Posted by: nancyisanders | November 9, 2015

Author Interview: Laura Sassi

Laura blog shot

Meet Author Laura Sassi

Blog: Laura Sassi Tales
Facebook: LauraSassiTales
Twitter: @LauraSassiTales

Bio: Laura Sassi has a passion for telling stories in prose and rhyme. Her poems, stories, articles and crafts have appeared in numerous family publications including Highlights for Children, Cricket, Ladybug, Spider, Focus on the Family’s Clubhouse and Clubhouse Jr. and FamilyFun. She is the author of two picture books, GOODNIGHT, MANGER (Zonderkidz 2015) and GOODNIGHT, ARK (Zonderkidz, 2014) (Now a board book, too!). She lives in New Jersey with her husband, two children, and a black Cockapoo named Sophie.

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Featured Book
Goodnight, Manger
by Laura Sassi
Illustrated by Jane Chapman
Zonderkidz, 2015
CLICK HERE to watch the book trailer!

It’s bedtime for Baby Jesus, but who knew that the Manger could be so loud? Young readers will find delight in Goodnight, Manger, a favorite Christmas Bible story-turned-bedtime-tale from author Laura Sassi and bestselling illustrator Jane Chapman. Laura Sassi tells the story of the baby Jesus’ first bedtime. The manger is distracting and noisy with the angels rejoicing, itchy hay, and visiting wisemen. Mary, Joseph and the animals try and lull the infant Christ to a good night’s sleep.

Sassi and Chapman also collaborated on their first book together, Goodnight, Ark!, which released in 2014. Noah and the animals on the Ark try to fall asleep, but the storm raging outside keeps them all awake. Both titles offer a unique twist on popular Bible stories by featuring a sweet, whimsical bedtime theme that ties clever rhyming with beautiful illustrations that are sure to soothe the fussiest sleeper into a content and peaceful sleep.

INTERVIEW:

Q: Describe a highlight for you personally while you were writing this book.

A: As a mom, I have tender memories of putting my babies to bed and how hard it was when they were crying and overstimulated and overtired. I also have memories of my sweet daughter, who was only three or four at the time, playing with the little Baby Jesus that was part of our nativity set. She’d carry him around the house saying things like, “Baby Jesus crying. It’s okay, Baby.” Then she’d gently feed him or rock him and sing a lullaby. To be honest before listening to her tender play, I’d never thought of Baby Jesus as ever crying. But, he was human (and God) and so he must have cried. With these sweet sparks of inspiration it was personally very rewarding to write the story that was on my heart – which was to write a fun Christmas bedtime book that kids would want to read again and again and which would point them in the direction of Jesus – the real gift of Christmas.

Q: How did you experience breakthrough to work with the big publishing houses?

A: The first key to opening that contract door for both this and my first book was to find an agent who believed in my writing. I cannot emphasize enough how important it has been (for me at least) to have an agent. Not only did she help me get my story in front of the right editorial audience, she also was skilled at helping me sort through ins and outs of the contract. The second key to breaking through was to not settle for what I thought at the time was my best effort, but to instead take my agent’s advice to heart and push myself to take each manuscript to the next level before submitting it to publishers.

Q: Describe your typical writing schedule.

A: I try to set aside two good hours per day to write and reflect and be creative. I like to write in a notebook as well as on my laptop, both of which are very portable. I often take my projects on the road, so to speak. I’ve been spotted writing on park benches while my kids play at the park. I also have a favorite corner in the library where I sometimes write. But my favorite writing spot is curled up in a chair, or at my little writer’s desk, with Sophie, our little black Cockapoo, snuggled close beside me. Before any of that, though, I begin each day with prayerful journaling. Before breakfast, I dig into Scripture, then reflect on God’s word in my journal. I lift up the day to Him, writing down my joys and my concerns. Without this important writing ritual, the day just isn’t the same, for it reminds me that God is ultimately in charge of everything and, thus, I give my writing over to Him.

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Q: What is one word of advice you received as a writer that you would like to share with others?

A: I’ve found that the long, hard journey to publication just wouldn’t be the same without a nice support system. For me this includes my family, my lovely agent, and the wonderful network of children’s writers I’ve connected with over the years, many of whom have become dear friends and trusted critique partners. So, my parting bit of advice today is to find a writing buddy or two to join you on the journey! I think you will find, as I have, that it makes all the difference. Happy writing!

***************************************************************
BONUS GIVEAWAY! BONUS GIVEAWAY! BONUS GIVEAWAY! BONUS GIVEAWAY!
***************************************************************

To celebrate the funtastic release of Laura Sassi’s newest book, I’m hosting a giveaway here on my blog!

Two prizes and two winners! Yay!

The contest starts today, November 9, and goes through until midnight on November 15. Enter to win today!

The first prize is a copy of Laura Sassi’s new book, the beautiful full-color hardback copy of her picture book, Goodnight, Manger.

The second prize is a free manuscript critique (by me!) for a picture book manuscript you’re working on. (If you don’t write picture books, you may substitute this prize for the first 5 pages of whatever children’s manuscript you want.)

To be eligible for the first prize, you MUST have a continental US street address (and not just a PO box) where the book can be delivered.

To be eligible for the second prize, you MUST have an e-mail address where we can e-mail your manuscript back and forth…and you can live anywhere in the world!

Here’s what to do:

STEP ONE: Sign up to “follow” my blog and get my occasional news over e-mail.
The button is in the sidebar on the right.

(If you’ve already done that before today, just post a comment here to let me know or e-mail me at jeffandnancys@gmail.com.)

Step 2: CLICK HERE to register on Rafflecopter for the chance to win Laura Sassi’s beautiful full-color picture book, Goodnight, Manger.
To win the picture book, contestants must have a continental US address with a street address and not just a P.O. box, where prize can be shipped.

