• strict warning: Declaration of FeedsImporter::copy() should be compatible with FeedsConfigurable::copy(FeedsConfigurable $configurable) in /home/writezil/public_html/sites/all/modules/feeds/includes/FeedsImporter.inc on line 94.
  • strict warning: Declaration of FeedsNodeProcessor::map() should be compatible with FeedsProcessor::map($source_item, $target_item = NULL) in /home/writezil/public_html/sites/all/modules/feeds/plugins/FeedsNodeProcessor.inc on line 319.
  • strict warning: Declaration of FeedsNodeProcessor::setTargetElement() should be compatible with FeedsProcessor::setTargetElement(&$target_item, $target_element, $value) in /home/writezil/public_html/sites/all/modules/feeds/plugins/FeedsNodeProcessor.inc on line 319.
  • strict warning: Declaration of FeedsFeedNodeProcessor::map() should be compatible with FeedsProcessor::map($source_item, $target_item = NULL) in /home/writezil/public_html/sites/all/modules/feeds/plugins/FeedsFeedNodeProcessor.inc on line 227.
  • strict warning: Declaration of FeedsFeedNodeProcessor::setTargetElement() should be compatible with FeedsProcessor::setTargetElement(&$target_item, $target_element, $value) in /home/writezil/public_html/sites/all/modules/feeds/plugins/FeedsFeedNodeProcessor.inc on line 227.
  • strict warning: Declaration of FeedsUserProcessor::map() should be compatible with FeedsProcessor::map($source_item, $target_item = NULL) in /home/writezil/public_html/sites/all/modules/feeds/plugins/FeedsUserProcessor.inc on line 195.
  • warning: preg_replace(): Compilation failed: disallowed Unicode code point (>= 0xd800 && <= 0xdfff) at offset 1809 in /home/writezil/public_html/modules/search/search.module on line 334.
  • warning: preg_replace(): Compilation failed: disallowed Unicode code point (>= 0xd800 && <= 0xdfff) at offset 1809 in /home/writezil/public_html/modules/search/search.module on line 334.
  • warning: preg_replace(): Compilation failed: disallowed Unicode code point (>= 0xd800 && <= 0xdfff) at offset 1809 in /home/writezil/public_html/modules/search/search.module on line 334.
  • warning: preg_replace(): Compilation failed: disallowed Unicode code point (>= 0xd800 && <= 0xdfff) at offset 1809 in /home/writezil/public_html/modules/search/search.module on line 334.
  • warning: preg_replace(): Compilation failed: disallowed Unicode code point (>= 0xd800 && <= 0xdfff) at offset 1809 in /home/writezil/public_html/modules/search/search.module on line 334.
  • warning: preg_replace(): Compilation failed: disallowed Unicode code point (>= 0xd800 && <= 0xdfff) at offset 1809 in /home/writezil/public_html/modules/search/search.module on line 334.
  • You must include at least one positive keyword with 3 characters or more.
  • strict warning: Non-static method view::load() should not be called statically in /home/writezil/public_html/sites/all/modules/views/views.module on line 843.
  • strict warning: Declaration of views_plugin_display::options_validate() should be compatible with views_plugin::options_validate(&$form, &$form_state) in /home/writezil/public_html/sites/all/modules/views/plugins/views_plugin_display.inc on line 1877.
  • strict warning: Declaration of views_plugin_display_block::options_submit() should be compatible with views_plugin_display::options_submit(&$form, &$form_state) in /home/writezil/public_html/sites/all/modules/views/plugins/views_plugin_display_block.inc on line 193.
  • strict warning: Declaration of views_handler_field_broken::ui_name() should be compatible with views_handler::ui_name($short = false) in /home/writezil/public_html/sites/all/modules/views/handlers/views_handler_field.inc on line 641.
  • strict warning: Declaration of views_handler_sort_broken::ui_name() should be compatible with views_handler::ui_name($short = false) in /home/writezil/public_html/sites/all/modules/views/handlers/views_handler_sort.inc on line 82.
  • strict warning: Declaration of views_handler_filter::options_validate() should be compatible with views_handler::options_validate($form, &$form_state) in /home/writezil/public_html/sites/all/modules/views/handlers/views_handler_filter.inc on line 585.
  • strict warning: Declaration of views_handler_filter::options_submit() should be compatible with views_handler::options_submit($form, &$form_state) in /home/writezil/public_html/sites/all/modules/views/handlers/views_handler_filter.inc on line 585.
  • strict warning: Declaration of views_handler_filter_broken::ui_name() should be compatible with views_handler::ui_name($short = false) in /home/writezil/public_html/sites/all/modules/views/handlers/views_handler_filter.inc on line 609.
  • strict warning: Declaration of views_handler_filter_boolean_operator::value_validate() should be compatible with views_handler_filter::value_validate($form, &$form_state) in /home/writezil/public_html/sites/all/modules/views/handlers/views_handler_filter_boolean_operator.inc on line 128.
  • strict warning: Declaration of views_plugin_style_default::options() should be compatible with views_object::options() in /home/writezil/public_html/sites/all/modules/views/plugins/views_plugin_style_default.inc on line 25.
  • strict warning: Declaration of views_plugin_row::options_validate() should be compatible with views_plugin::options_validate(&$form, &$form_state) in /home/writezil/public_html/sites/all/modules/views/plugins/views_plugin_row.inc on line 135.
  • strict warning: Declaration of views_plugin_row::options_submit() should be compatible with views_plugin::options_submit(&$form, &$form_state) in /home/writezil/public_html/sites/all/modules/views/plugins/views_plugin_row.inc on line 135.
  • strict warning: Non-static method view::load() should not be called statically in /home/writezil/public_html/sites/all/modules/views/views.module on line 843.
  • strict warning: Declaration of content_handler_field::options() should be compatible with views_object::options() in /home/writezil/public_html/sites/all/modules/cck/includes/views/handlers/content_handler_field.inc on line 208.
  • strict warning: Non-static method view::load() should not be called statically in /home/writezil/public_html/sites/all/modules/views/views.module on line 843.
  • strict warning: Non-static method view::load() should not be called statically in /home/writezil/public_html/sites/all/modules/views/views.module on line 843.
  • strict warning: Non-static method view::load() should not be called statically in /home/writezil/public_html/sites/all/modules/views/views.module on line 843.
  • strict warning: Non-static method view::load() should not be called statically in /home/writezil/public_html/sites/all/modules/views/views.module on line 843.
  • strict warning: Declaration of views_handler_argument::init() should be compatible with views_handler::init(&$view, $options) in /home/writezil/public_html/sites/all/modules/views/handlers/views_handler_argument.inc on line 745.
  • strict warning: Declaration of views_handler_argument_broken::ui_name() should be compatible with views_handler::ui_name($short = false) in /home/writezil/public_html/sites/all/modules/views/handlers/views_handler_argument.inc on line 770.

