you get to see advance reviews from Kirkus, SLJ, etc? What was that like?

CANDACE: I am waiting on reviews.

SUSANNA: How long did it take from offer to having the first copy in your hand?

CANDACE: Callie Metler at Clear Fork sent the contract for FISHING in early February 2019 and I held an advanced copy in my hands on March 14, 2022. I must admit, there were tears of joy!

SUSANNA: What kind of marketing and promotion has your publisher done for this book?

CANDACE: Clear Fork sent out FISHING to reviewers and did a promotion of their Spring releases. They also sent me high resolution cover art and a PDF version of my book so I could send it out for reviews as well. Clear Fork, Callie Metler, Beverly Love Warren, and I have worked together to market and promote FISHING.

SUSANNA: Describe any marketing/promotion you did for this book.

CANDACE: I belong to two awesome promotional groups @KidLitCollective and @PB22Peekaboo. They have been absolutely invaluable! We share about one another’s books on social media and support each other on this writing journey.

For FISHING, I scheduled an interview blog tour with book giveaways during April, May and June. I created bookmarks, stickers, and other swag. Beverly Love Warren made some fun coloring pages. I have a couple of appearances scheduled and an author visit to my niece’s second grade class.

SUSANNA: How long was it between the time you started writing seriously and the time you sold your first picture book?

CANDACE: I first started writing back in 2016, but didn’t get serious until January of 2017. I joined SCBWI and Julie Hedlund’s 12 x 12 Picture Book Writing Challenge, connected with critique partners, started taking classes/webinars, and absolutely fell in love with writing! I sold FISHING WITH GRANDPA AND SKYE in February 2019. So, a little over two years. 

SUSANNA: What is the most important/helpful thing you learned on your way to publication? (Or what is your most helpful piece of advice for up and coming writers?)

CANDACE: Be patient. Work on your craft. Take classes, attend conferences, find critique partners, join writing groups, and connect with the kidlit community. What an amazing, supportive group they are! And most importantly…never give up! You’ve got this!

SUSANNA: Anything else you’d like to share about your book’s journey from inspiration to publication?

CANDACE: I just want to say to pre-published writers, believe in yourself and keep at it! Write the stories only you can tell. Enjoy the journey and make some friends along the way. The kidlit community is truly an amazing group. 

I’m so happy to be on your blog today, Susanna! And thank you for all you do for the kidlit community!

SUSANNA: My pleasure, Candace! Thank YOU so much for taking the time to participate in this series and paying it forward to other writers! It’s such a wonderful opportunity to learn!

Author Candace Spizzirri

Website: http://www.candacespizzirri.com
Twitter: @CCSpizzirri1
Facebook: @CandaceSpizzirri
Instagram: @CCSpizzirri

Readers, if you have questions for Candace, please post them in the comments below and if she has time I’m sure she’ll respond!

You may purchase Candace’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

– suggesting them as visiting authors at our children’s schools and our local libraries

– sharing their books on social media

– reviewing their books on Goodreads, Amazon, Barnes&Noble, and other sites where people go to learn about books.

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!

Christy Mihaly – Hey! Hey! Hay! A Tale of Bales And The Machines That Make Them

Jessie Oliveros – The Remember Balloons

Beth Anderson – An Inconvenient Alphabet: Ben Franklin And Noah Webster’s Spelling Revolution

Hannah Holt – The Diamond And The Boy

Laura Renauld – Porcupine’s Pie

Annie Romano – Before You Sleep: A Bedtime Book Of Gratitude

Melissa Stoller – Scarlet’s Magic Paintbrush

Sherry Howard – Rock And Roll Woods

Kate Narita – 100 Bugs! A Counting Book

Vivian Kirkfield – Pippa’s Passover Plate

Laura Roettiger – Aliana Reaches For The Moon

Matthew Lasley – Pedro’s Pan: A Gold Rush Story

Natalee Creech – When Day Is Done

Margaret Chiu Greanias – Maximillian Villainous

Wendy Greenley – Lola Shapes The Sky

Danielle Dufayet – You Are Your Strong

B.J. Lee – There Was An Old Gator Who Swallowed A Moth

Cathy Ballou Mealey – When A Tree Grows

Pippa Chorley – Counting Sheep

Sandra Sutter – The Real Farmer In The Dell

June Smalls – Odd Animals ABC

Jill Mangel Weisfeld – Riley The Retriever Wants A New Job (self pub)

Kathleen Cornell Berman – The Birth Of Cool: How Jazz Great Miles Davis Found His Sound

Eleanor Ann Peterson – Jurassic Rat

Sarah Hoppe – Who Will? Will You?

