Thursday, February 21, 2013

The Next Big Thing: Nonfiction Edition

For my INK blog this month, I am doing something a tiny bit different, although all the content is still nonfiction, and it is in honor of my new picture book about Elizabeth Blackwell, the first woman doctor in America, which came out this Tuesday. But I digress. What is the Next Big Thing? It is an author blog tour. What’s a blog tour? A blog tour gives those on the tour a chance to meet different authors by way of their blogs. The Next Big Thing began in Australia. Each week a different author answers specific questions about his or her upcoming book. The answers are posted on author’s blogs. Then we get to tag another author. On and on it goes.

The tour came to me from Manhattan. I was tagged by my friend Elizabeth Winthrop. She was tagged by her friend Eric Kimmel. I’ll tell you whom I’m tagging at the end.

Now for the questions.

What is the title of your next book?
Who Says Women Can’t Be Doctors? It is the story of Elizabeth Blackwell, who was the first woman doctor in America.

Where did the idea come from for the book?
I have done, and do, a lot of research on women’s history—especially in America. Elizabeth Blackwell’s story was one I came upon again and again. It was also one of those stories I tried to sell more than once but met with some resistance because Blackwell’s name is not instantly recognizable. I felt that was exactly why there should be a book about her!

What genre does your book fall under?
Most definitely picture book.

What actors would you choose to play the part of your characters in a movie rendition?
Keira Knightley would make a fabulous Elizabeth Blackwell, who was also British—although she is too tall in real life. But Knightley captures the spark and fire of Elizabeth well. Blackwell was a petite blonde, studious and serious, but a real risk-taker.

Who is publishing your book?
Christy Ottaviano Books/Henry Holt and Company (Macmillan Kids Books)

How long did it take you to write the first draft of the manuscript?
I never know how to answer this question! With picture books, especially, I tend to write a draft and stick it in a drawer for quite a long time, then pull it back out and work on it again, and repeat. A few years inevitably pass in this way.

Who or what inspired you to write this book?
Elizabeth Blackwell inspired me to write this book! There are older books about her, but it was time to get younger kids excited and let them know who this trailblazer was.

What else about the book might pique the reader’s interest?
I love Blackwell’s fire. The details I discovered about her toughness as a kid were a delight to find and kids will, I think, really be able to relate to some of the things she did as a child. Who Says Women Can't Be Doctors? hit bookshelves this past Tuesday, and I couldn't be happier.

For the next Next Big Thing, I am tagging the amazing and talented Deborah Heiligman. Her answers will be up soon.


Unknown said...

Tanya, what a great idea. Would readers of the blog be able to post follow up questions? Stay warm and think spring! (That last bit has nothing to do with anything but my craving for warmer weather)

Tanya Lee Stone said...

Now that I don't know! Great question, Jim. Wish I could be more helpful.

Geo Librarian said...

I just shared this book with groups of first graders in my school library. It resulted in some great conversations about women/girls and what they've been allowed to do and not been allowed to do. Thanks for writing such a fabulous book! I loved reading it and sharing it.

Liz said...

Loved this book! I enjoyed your conversational narration of this inspirational story. I can't wait to share it with teachers and students! (Loved the style of illustrations, too!, and didn't think I would. They fit perfectly with the story!)

Tanya Lee Stone said...

Thanks so much for your kind words!