Interview with Eileen Goldenberg, author of 'Pinkie McCloud and How She Saved Ballooze'

Eileen Goldenberg is an award-winning artist and illustrator residing in Tampa, Florida. As a lover of Children’s Picture books, her dream has always been to enter into this  field. With the publication of her first book, Pinkie McCloud and How She Saved Ballooze, she can now add author and illustrator of children's literature to her long list of accomplishments.

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About the Book:

Title: Pinkie McCloud and How She Saved Ballooze
Author: Eileen Goldenberg
Publisher: Guardian Angel Publishing
Pages: 32
Genre: Children’s Picture Book

Chloe LeQuinn was quick to judge the new girl in town, Pinkie McCloud. She and her friends made fun of Pinkie because of the tiny pink wings sprouting from her head. However, when a terrible Katrina- like storm hits the town of Balooze, it's Pinkie who saves Chloe and the rest of the townsfolk. Suggested age range for readers: 4-7

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  • Pinkie McCloud and How She Saved Ballooze is available at Amazon.
  • Discuss this book at PUYB Virtual Book Club at Goodreads.

Q: Welcome to The Writer's Life!  Now that your book has been published, we’d love to find out more about the process.  Can we begin by having you take us at the beginning?  Where did you come up with the idea to write your book?

It was inspired by a combination of my harrowing experience of transferring halfway through 7th grade from a school up north to a school in South Tampa and one afternoon, my son’s indignant protests that his friend had gotten into trouble for “teasing a new kid”. As I explained to my son what it felt like to be that kid, alone and either teased or ignored, I wondered if this seed could be planted in a much younger child. I decided to write a story in the spirit of one of my favorites, Dr. Suess. A character I had painted for a charity event a few years earlier, a young girl with wings on her head, became my heroine, and a Katrina-like storm became my climax. I’ve been a working artist all my life, and my work usually has some kind of narrative. I always thought I’d love to illustrate, but I’ve also always loved to write, and often incorporated words into my art. So, I painted a few illustrations based on scenes in the book.

Q: How hard was it to write a book like this and do you have any tips that you could pass on which would make the journey easier for other writers?

The book flowed out of me in an afternoon. However when I googled “I’ve written a picture book, now what?” I realized the massive amount of work that was ahead of me. First I joined SCBWI. (Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators) There I learned I needed to belong to a critique group, so I applied to an online rhyming group, and since there wasn’t one in my area- started a local group for other children’s book writers. (We are still meeting over ten years later and have all had success in the field!) I attended SCBWI conferences, a week -long writer’s workshop with a well-known author, and a Highlights retreat. I learned how to make a book dummy, how to edit, revise and then revise some more, and only then, to start the process of submission to agents and editors. I finally sent it out to three different publishers and heard from one of them with a contract offer within a month. Unfortunately after this publisher having the book for a few years, the deal fell through; I paid back my advance and started all over again. I was pretty determined at this point. A tip for other aspiring writers? Spend a lot of time in the library and bookstore checking out what kids love to read these days.

Q: Who is your publisher and how did you find them or did you self-publish?

Guardian Angel Publishing. I illustrated Rainbow of Friendship for them, published right before Pinkie. I illustrated another book coming out soon by the same author, Joni Klein-Higger. It’s also published by Guardian Angel and is called I have a Voice.

Q: Is there anything that surprised you about getting your first book published?

How fast I was able to find a publisher. And when that first deal fell through, how long it took to find a second publisher!

Q: What other books (if any) are you working on and when will they be published?

I have about five other picture books in various stages of completion. They have themes ranging from an entitled Eloise-like city dog, to a young vampire, to a precocious girl with two daddies. My critique group helps me edit to perfection. I am hoping they all find a home with a publisher one day.

Q: What’s your favorite place to hang out online?

SCBWI, various art and writers’ sites, Facebook, NPR and Huffington Post.

Q: What’s your nightly ritual before retiring for the night?

Check my e-mail, check in with my kids- I have Alana in LA and Alex in NYC, and snuggle with my King Charles Cavalier, Stella.  Then I will either read my current novel, or watch a cable show on HBO or Showtime with my husband of almost thirty years, Bruce.

Q: Finally, what message (if any) are you trying to get across with your book?

Simple-be nice to the new kid!
Q: Thank you again for this interview!  Do you have any final words?

I’d love for you to check out my author/illustrator Facebook page:
And I’d like to say, thanks so much for allowing me to participate in this forum. I’m passionate about children’s literature and firmly believe it makes a difference in any child’s life that is lucky enough to get lost in the pages of a book. 
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