Thursday, September 27, 2012

Banana Peelin' with Deborah Underwood


The last few weeks I have had the authors of some of my most favorite books on the blog to celebrate my first year writing for children. As sad as I am that the month is coming to an end, it just wouldn't be any kind of celebration without hosting the author of one of my most cherished reads, The Quiet Book. 

After reading it for the first time, I sat and stared at the last page for what seemed like the longest quiet moment of my life, just marveling at the book's brilliance and perfectness. I began to stalk the book at the library. I would return it every other week just to check it out again. Thank goodness they picked up another copy for their shelves. (Little Timmy and I would surely have had a run in had they not!) It wasn't until a couple of months ago that I bought my very own copy. It is one of the books that sits on my desk, out of reach from MY CHILDREN (I know, so ironic and evil) reminding me what magical pieces of art picture books really are. With that said, I am so grateful to have the wonderful Deborah Underwood on the blog today!


I’ve made plenty of mistakes in my children’s writing career, but my biggest banana peel moment took place before I started writing for kids. It went something like this.

INT. APARTMENT - DAY

I decide I’m going to be a world-famous screenwriter. Knowing that film industry success is built on personal connections, I dutifully contact my college alumni office to ask if any graduates work in the film industry.

CUT TO:

 The alumni office sends me the names of several film industry people, and I mail a letter to each one, asking them for advice. Do I take two minutes to research what they DO before I write to them? Nooooooo.

 CUT TO:

 A few months later, my phone rings. The guy on the other end of the line says he got my letter and is calling to check in and see how I am doing. I tell him what I’ve been working on, and then, in what turns out to be the most mortifying sentence I ever utter, I ask him exactly what his connection to the film industry is. Since I didn’t do my research, I don’t know if he’s a sound designer, or a key grip, or what. He tells me he is a writer, we chat for a few more minutes, then we hang up.

 CUT TO:

 I search for him online to find out if he's actually had any of his films produced. Well, it turned out that he has. One of them was a little movie called The Sting. It won that screenwriting award thingy--what’s it called? Oh yeah. An Oscar.

 
MONTAGE:

Me whacking my head against my table, me yelling, me pacing around my apartment, me muttering to myself, me drafting a groveling letter of apology for not having done my homework.

 
If I'd known who he was, maybe I would have had some useful questions prepared. Instead, I wasted an amazing opportunity and felt like a total idiot, to boot.

 
I learned a heck of a lesson, though. I’ve had to do a number of interviews for my kids’ magazine and nonfiction work, and I’ve prepared like a maniac for every one of them. If you prepare, you get better material from the subjects--and frankly, it’s just good manners. You shouldn’t make an Oscar-winning writer explain to you that he’s a writer; that’s just wasting his time. Likewise, you shouldn’t make a scientist explain elementary facts about her field that are easily accessible online.

 So all in all, my banana peel moment may have been worth the slip. I met the writer years ago at an alumni event, and he seemed to have forgotten the incident, or at least graciously pretended he did. But I still can’t watch The Sting, which I love, without an inner wince.

 

Now, I know what you are thinking. When the heck is the Christmas Quiet Book coming out? ( I have wondered this many times myself.) Well, ONE lucky dog (or person) has the chance to win this newest book of Deborah's by doing one or more of the following:
 
1. Tweet a blurb about the gist of the Banana Peelin' blog series (eg. what one can find here.)
2. Promote the Banana Peelin' series on Facebook
3. Become a follower of the blog
4. Like my Facebook page 
5. Or if you're really feelin' gutsy, you can post a blurb about the perks of the Banana Peelin' series on your own blog. (Two extra points for that!!!)
 
Please mention which of the following you have done in a comment below. Each promotional act will get your name entered one time, so if you do all five, you'll have a better chance at winning the book!  Best of luck!

29 comments:

  1. I tweeted it, Elizabeth.
    How fun to learn you almost became a screenwriter, Deborah. But I'm glad you wrote these wonderful pb's instead!

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  2. Ah doing homework is always good. Thanks for sahring your experience and your work Deborah. I tweeted and G+ed it. I follow the blog by email.

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  3. Looks darling. Loved the interview and the big slip Deborah shared with us!!!! I tweeted and shared on FB. I follow by email.

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  4. Thank you for sharing such a great interview, The Quiet Book is a wonderful book. I Tweeted and am now following your blog. :)

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    1. So great to see you here Abigail! Thanks for the tweet as well!

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  5. Ahh, Deborah, We have so much in common (When it comes to not fully doing my research and homework first)...lol
    I tweeted, shared on fb, following your blog and Liked your fb page :)

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  6. Thanks for sharing Deborah and a valuable lesson for all of us.

    Thanks Beth! I tweeted about it.

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    1. Thanks for the comment and the tweet Darshana!

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  7. I'm so happy I noticed Penny's shout-out about this post! I would have missed an amazing interview with Deborah Underwood...you have a wonderful blog here, Elisabeth!
    Thanks for sharing your 'banana peelin' moment, Deborah...it is a wonderful lesson for all of us. :)
    I already follow your blog...and I tweeted this and posted it to FB and google+ and also liked you on FB.:)

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    1. Thanks so much Vivian! I appreciate the posts and the like! =)

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  8. I absolutely loved this post! Thanks to Deborah for sharing her banana peel moment.

    I tweeted, and posted on my Facebook timeline and on my Facebook author page. I already follow your blog and like your FB page, so I guess I can't do those over again, huh?

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    1. Yay! Thanks Beth! I loved this post too. So lucky to have Deborah on. =)

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  9. Great banana-peelin moment! Lesson learned!! I tweeted a blurb (@brite1010) and Liked your Facebook page.

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  10. Well, the internet and I are having major issues right now. First my Twitter and FB got hacked, then, after I fixed it, Twitter shut my account out, plus half the world can't comment on my blog but I totally want this book, so I will try! Thanks for a great Banana Peel moment, Elizabeth and Deborah - I'm sorry it happened but that was a great story! :)

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    1. Doesn't the internet know how much business you bring it?! How could it do this to you? =( So sorry to hear about your challenges. So frustrating when that happens. You are in the running for the book though!! Best of luck!

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  11. Great post and a great lesson to show how important it is to research. I love the cover of the new book, I'm a follower of your blog, thanks for the giveaway!

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    1. Oops, I forgot, I also like your FB page. Yeah, 2 entries! :)

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    2. YE-AH! Thanks so much Jennifer! You got it! Two entries. =)

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  12. Great slip up with a valuable lesson. Yikes.
    I follow your blog and I believe I liked your fb page just the other day, well, just because I like you but if it helps me win this book, all the better. And I'll tweet it right now.
    Thanks Deborah & Elizabeth!

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    1. Well, Dana extra point for you just for liking me! ;) Thanks so much for your support!

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  13. I had the same reaction to that book, Elizabeth! I just LOVE it, and hid it away from my destructive boys until they can appreciate its brilliance. :)

    Deborah, what a nightmare! I've done a similar thing, and you just want to give your own tush a good, hard kick. That's a lesson you don't need to learn more than once. Thank you for sharing, and for the joy that is THE QUIET BOOK. :)

    I tweeted and FB'd, and I'm already a subscriber AND a "liker", so I think I'm covered. Thanks for another great guest, ESO!

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    1. Oh good Renee. It's good to know I am not alone in my book conservation efforts. =) Thanks so much for the shout outs, RLT!

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  14. Thank you for sharing your banana peel moment, Deborah. That was a tough one!

    Another great guest, Elizabeth. This is one of my favorite blog series out there. I never miss reading it!

    I tweeted, facebooked and Google +ed the post. I already follow your blog and like your facebook page :)

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    1. Yay! So glad you enjoy it Heather. =) Thanks so, so much for the shout outs. You are in the running for the Xmas Quiet Book! Best of luck! xox

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