I actually knew of Viviane’s work since my time at Simon & Schuster. I’d been lucky enough to see her story, TEACH YOUR GIRAFFE TO SKI, at a staff meeting. And true story: I was so behind on queries that I almost missed out on seeing this amazing talent. But the fates aligned, and now Viviane is one of #TeamNat! And I couldn’t be happier.
Tell us a bit about your writing process. Where do you write, and how often?
I try to write down ideas when they come. These ideas are usually just a few words long. It takes time and thought for those ideas to become a story.
I have both scheduled writing time and random writing time. Random writing time happens when I have spare time (while waiting in waiting rooms, etc…). I also try to schedule writing/revision time during the week. About a year and a half ago, I started scheduling monthly writing dates with a friend. We meet at a bookstore and write for 2 -3 hours. I bring a notebook and a pen.
Most of my rough drafts are hand-written, but afterwards, I type it up on a computer and start revising it. My manuscripts go through multiple revisions and critique sessions with critique partners.
If you’re not reading or writing, what would we catch you doing?
I love to eat, travel, hike, bike, dance, garden, do arts & crafts, play tennis, ski, take pictures and hang out with friends and family. (Fortunately, my kids enjoy doing these activities with me!).
Do you belong to any writing organizations?
Yes, I belong to SCBWI and 12×12 – and I highly recommend both organizations. SCBWI is for all children book writers & illustrators, and 12×12 is specifically for picture book writers.
Where can readers find you on the web and social media?
On Twitter at @VivianeElbee, on Facebook at Viviane Elbee, or on Goodreads at Viviane Elbee.
What’s the last book you read?
Recently, I read A Cooked Up Fairy Tale by Penny Klostermann, which is great! I also just read the book On Writing by Stephen King, which was interesting.
What’s your favorite piece of writing advice you’ve received?
I have a very prolific writer friend, and she was published after a few years of earnest effort. (During those years I had spent all my writing time on one manuscript). I remember suddenly realizing that writers should strive to be prolific. Quality is essential, but it’s equally important to have a variety of manuscripts. Some writers are naturally prolific, but for others it’s a learning curve.
Plotter or pantster?
Drink of choice when writing? When not writing?
I love fruit smoothies and juice. Hopefully all those vitamins bring good health & brain power.
What excites you most about joining the BookEnds family?
Bookends has a very supportive, enthusiastic team.
What advice would you give to other authors in the query trenches?
It’s fantastic to have support and encouragement from writer groups & organizations. Organizations like SCBWI and 12×12 are great. Some writer groups are free and entirely online, like Sub It Club. Try to find one (or several) that work for you.
It’s also helpful to remain hopeful. First I remind myself that I write because I love to write. Second, I remind myself that being patient, prolific and persistent is the key to success in this industry. Third, I set goals I can control (how much I will write & revise over the next month, and how many submissions I will send out.) When I reach my goals, I think positive thoughts. (Yay, I wrote/revised/subbed this month!) Some writer groups encourage you to post your “success” each week, and “success” is often writing, revising or subbing.
Finally, I remind myself that I am working towards my dreams by setting goals that I can accomplish.
What happens if you miss a goal one month?
It’s okay. Life happens. Set a new goal and keep moving forward. Remember: patience, prolificness and persistence. You can do it!
If you could meet any author, living or dead, who would you want to meet and why?
I would love to meet many authors, but I will say JK Rowling because the Harry Potter books are AMAZING!