I am truly happy to interview Callie Metler-Smith. She's the publisher of Clear Fork Publishing, and also the very talented illustrator of my chapter book series! I've been working closely with Callie for about a year now, and I finally met her in September at the North Texas SCBWI Conference. Callie's energy, enthusiasm, and dedication are evident in all the projects she brings to life. Here's just a small sampling of Callie's involvement with the KidLit world:
STORIES – Discuss what inspires your ideas and stories, and share the process about your latest projects.
My personal writing projects usually center around my kids. I've been working on two picture books inspired by my sons. One is called Ben's West Texas Snow about cotton farming and my son's relationship with my dad. The other is called How to Babysit a Logan and is about autism told through the eyes of my son's cat, Thunderbolt. Also, I’m working on a devotional for chaotic moms, especially moms with special needs kids. It's a labor of love and extremely slow going, but it's where my heart is. And I'm developing more books that showcase kids with disabilities.
Currently, one of my main projects at Clear Fork Publishing is an Anthology called A Hug for the World. It's a collection of stories, poems, and art contributed by CFP authors and illustrators. All proceeds will benefit those affected by Hurricanes Harvey and Irma. It's releasing soon and is available for pre-order through the CFP website. I’m really proud of this CFP group project and I know it will make a difference in the world.
CREATIVITY -- How do you showcase your creative side through writing/illustrating and other pursuits?
My creative side is much like a little child’s . . . bouncing around to each project. I love seeing how other people are creative, and I enjoy assisting that, sometimes adding my own creativity. In taking on the job of illustrating The Enchanted Snow Globe Collection series, I first connected with the main characters, Emma and Simon. I could see the book in my head and I knew that even though I am very secretive about my art, going out of my box on this particular project would be very rewarding. It turns out I was right. I'm excited to be illustrating Book Two in the series, The Enchanted Snow Globe Collection: The Liberty Bell Train Ride, releasing in 2018.
CONNECTION -- How do you connect to your young readers through your writing/illustrating, and how do you stay connected to the kidlit community?
I run everything through my home audience . . . mainly my son, Ben. Ben has a learning disability that requires everything he reads to be presented to him editorially. I have spent many a night reading chapter books and other stories to him. If I can get a giggle or a smile, I know I am on the right path. Since I own a bookstore, I spend a lot of time looking over different publisher’s catalogs and make a point to read Publisher’s Weekly. I stay connected with kidlit through various blogs, Twitter, and online Facebook groups. This past month I was able to speak at the North Texas SCBWI Conference about the pros and cons of publishing with an indie publisher. And I spent time with several CFP authors which was an absolute joy!
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It is truly a delight to get to know Callie better through her thoughts about Stories . . . Creativity . . . and Connection. I look forward to our continued collaboration, to reading all the CFP books releasing in 2017/18, and of course to meeting Callie and other CFP authors/illustrators again soon!
Callie Metler-Smith is the owner of Clear Fork Media Group in Stamford, Texas. She has owned the Stamford American since 2009 and Clear Fork Publishing since 2014. When not working on her corner of the Stamford Square, she is spending time with her husband, Philip, two sons, Logan and Ben, and her niece, Sadey.
CONNECT WITH CALLIE AT:
Website – www.calliemetlersmith.com and www.ClearForkPublishing.com
Twitter - @calliemetler
Instagram - cmetler