If you do not have a continental US address, you may still enter the contest but will only be eligible for the free picture book manuscript critique.

Two different winners will be chosen for two different prizes!

The contest starts today, November 9, and goes through until midnight on November 15. Enter to win today!


Responses

  1. Laura, you are such an inspiration. Congratulations on your two lovely books! I think it is with a combination of your talent, dedication and persistence to reach your goals, and that morning journaling time with the Lord that has brought you to this point. Thanks for sharing.

    • Thanks for stopping by, Rosie! That morning time is precious.

  2. Already following. Thanks for the behind the scenes look.

    • Thanks for stopping by, Tracey. Happy writing to you.

  3. Hi Nancy. I’m already following. Enjoyed your interview with Laura, an old high school friend. Congrats, Laura!

    • Hi Sara, my dear high school friend. So nice to see you here.

  4. I already follow, thanks so much. Wonderful interview.

    • Thanks for stopping by, Anita. It’s always fun to be interviewed when the interviewer asks such thoughtful questions. Thanks, Nancy!

  5. I love Goodnight, Ark! and look forward to reading Goodnight, Manger. Thanks for this encouraging interview. I need to begin my day with prayerful journaling.

    • Lovely to meet you here, Claire Annette. I’m glad you like Goodnight, Ark. It’s wonderful to be encouraged and I love morning journal/pratyer time. Happy reading and writing to you!

  6. I already follow your blog, Nancy, and enjoy it very much. And I really appreciated getting to read the interview. Laura, I love your new book. I have a copy I’m planning to give to two of my grandchildren who are expecting a third sibling momentarily. I figure, with a new baby in the house, it’ll be a perfect gift.

    • Thanks, Ev. Your “thumbs up” means a lot. =) I hope your grands enjoy the new book! Thanks for joining in the conversation.

  7. Laura, it’s so wonderful to have you here today! And what a privilege to celebrate your new book with you. Congratulations! Thanks, too, for everyone who is posting comments and joining in on the fun!!!!

    • Thanks for having me, Nancy. I’m enjoying all the comments. It’s an honor to be here.

  8. Hi Nancy and Laura,
    Thank you for sharing your publication journey, Laura.
    I have Goodnight Ark, and funny enough I read it again on Sunday. Love your book and Jane’s art.

    Nancy, I don’t live in the U.S., but I would love to be entered in your generous offer of a PB critique! 🙂

    Thank you,
    Tracy

    • Hi Tracy, Thanks for chiming in. I’m so glad you are enjoying Goodnight, Ark! Jane is a gifted illustrator, that’s for sure. Best, Laura

  9. Hi Nancy, I’ve already signed up to follow your blog and I love all the information you share. Thanks for the great interview with Laura. I can’t wait to buy Goodnight, Manger and read it to my grandson. Chris

    • Thanks for stopping by Nancy’s lovely blog. I hope your grandson enjoys the book. =)

  10. Hi Nancy, I already follow your blog and would love to be entered in the drawing for a PB critique. Thank you!

    • Happy writing, Traci! Isn’t Nancy a great inspiration!

  11. Nancy, I already follow you! Excellent interview, very inspiring and helpful. Thank you.

    • Thanks for stopping by. I wish you well on your writing journey.

  12. Laura, your book sounds wonderful. I will check it out for Christmas presents. Nancy, I follow your blog already. Thank you both!

    • Thanks, Deidre! Happy reading!

  13. Wonderful post ladies. It’s always a pleasure to watch your progress.

    • Hi Diane! So nice to “see” you here! I hope all is well.

  14. Nancy, I follow you through Feedly. (And look forward to every blog post.) I’d love to be entered in the PB critique. I have a ms that needs work, but I need a little guidance.
    Laura, the book looks great. It makes me say, “I wish I’d thought of that!”

    • Thanks for the kind words, Stephanie, and good luck with that manuscript. Fresh eyes can do wonders, and I know Nancy has great eyes! =)

  15. I follow you Nancy, have read your book on chapter books and taken your course. Love your blog for all the writerly info. Wonderful interview with Laura – can’t wait to read her book. (I’m in Canada so couldn’t win it) so – Would love to win your critique.

    • Lovely to “meet” you, Bev. Best wishes on your writing journey.

  16. Thank you for the interview. Best wishes for your books, Laura! Would love to win either the critique or the book.

    • Best wishes to you as well! Thanks for commenting.

  17. I am already a faithful follower! Thanks for all the wonderful things you offer on this blog. I’d love tow win the critique or the book!

    • Doesn’t Nancy have a great blog! What a blessing she is to the kid lit community.

  18. Already follow your blog and am enjoying it. Thanks for a chance to win one of these great gifts

    • Thanks for celebrating with us, Pam. =)

  19. I’ve been a follower for quite awhile and always look forward to your posts. Great post with Laura. Of course I would treasure a critique from you!

    • Thanks for stopping by. And what an honor for me to be on Nancy’s blog. Thank you, Nancy!

      • Laura, it’s been so great to have you here!!!!

  20. Congrats of both your books. Thank you for sharing your journey and the tips. Thank you Laura and Nancy for the opportunity to participate in the drawing.

    • Thanks, Charlotte. It’s been a great journey so far. Happy writing!

  21. I follow you and love the information on your blogs. Please enter me for the contest.

    • Hi Sheila, Thanks so much for stopping by. Happy reading and writing to you!

  22. Those books sound so child friendly and give another look at stories we already know, but now we get “the inside scoop” of what could have really happened long ago. A sweet journey for you.

    • Aww, thanks, Sherri. The little ones have been enjoying at my story times. Best to you.

  23. Following! I can’t wait to read Goodnight, Manger. 🙂

    • Thanks! Hope you enjoy it. =)


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