Author Up Close: Anne O’Brien Carelli—Perseverance and Blind Optimism

https://i1.wp.com/writerunboxed.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/07/AOBC-maki... 300w, https://i1.wp.com/writerunboxed.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/07/AOBC-maki... 534w" sizes="(max-width: 525px) 100vw, 525px" data-recalc-dims="1" />Author Anne O’Brien making friendship bracelets.
In this week’s Author Up Close, I interview Anne O’Brien Carelli, author of adult nonfiction, the middle-grade book Skylark and Wallcreeper, and the picture book Amina’s New Friends. She’s been a friend and mentor since we met at our first Writer Unboxed conference.  Anne is the owner of a leadership training business, and she has taught me invaluable lessons about managing the craft and business sides of being a writer. Her advice will be especially helpful to anyone writing and querying middle-grade or YA fiction, and she’s a great example of using the skills you’ve learned in previous careers in your career as a writer.
GW: How did you find your agent and land your publishing deal? 
AOBC: I had published two nonfiction adult books and self-published a picture book, but the children’s traditional publishing world was new to me. I soon discovered that writers who want to publish a children’s book need to have perseverance, blind optimism, a desire to hone the craft, and a belief in serendipity. It also helps to pay close attention to what is published in your genre.
I found my agent by chance. As I was researching an editor I admired at a conference, I came across a description of her colleague, who looked like the perfect match for my middle-grade book, Skylark and Wallcreeper. I had rewritten my query a million times, but tried again.
I think it’s really important to investigate what agents like to read, what they are looking for, and what types of books they have represented in the past. You can learn a lot of this information by attending conferences and signing up for short consultations with individual editors and agents.
As for landing the publishing deal? I give my agent all of the credit for that. She also looked for the right match and Little Bee Books has been a wonderful home for my book.
GW: Why did you decide to write middle-grade fiction, and why this subject matter?
AOBC: There was never any doubt that I would eventually write middle-grade fiction. The picture book was written because I have volunteered with refugee children for many years and saw that the story about a refugee girl’s first day in an American school was desperately needed. The textbooks I published were related to my work in gender equity and leadership. But many eons ago I taught sixth grade and social studies, and middle grade is my favorite age group (ages 8-12). Those kids are just on the cusp of figuring out who they are, and are developing independence and coping skills. middle-grade books, especially in the last two or three years, address a number of tough issues that kids are facing today. But every middle-grade book has hope at the end, and that appeals to me.
I generally write contemporary and historical fiction for middle grade. For all of the books I do a deep dive into research. I love that part! Skylark and Wallcreeper is actually two stories intertwined. One takes place during Hurricane Sandy and the other during the French Resistance in World War II. I enjoyed every second of researching those two time periods. 
GW: For a while, there seemed to be this push for new authors to acquire as many followers on social media as possible, but now many are realizing that quantity does not necessarily equal quality. I follow you on Twitter and you do an excellent job of authentically engaging on the platform. How do you use Twitter (and other social media platforms) and what benefits have you seen beyond sales?
AOBC: I decided that since Twitter was going to be my main route to marketing my book on social media, I was going to tweet things that are fun to write. I wanted to look forward to the process, since marketing my own book is not my first choice of activity!
I focus on connecting with teachers, school librarians, middle-grade authors, and children’s book lovers. I have been so pleased to discover an amazing, supportive community of adults who work very hard to get books in the hands of children. I do have an Instagram account that I use for promoting Skylark, but the Twitter account is for sharing my suggestions for books for kids – and for alerting my followers about cover reveals, giveaways, mentorship opportunities, twitter chats, and other middle-grade book-related activities. In turn, I have connected with other authors, received heartwarming feedback about my book from teachers and students, shared my experiences at book fairs and signings, and have learned about wonderful things that are going on in classrooms around the world. It’s been fun – an experience I did not expect.
GW: What advice would you give someone interested in writing and querying MG fiction?
AOBC: First, I would say to check out my agent’s blog Literary Carrie. Every month she does a query critique and there are several archived. Her suggestions are very informative.
Second, middle-grade readers are surprisingly sophisticated. They enjoy complicated stories, complex characters, and challenging topics. Recent middle-grade books have focused on difficult topics because that is real life for kids (e.g., divorced parents, school violence, body image, bullying) and we are finally addressing these issues in their literature. But they also love humor and fantasy and anything scary. Remember that middle-grade books are hopeful!
Third, definitely get on Twitter and start connecting with middle-grade hashtag groups, teachers, school librarians, and other authors. You will find out more about the submission process and what appeals to readers. You’ll get support and suggestions while you query, find an agent, market your book, etc. There’s nothing better than seeing a tweet with a picture of a mother-daughter book club enjoying your book.
Many thanks to Anne for allowing me to interview her for the piece. You can learn more about Anne and her writing on her website. To read previous interviews in my Author Up Close series, click or tap here
Over to you: what parts of your previous career are helping you transition to a career in writing?
 
