Guest Author: Katie Clark
Writing has been a passion of mine from the time I was a little girl. The first piece I remember writing was a song—and looking back, it was ridiculous! But I was so proud of that song, and I remember strolling through my leafy backyard, singing it to myself over and over.
As I became an adult, I continued writing. Writing children’s books happened by accident, but I quickly discovered I loved it! When the opportunity to write , a segment in the We Work! series with Bearport Publishing, came along it was a no-brainer. I had written lots of nonfiction pieces for kids’ magazines, as well as a handful of other nonfiction children’s books.
My first order of business was digging up any information I could find about police horses. This included how they’re chosen, the way they’re trained, what’s required of them, where they live, and more. It was a frustrating process, because I could find very little information on the subject.
That’s when I realized I needed to do a personal interview. The thought made my bones shake! I liked writing because I could do it alone, at my own pace. Speaking with someone else would likely be an inconvenience for the other person, and no one would want to help me—at least this is what I told myself.
Since the contract had been signed, though, I had no choice. Racking my brain, I remembered an online friend who worked in her local sheriff’s horse division several years ago. She was happy to help me, and we set up an email question and answer.
This personal interview gave me a wealth of information! Not only that, but my friend was thrilled to talk about something that had been an enjoyable part of her life. With her help, the book was finished and sent along to my editors at Bearport.
The editors loved it! They didn’t even ask for any changes.
The interview process was such a hit, in my opinion, that I was happy to try it again for Animal Actors, my next book with Bearport. I searched for anyone who might be in this business, but I couldn’t come up with a solid lead. In fact, after emailing several different types of experts I never secured a single interview. Bummer!
Throughout the process I definitely learned an important lesson—not everyone will say “yes”, but the ones who do will make the whole process worth it. When you know you have a credible source, it’s so much fun to turn in your completed manuscript with a shiny expert endorsement. If you’re on the brink of writing nonfiction, I encourage you to step out and seek those expert interviews. It’s worth the jitters!
Katie Clark’s published works include multiple children’s books, including A Tour of Your Muscular and Skeletal Systems, Animal Actors, Police Horses, and more. She is anticipating the release of her first YA science fiction novel, Vanquished, through Pelican Book Group. She is available for classroom visits and Skype chats to discuss her books. You can learn more at her website, www.katieclarkwrites.com.