Welcome Nadia! What inspired you to write GOODNIGHT GANESHA and how long did it take you to write? I saw a virtual presentation you did and I recall you being inspired by a classic story, but really putting your unique spin on it.
My child inspired me to write GOODNIGHT GANESHA. We were reading Margaret Wise Brown’s classic, Goodnight Moon, one night. While reading, my child asked, “Why don’t we have bedtime stories with our nighttime routine in it or that showcase our culture?” I replied, “Someone hasn’t written that story yet.” And of course, the next question, “You’re a writer, why not YOU Mammie?” That night, I got the idea for GOODNIGHT GANESHA. I immediately started writing. The title came to me first, then the story. It was in October of 2017. By the time I rewrote it, revised it through my critique group, landed an agent in 2018, revised some more, and went out on sub – it was January 2019.
Tell us about the moment you found out this book was going to be published! What was it like working with Philomel?
The moment I found out I was going to be published was quite magical. It played out like a fairytale. I happened to be at my agency’s 13th annual retreat in July of 2019 in Redwing, Minnesota. I decided to dress up that night and wore a green party gown. We were about to go into the ballroom for our dinner party, when my agent pulls me aside before I could enter the room. She reached out and took my hand. She said she had something important to tell me. It felt like she was about to propose to me. And with the biggest smile, she said, “We have an offer on Goodnight Ganesha!” I couldn’t believe my ears. We both teared up and hugged. I could barely feel my legs after that. The next morning, she emailed me, “Did you think you dreamed it?? It’s really real!!! “
It’s a moment I’ll never forget.
Working with Philomel was such a dream. Our editor and all the teams we collaborated with took great care in respecting the story and the vision behind the book.
How long did it take you to find your agent? How did you know she was the perfect fit to champion your work?
I don’t have an exact time, because I queried intermittently. I also queried when I had NO BUSINESS querying – meaning, my writing wasn’t ready. But from the time I joined SCBWI and felt my writing was more polished, I’d say two years.
However, the real story is… my agent found me on #Pitmad. I happened to be in the right place at the right time, and the ‘force’ was with me.
I knew she was the perfect fit based on our unfiltered conversation, her vision for some of the stories I felt would be tough to work with, and her openness to my eclectic body of work.
What has it been like doing virtual and in-person school visits?
I haven’t done in-person school visits yet due to the pandemic. I have been doing virtual visits and events. I did WRAD Readings for World Read Aloud Day and a camp out with Homer Public Library. These virtual visits allowed us to be as creative as we wanted. I also mentor Mrs. Sahagian’s Kinder/First grade class with Ellington Elementary School through the #KidsNeedMentors program. We have been able to do a lot of readings, fun projects via video, and virtual meet-ups on Fridays.
I am available only for Virtual School Visits. Requests visits through my contact page on my website: https://www.nadiasalomon.com/contact.html
What advice would you give to aspiring kidlit authors?
Be open to being an eternal student. There’s always room for growth and honing of your writing skills. Keep taking classes. Exchange ideas with everyone around you. Because there’s always something new to learn. And remember, even a child can be your teacher. You just have to be ‘open’.
Get cozy, cuddle up and click the image below to watch Nadia’s live storytime for GOODNIGHT GANESHA on the Eric Carle Museum of Picture Book Art’s Facebook channel: