Monday, February 19, 2018

Ariel Bernstein Has a Balloon, We Have an Interview

We would like to welcome Ariel Bernstein to our blog. I first met Ariel at an SCBWI conference many years ago. She was kind, talented, and had an awesome book in the works called, I HAVE A BALLOON. Since then she’s landed more book deals, consistently supported her kidlit friends, all while raising two kids. Read on to find out about her publishing experience and one really weird, yet awesome, fact about her! Thanks, Ariel!

AMS/ER: Tell us three things about yourself: One funny, one weird, and one interesting. 

AB: Funny – I still have a baby tooth. I usually forget until I have my dentist cleaning and it’s commented on.
Weird – I can count the letters in a group of words almost automatically. So if someone says “Tell us three things about yourself” I know all those letters add up to 30 right away. Weird, right?
Interesting – Not to brag, but I make the best dessert in the history of dessert. It’s called cottage pudding, and it’s the easiest thing ever. You cut up pound cake into small cubes, mix them with a ton of whipped cream, and then mix in all sorts of berries. I guess someone might prefer a different dessert, but I don’t trust those people. 

AMS/ER: How did you break into the publishing world? 

AB: I broke in through the slush pile. I spent time querying, signed with my agent Mary Cummings, and she submitted my stories to editors. Sounds straight forward but there were the usual stumbles and heartbreaks along the way!

AMS/ER: Where do you like to write? 

AB: I like to write on either the loveseat in my living room or the couch in my den. They’re pretty comfy

AMS/ER: Why an owl and a monkey?

AB: At first I thought of two frogs, but quickly discarded that idea. I went into my children’s rooms to find inspiration for different characters by looking at their stuffed animals. I found an owl doll and a Curious George doll. I thought the idea of a calm, rational owl, and an energetic monkey would go together pretty well!
AMS/ER: What is your next book? Tell us a little about it.

AB: The first two books in my chapter book series, WARREN & DRAGON, illustrated by the awesome Mike Malbrough, are coming out on August 28, 2018 (Viking Children’s). It’s about a dreamy seven-year old boy named Warren and Dragon, his vain dragon companion.
AMS/ER: If you could have lunch with a children’s book author or illustrator whom would you choose and why?

AB: I once heard Rita Garcia-Williams give a wonderful speech at a conference. I’d love to sit down and listen to her talk over lunch and ask about her incredible career.

AMS/ER: What are you working on now?

AB: I’m working on books three and four of the WARREN & DRAGON series!

Questions our first grade students think all authors should answer:

First Graders: How do you concentrate?

AB: It can be hard but I just make myself sit and write. I usually put my cell phone in another room.

First Graders: How do you think of great ideas?

AB: All you have to do is find the most inconvenient time to think of a great idea – like in the middle of driving or taking a shower – and voila! An incredible idea will pop into your head that you won’t be able to write down. You’ll hope against hope you’ll remember it by the time you can access a pencil.

First Graders: Why did you become an author?

AB: I like making up stories and hearing that people find them funny, so that’s pretty good motivation.

First Graders: How did you get famous?

AB: I’m not sure I’m quite on the ‘famous’ level yet, so I’ll let you know when I get there how it happened!

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