By Maggie Apostolis
Tell us a bit about yourself.
It was a great experience. I’ve always regarded myself as Asian American and all that comes along with it, but being able to go to China and experience the true Asian culture was an experience I was so blessed to have had. Many of my stories revolve around Chinese culture.
How long have you dabbled with writing?
Were you always interested in children’s books?
Did you have a favorite book or author from childhood that shaped you as a writer?
Do you have specific audiences you are trying to reach/who do you write for?
What is your favorite subject to play within kid lit? Do you like heavier topics or to keep it light?
People can tend to be sensitive when it comes to heavy topics, and you have to be sensitive when it comes to children. But I don’t know. I kind of don’t want to fall victim to playing it safe with the more controversial topics. I think there is a lot of value in hard-hitting lessons, such as kids being mean to each other and that we can find ways to express it that feel good to read. It’s all about moving the main character so they can become the hero they are meant to be.
How was the PBParty successful for you?
Since I moved back to America in July, I’ve been dabbling in contests when I could. I never did a PB Party before when I was in China, and to be honest, I had no idea what I was getting into. Which may sound naive, but I had no idea what it was. I am not on social media, so I just kind of went headfirst into the contest. But I was so excited when I became a finalist. I thought I was just going to get a conversation with an editor or an agent. But then, about a week later, I checked the blog posts and reread them, where I saw that editors and agents would possibly request manuscripts. And because I hadn’t checked, there were TEN requests in my inbox!!
At the end of the year last year, I also enrolled in the 12 x 12 contest in hopes of winning a scholarship for the program, and I won, which was incredibly exciting. But the PB Party was different. You become a finalist, and you are suddenly a winner. There were forty and fifty finalists out of the over one thousand contestants who applied. I was so excited to see my inbox pouring in. I was so surprised, but I sent what I had to, and the first one I sent was immediately rejected. But the next four requested more of my work. So, it was a roller coaster. I was excited one minute and then remembered that the rejections were also lurking around the corner.
But now I am with Marisa, who has been wonderful. I’m really excited to continue writing and learning about the process.
Is there anything you want to tell other writers who may be interested in the same event?
The final question is there any advice you can offer to aspiring writers who may read this?