Welcome to the Winners’ Circle where we celebrate the success of our ICL students. Today we are celebrating published author Angela LaCarrubba!
What are the titles of your books? Who is the publisher?
Nobody’s Purr-fect (Especially Not Georgie) is the title of my book. The publisher is Christian Faith Publishing.
Dancing with the Truth is the title of my second book which will be published later in the summer. The publisher is Christian Faith Publishing.
Give us a short summary of your book.
The LoSanto family cat is an anomaly and Grandma LoSanto wants a perfect cat. Since he is not perfect she is unhappy with him. One day Georgie goes missing and the two boys in the family, their father, and the two Lo Santo grandparents engage in a long search to no avail. Observe the family members as they search for Georgie, the cat. Watch Grandma as she sees how her grandsons agonize over Georgie’s disappearance.
Tell us a bit about your path to publishing, from idea to submission to published book.
Our family cat went missing one day. The extreme worry and sadness that this caused enabled me to create this story. It was important to me to create a story that had a message. Love and acceptance are the two important themes in this story. After working on the story for seven months I submitted it to the publisher. I then went to Chicago on vacation to visit friends. While I was in Chicago I received an email expressing a desire to talk about the story. When I returned home there were three voice messages. The publisher wanted to turn my manuscript into a book and I was very happy to do so. This involved editing on the part of the publisher and me, working on illustrations, working on the cover, and handling all the other details connected to publishing. From start to finish this process took 19 months. It was all very interesting and a lot of fun!
My second book was inspired by a former student of mine who chose to keep his professional dancing career from his classmates for the same reason that Jake did. I wrote this storyover three months and the publishing process is taking about 10 months.
How long have you been writing?
It has been 13 years since I seriously began writing.
What’s your favorite genre to write and why?
My favorite genre is children’s literature because I can draw on my 26 years of teaching. I worked with children between the ages of five and ten. And I like creating stories with subtle messages that might help children in this age group.
What ICL courses have your taken?
I started at Long Ridge Writers Group (now known as Institute for Writers) and took Shape, Write, and Sell Your Novel. Upon completion of this course I took Writing for Children and Teens at the Institute of Children’s Literature.
How has taking our course helped your writing and/or career?
The two courses I took helped me to become more disciplined with my writing. In an effort to “show not tell,” I try to write scenes that enable the reader to visualize story events then feel their own emotions without me interfering and telling them what to feel. Secondly, I’ve learned to be fierce with my editing. I no longer fall in love with words or sentences that I refuse to delete. If the words are not advancing the plot in a good way or if they are redundancies they must go. Finally, since I had to describe with details each of the 13 illustrations in my book for the design team, this discipline enabled me to write my way into descriptive writing that complemented the story.
Have any of your class assignments been published?
I’ve not submitted any of my classwork for publication.
Do you have a favorite writing tip you’d like to share?
I’m sure I’m not the first writer to put herself within the story. Inside my head I like to pretend I’m there along with the main character and see where it takes me. While doing this I can sense when a thought, word, or action seems contrived. It helps me to keep it real.
If you could travel back in time and give yourself one piece of writing advice, how far back would you go, and what would you tell yourself?
I would go back to when I started taking my course work and tell myself to include more factual details in my story both to teach and to make the story more authentic. In Nobody’s Purr-fect (Especially Not Georgie), there are tips about caring for cats. In Dancing with the Truth, there are some descriptions and illustrations that show ballet moves.
Please tell us the best or most valuable thing you learned from your experience with ICL.
Previously I referred to “show not tell” as an important writing technique. I have found that this helps me to keep my opinions to myself and enables the reader to form opinions. But more importantly this technique carries the reader on a special journey of discovery.
What do you want children to gain from reading your story?
There are a few things I hope children gain when they read my story. First, I’d like them to realize that we can love animals and each other even though we are not perfect or we are different from each other. This realization can lead to love and acceptance. I’d like them to learn how to engage with their pets and become actively involved in their care. I’d also like them to broaden their circle of friends and acquaintances so they include children who are not identical to themselves. I’d like them to see how families can work together to solve a problem. Lastly, I’d like them to understand that respectfulness and responsibility are important characteristics to possess.
Angela LaCarrubba is a retired elementary school teacher who lives in New Jersey. She is a wife, mother, mother-in-law,grandmother, sister, aunt, niece, cousin, friend, writer, reader, volunteer, cook, quilter, traveler, exerciser, mah-jongg player, and developer of spirituality. She believes life is a privilege that carries great responsibility toward others.