3 Question Interview - CANDACE SPIZZIRRI
I am truly delighted to feature my good friend, author Candace Spizzirri. Her debut picture book, FISHING WITH GRANDPA AND SKYE, illustrated by Beverly Love Warren (Clear Fork Publishing, April 2022) is a lovely and touching intergenerational story. Candace shares about how fishing trips with her grandfather served as inspiration, and chats about stories . . . creativity . . . and connection. Welcome, Candace!
STORIES – Discuss the inspiration for your ideas and stories, and share the process about your latest projects.
Thanks so much for having me on your blog, Melissa! I’m delighted to be here.
I find ideas for stories everywhere! In everyday moments like walks out in nature, to overheard conversations, animal antics, and in the funny and often spot on things my grandkids say. Sometimes a title will “pop” into my head from out of the blue. If my heart races a bit and it makes me smile, I know I have a spark for a new story. Inspiration can come at any time, from anywhere, so you have to be ready. Once, a few years ago, I had a story idea while driving home from the grocery store. I pulled to the side of the road (safely ;) and jotted down plot points and character details on the back of my receipt.
My debut picture book, FISHING WITH GRANDPA AND SKYE (Clear Fork Publishing) and illustrated by Beverly Love Warren launched on April 19th. Yippee! The inspiration for this story came from many fishing trips to Lake Hopatcong, New Jersey, with my beloved Grandpa Henry. Although it is truly about grandpa and me, I use my granddaughter Skye's name as the main character. This story is about one day in particular when Grandpa had a special surprise for me. FISHING celebrates the love between generations and is the story of my heart! I submitted this manuscript to Callie Metler, owner of Clear Fork, and fortunately for me, she really enjoys “slice of life” stories and loved FISHING. Yay!
My next picture book, FINLEY: A MOOSE ON THE CABOOSE (Gnome Road Publishing) will release in Spring 2023. The idea for this story came to me two years ago on a trip to Alaska. I fell in love with the gorgeous scenery which looked like a postcard in every direction. While visiting the town of Talkeetna, a moose wandered about to the enjoyment of tourists, then disappeared into the woods. In this quaint town, I happened upon a little shop called Once in a Blue Moose and the spark for Finley, a moose who longs to ride the rails, was born. Sandra Sutter, owner at Gnome Road Publishing, liked a pitch for Finley on a Twitter pitch party. After a revise and resubmit, she contacted me saying the acquisitions team fell in love with Finley Moose. Yay!
CREATIVITY -- How do you showcase your creative side through writing/illustrating and other pursuits?
I’ve always had a creative side. As a young girl, I adored art class: painting, sculpting, and projects of all kinds. As a writer, I love words! The melodic sound of just the right words in just the right order when read aloud is a delight. I pay close attention to rhythm,
rhyme, word play, alliteration, onomatopoeia, repeating refrains/phrases, and use of literary devices such as metaphor and simile. I love making up songs, funny nicknames, and playing the “what if” game when writing a story where I let my imagination run free.
I enjoy working on multiple projects at a time, going back and forth from one to another. Revising, revising, always revising!
Other outlets include interior design, cooking, hiking, fishing, traveling, and dancing.
CONNECTION -- How do you connect to your young readers through your writing/illustrating, and how do you stay connected to the KidLit community?
The kidlit community is amazing! I stay connected through a number of critique groups, 12 x 12 Picture Book Writing Challenge, SCBWI, webinars, classes, and social media. My promotional groups, @KidLitCollective and @PB22Peekaboo, have been an invaluable support to me. I’m not sure what I’d do without all this encouragement! It has been wonderful to meet authors and illustrators at conferences and other events.
I can’t wait to share my books with kids everywhere! My hope is that my stories will entertain, delight, and make kids think about the world around them. Connecting with the kidlit community helps me keep moving forward in creating new stories.
Thanks again for hosting me on your blog. And thank you for all you do for the kidlit community, Melissa!
Candace Spizzirri grew up in a small town in New Jersey with tree-lined streets and old Victorian houses. As a child, she spent hours playing at the park, catching minnows in a nearby stream, and exploring the woods at the end of her street. She now makes her home in Southern California where she loves spending time with her family. FISHING WITH GRANDPA AND SKYE, illustrated by Beverly Love Warren (Clear Fork Publishing, April 2022) is her debut picture book. FINLEY: A MOOSE ON THE CABOOSE, illustrated by Chantelle & Burgen Thorne, releases in Fall 2023 with Gnome Road Publishing.