Marla LeSage – Pirate Year Round

Stacey Corrigan – The Pencil Eater

Shannon Stocker – Can U Save The Day?

Nadine Poper – Randall And Randall

Christine Evans – Evelyn The Adventurous Entomologist

Karen Kiefer – Drawing God (religious market)

Susan Richmond – Bird Count

Dawn Young – The Night Baafore Christmas

Heather Gale – Ho’onani: Hula Warrior

Ciara O’Neal – Flamingo Hugs Aren’t For Everyone (self pub)

Theresa Kiser – A Little Catholic’s Book Of Liturgical Colors (religious market)

Lindsey Hobson – Blossom’s Wish (self pub)

Kirsten Larson – Wood, Wire, Wings: Emma Lilian Todd Invents An Airplane

Valerie Bolling – Let’s Dance!

Janet Johnson – Help Wanted: Must Love Books

Susi Schaefer – Cat Ladies

Heather Kinser – Small Matters: The Hidden Power of the Unseen

Kelly Carey – How Long Is Forever?

Mary Wagley Copp – Wherever I Go

Nell Cross Beckerman – Down Under The Pier

Claire Noland – Evie’s Field Day: More Than One Way To Win

Sharon Giltrow – Bedtime, Daddy!

Gabi Snyder – Two Dogs On A Trike

Sarah Kurpiel – Lone Wolf

Vicky Fang – Invent-a-Pet

Lisa Katzenberger – National Regular Average Ordinary Day

Pam Webb – Someday We Will

Abi Cushman – Soaked!

Teresa Krager – Before Your Birth Day

Lindsay H. Metcalf – Beatrix Potter, Scientist

Nancy Roe Pimm – Fly, Girl, Fly! Shaesta Waiz Soars Around The World

Jolene Gutiérrez – Mac And Cheese And The Personal Space Invader

Julie Rowan-Zoch – Louis (picture book illustration debut!)

Janie Emaus – Latkes For Santa

Amy Mucha – A Girl’s Bill Of Rights

Hope Lim – I Am A Bird

Melanie Ellsworth – Hip,Hip…Beret!

Rebecca Kraft Rector – Squish Squash Squished

Gnome Road Publishing (publishing house debut)

Sue Heavenrich – 13 Ways To Eat A Fly

Julie Rowan-Zoch – I’m A Hare So There (author/illustrator debut)

Nancy Derey Riley – Curiosity’s Discovery (author/illustrator self-published debut)

Moni Ritchie Hadley – The Star Festival

Sita Singh – Birds Of A Feather

Ann Magee – Branches Of Hope: The 9/11 Survivor Tree

Amanda Davis – 30,000 Stitches: The Inspiring Story of the National 9/11 Flag (nonfiction)

Jennifer Buchet – Little Medusa’s Hair Do-lemma

Michelle Vattula – The Stalking Seagulls

Christine Van Zandt – A Brief History Of Underpants (nonfiction)

Candice Marley Conner – Sassafras And Her Teeny Tiny Tail

Ashley Belote – Frankenslime

Becky Scharnhorst – My School Stinks!

Darshana Khiani – How To Wear A Sari

Ana Siqueira – Bella’s Recipe For Success

Kate Allen Fox – Pando: A Living Wonder Of Trees (nonfiction)

Jenna Waldman – Sharkbot Shalom

Karen A. Wyle – You Can’t Kiss A Bubble

Rebecca Mullin – One Tomato (board book)

Cynthia Argentine – Night Becomes Day: Changes In Nature (illustrated with photographs)

Karen Greenwald – Vote For Susanna: The First Woman Mayor (nonfiction)

Anne Appert – Blob (author/illustrator)

Patti Richards – Mrs. Noah

Dianna Wilson-Sirkovsky – James’ Reading Rescue

Karen Condit – Turtle On The Track (hybrid publishing)

Renee LaTulippe – The Crab Ballet (picture book poem)

Amy Duchene – Pool Party (collaboration/co-writing)

Kimberly Wilson – A Penny’s Worth

category: Tuesday Debut
tags: author, illustrator, publisher, title, debut, picture book, picture book writing, publication process

12 thoughts on “Tuesday Debut – Presenting Candace Spizzirri!

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