I am so excited to share this fun interview with you! Lilly Belle had the opportunity to ask author, Renee Beauregard Lute, questions about being an author. Renee is one of my real-life friends and an incredible writer. I am thrilled to get to share her newest book with you all! The Exceptional Maggie Chowder hits a warm spot with us. It takes place in the town next to the where we lived for 7 years and started our life together. Lilly Belle loves that Maggie is a powerful girl with some of the same qualities that she contains. It has been a blast to read together. Lilly Belle often stops me so that she can act out the voices or silly parts 🙂
Lilly Belle thinks it is just the coolest thing that we are reading a book written by one of our actual Seattle friends. Check out their interview here!
Lilly Belle: How did you turn your story into a book with a cover and pages?
Renee: Oh man, that’s a good question. My job was to write the story and the comic strips (which were *so* much fun), but so many other people were involved in turning it into this beautiful book! The team at Albert Whitman & Co. came up with the book design, and Luna Valentine did the cover and comic art! She’s amazing. Then the book went to the printer, and that’s where it became a BOOK book! (There is nothing more exciting than seeing my story become a real book!)
Lilly Belle: Is there a machine? Is there a factory?
Renee: There totally is! There are some videos on YouTube that show books being printed at the printer, and it is a fascinating process to watch!
Lilly Belle: Do you have to be a good reader to write a story?
Renee: I think you have to be someone who loves stories in order to write them. But you can be a story-lover of any age or reading level!
Lilly Belle: How did you come up with the idea for your story?
Renee: Years ago, when my eight-year-old was just a baby, our family moved from our house in Barrington, Rhode Island (our first house! I loved it so much!) to a n apartment in Issaquah, Washington. We moved for my husband’s job, and I honestly had some trouble adjusting. We didn’t have a yard anymore, and we didn’t have our house anymore. So I started dreaming up this story then – a story about a girl whose family goes through a big move from their house to an apartment. It was my way of working out my own feelings about it. And actually, Maggie’s apartment in The Exceptional Maggie Chowder is extremely similar to our old apartment in Issaquah, blackberries and all!
Lilly Belle: I used to live in Issaquah, too! That’s where I was born! I pick blackberries in Washington at my Nana and Papa’s house! What was your favorite book when you were little?
Renee: Lilly Belle, you have the best questions. My favorite book then and now is Anne of Green Gables. It’s another book about a girl going through some very big changes!
Lilly Belle: That book is on my list to read now! After you write your story…What happens next?
Renee: After I write my story, my critique group reads it and gives me feedback, and my husband reads it and makes some suggestions. (He’s a really good editor, which is awfully handy.) I change it a little bit, then I send it to my literary agent. She asks for more changes, and we edit together. Then we go “on submission,” which means we send the book (called a “manuscript” before it’s a book) to different publishers and hope that one of them loves it and wants to publish it!
Lilly Belle: How do you get your book in stores?
Renee: Buyers for bookstores purchase books from publishers, and put them in their stores. I love seeing my books in libraries and stores!
Lilly Belle: How do you know if your sentences are all right?
Renee: My critique partner, husband, agent, editor, and copy editor all help to make sure there aren’t any mistakes or typos. (Thank goodness!)
Lilly Belle: What was your favorite part of writing this book?
Renee: Probably writing the comics! I love comics and graphic novels, and creating a world for The Exceptional Eagirl was so much fun!
Lilly Belle: That sounds like so much fun! I think I want to write a comic now! Thank you so much for answering all of my questions, Renee!
We hope you all enjoyed this interview and learned a lot, I know we did! Go check out Renee’s newest book, The Exceptional Maggie Chowder on Amazon! We know you’re going to love it 🙂