 

About Grace WynterGrace Wynter is a freelance editor and writer and a huge fan of shenanigans. Her blogs (and a few of her shenanigans) have been featured on CNN.com and the Huffington Post. She has taught workshops for the Atlanta Writers Club and Wake Up & Write. Grace has an MBA in marketing from Georgia State University and an editing certificate from the University of Chicago.

Her debut novel, Free Falling, was a Georgia Romance Writers’ Maggie Award finalist. When she’s not alternating between the Marvel and DC universes, Grace resides in Atlanta, Georgia.

You can connect with her on her blog, The Writer’s Station, and on her author website, ggwynter.com.Web | Twitter | Facebook | More Posts

"I wrote the rest of The Innocents Abroad in sixty days and I could have added a fortnight's labor with the pen and gotten along without the letters altogether. I was very young in those days, exceedingly young, marvelously young, younger than I am now, younger than I shall ever be again, by hundreds of years. I worked every night from eleven or twelve until broad daylight in the morning, and as I did 200,000 words in the sixty days, the average was more than 3,000 words a day- nothing for Sir Walter Scott, nothing for Louis Stevenson, nothing for plenty of other people, but quite handsome for me. In 1897, when we were living in Tedworth Square, London, and I was writing the book called Following the Equator, my average was 1,800 words a day; here in Florence (1904) my average seems to be 1,400 words per sitting of four or five hours."
Mark Twain

Random picks

  • Have you ever wondered why that foxy women who only worked out next to you on the treadmill covers it all up when she leaves the gym? You know she is a Muslim by the outfit she wears, however , might ask yourself, why work that hard to look good if no one is ever going to see it? Being one of those girls I might answer that question for you. Working out is a body of worship In Islam,. We are taught that our bodies have rights: the right to be fed, the right to be clothed, the right to rest, the right to be taken care of in the best possible manner. This includes exercise and a healthy diet.,...
  • Work is the all-American pastime, taking more and more of our waking hours, and infiltrating our sleep. It’s been grist for books from Studs Turkel’s Working to Joshua Ferris’ And Then We Came to the End to Joseph Heller’s Something Happened, set in an ad agency circa Mad Men, which begins with these evocative lines: “I get the willies when I see closed doors. Even at work, where I am doing so well now, the sight of a closed door is sometimes enough to make me dread that something horrible is happening behind it, something that is going to affect me adversely; if...
  • The search engine is the one handling all the tracking and payments, providing an easy way for webmasters to display content-sensitive and targeted ads without having the hassle to solicit advertisers, collect funds,
  • A short guide to help those who are new to writing argumentative essays.

Recommended sites

Most recent titles

Fast fact about writing

The history of human communication dates back to the earliest era of humanity. Symbols were developed about 30,000 years ago, and writing about 7,000.