Author Spotlight – Darcy Pattison

Darcy, welcome to Lavender Lass Books, and thank you so much for agreeing to this interview!

Children’s book author and indie publisher Darcy Pattison writes award-winning fiction and non-fiction books for children.

Her works have received starred PW, Kirkus, and BCCB reviews. Awards include the Irma Black Honor award, five NSTA Outstanding Science Trade Books, Eureka! Nonfiction Honor book, two Junior Library Guild selections, two NCTE Notable Children’s Book in Language Arts, and a 2021 Notable Social Studies Trade Books. She’s the 2007 recipient of the Arkansas Governor’s Arts Award for Individual Artist for her work in children’s literature.

Pattison grew up in the mountains of New Mexico where she helped her brothers catch spiders and insects for their collection, tried to corral horny toads, side-stepped rattlesnakes, and climbed the Continental Divide. She loves to write about wildlife, science fiction, and the kittens of KittyTube.

A team of kids struggle to create the perfect gingerbread house. The project guidelines are clear: the winning house must stand upright on its own and a gingerbread boy and girl must fit inside.
Sounds easy?

But creating is hard. Cookie burn, the icing it too thin, the house caves-in, someone is eating the candy decorations, and—Oh!—they forgot about putting the gingerbread boy and girl inside the house.

Engineering is a creative process. That means you must learn to

  • overcome problems
  • and persevere.

Inspire budding engineers to think about the classic gingerbread house in new ways.

Written in a lyrical rhyme, it’s sure to please the language arts folks, too.
Kirkus Reviews says, “Pattison’s text begs to be read aloud and Joven’s spreads offer dynamic visuals…

Come one, come all! The Gingerbread Fair opens soon!

This is a story about building, rethinking the plan, and finishing strong.

And now to the interview:

1.  What do you want to share with us about this story?  What really stands out about it and made you want to write it?
My family has a tradition of creating amazing gingerbread houses for the holidays! When I decided to write this book, it was to honor those memories. But the writing took a long time, with many revisions. Early drafts were always poetry, but the story was fuzzy. When I decided to make this a STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) story, it come into focus. After that, it only took about 50 revisions (no exaggeration) to get the poetry right.

2.  Why do you write in this genre?  What makes this genre particularly appealing to you?
Katherine Patterson, author of THE BRIDGE TO TERABITHA, once said that when she reads other people’s stories she hears a symphony; but when she reads her own work, she hears a flute solo. I think that’s an insightful observation, that for some writers, their work is best suited to simpler formats and to a different audience. My writing style works for kids!

3.  What made you decide to become an author?  Can you tell us a little about that journey?
I write because I’m a reader. In sixth grade, I read Tolkein’s LORD OF THE RINGS and Frank Herbert’s DUNE. I wanted to be on the opposite side of those stories, to be the one who had written them. It took a long time and a lot of living before I dared to write. But once I started, I’m not stopped!

4.  Why did you choose to self-publish?  Are there advantages to self-publishing?  What about the challenges?
I am an indie author by choice. I find writing a story and bringing it to market is an endlessly fascinating process. While there are many challenges, part of the fun is to work through those problems, overcome them, and find success.

5.  Where do you get ideas for your stories?  Do they come to you over time, or do you suddenly think of an idea and realize it would make a great story?
I write about everything I am and everything I do. Ideas can come from anywhere at any time. A radio interview inspired NEFERTITI, THE SPIDERNAUT. Speculating on viral cat videos lead to THE KITTYTUBER series. I try to stay open to ideas from any and every source.

6.  Do you write (or plan to write) in any other genres?
I write for children, fiction or nonfiction, anything from picture books to novels. But I also write how-to-write for adults. NOVEL METAMORPHOSIS is about revising a novel manuscript, and HOW TO WRITE A CHILDREN’S PICTURE BOOK is about writing for the audience of young people.

7.  What do you look for in a story?  Especially in your genre?  (Original ideas, plot lines, character development, world building, research, etc.?)
Story must have a distinctive hook at the beginning, active and illustratable ongoing action, and a heart-tug at the end.

8.  What is one thing you wish you’d known when you first started writing?
How much fun it would be!

9.  Are you working on a new book?  Can you share any details?
I’m very excited by a new animal biography coming in 2021, DIEGO THE GIANT GALAPAGOS TORTOISE: Saving a Species from Extinction. It’s the 50-year story of scientists working to save a tortoise species from extinction. In 1963, there were only fourteen known tortoises from Española Island. The species was almost extinct. Then, they found one more Española tortoise in the San Diego zoo, whom they named Diego, and he was brought back to the Galapagos for a breeding program.

In 2020, Diego returned to his home island to join over 2500 other Española tortoises. This is the story of one of the most successful breeding programs in scientific history. This amazing giant tortoise species was saved by fifty years of hard work by scientists and hundreds of volunteers.

10.  Do you have any advice you would offer to writers who plan to self-publish?
Learn to write! A great book is the foundation for everything else!

You can find Darcy Pattison’s book at Amazon and many other retailers! https://www.amazon.com/Plan-Gingerbread-House-Engineering-Story-ebook/dp/B09HN6QNHN/

Thank you so much for sharing all this with us today, Darcy! You can find out more about Darcy and her books (including this one) at the links below:

Website – http://www.mimshousebooks.com

Website – http://www.darcypattison.com/about/

Pinterest – https://www.pinterest.com/mimshousebooks/_shop/