Happy Thanksgiving Eve, Everyone! Today, I’m thankful to be chatting with 2020 Debut Crew-member Sharon Giltrow. Her very first book, Bedtime Daddy, (illustrated by Katrin Dreiling) debuts with EK Books on May 12th, 2020.
And congratulations on your first picture book! Tell us a little about Bedtime Daddy.
Putting a daddy to bed can be hard work, but it can be loads of fun too. This hilarious book shows how a child…
- wrestles their daddy into his pyjamas
- reads just one more bedtime story
- battles endless excuses….
- frightens away monsters with monster spray
to finally get their daddy to bed.
Ha! Sounds like the perfect Father’s Day gift, since Bedtime Daddy will release in plenty of time for that holiday.
Now, let’s back up a bit. The road to publication is so often “long and winding.” Was that the case for you?
Well I was practicing my writing and honing my skills for eleven years before writing BEDTIME DADDY in June 2017. Then I revised it with help from my fantastic critique group. Started submitting it in November 2017, which was too soon. I revised it again with more help from my critique group and a publisher’s critique and submitted it to EK Books in June 2018. I Received the email two weeks later and signed the contract two months later. Twenty-one months after signing the contract BEDTME DADDY will be released.
Do you remember the exact moment when you found out you were going to be published for the first time?
The email from EK Books the publisher of my debut PB BEDTIME DADDY came through July 2018 when I was on a road trip with my family to the picturesque Denmark in Western Australia. I checked my emails while my husband was driving and I saw the email from EK books saying that they were interested and was the manuscript still available. “YES, YES!” I screamed. I re-read the email three times and then read it aloud to my family. Then I tried to act calm, replied to the email and continued on my holiday. I checked that email over and over until I was convinced it was real. At that point I knew my dream of becoming a published author was about to come true.
Wonderful. And have you always been a “writer”? What other fields have you worked in, and what made you want to write professionally?
From the time I learnt how to write as a child, I was either copying text from my favourite books or making books myself. I lived on a farm and loved having little projects to do. I even turned my bedroom into a library and made library cards for my books, which I borrowed out. Then I grew up and because I wanted to surround myself with playing, books and children, so I became an early childhood teacher. It wasn’t until my first child was born in 2006 that I thought, “Hey, I should write my own children’s book.” My first manuscript was called Noises at Night based on all the household noises I heard when I was awake in the middle of the night feeding my daughter. That manuscript hasn’t been published (yet) but it set me on my path as a professional author. Now I get to be a teacher and a writer at the same time ?. I get paid to play, read stories and write stories– best life ever!
In your writing, what subjects do you usually focus on?
Because I am surrounded by children every day, I like to write about them and their everyday life and routines. At the moment I am really enjoying writing role reversal stories about adults and children and how to books, written in the second and first person point of views. Being a teacher and a parent, I know a lot about child development and what makes children tick ?. I also come from a very big family: I am the youngest of eight children, so I have lots and lots of nieces, nephews and even great nieces and nephews ranging from 47 years old to 3 months old. So, I guess in the true sense of the word children and parents are my target audience.
Indeed! So, what does a typical day in your life look like?
Depends on the day ?. Three days a week I teach. So I wake up get ready, get my children ready, teach (play) for 6 hours, come home, walk the dog, play with my own children, catch up on emails, help my children with homework, read to my son (My husband and I still read to him every night even though he is 10). On my writing days I wake up, get the kids off to school, check my bullet journal to see what I’m focussing on that day either writing, revising, submitting, critiquing or marketing or a combination of those. Then pick my kids up from school and begin the evening routines.
What feeds your creativity as an artist? Or helps you when you’re feeling “stuck”?
Gathering ideas. Listening to children. Reading to children. Walking my dog. These all spark my creativity.
What tips do you have for aspiring authors?
Be open to ideas. Write that first draft, just get the words down on paper. Then revise it.
Also, a critique group is essential to help with the revision process and for encouragement. Critiquing another person’s story is a great way of learning how to write. The final version for BEDTIME DADDY was version 10. It changed a lot from my first draft.
Finally READ, READ, READ, picture books. I get to do that as a teacher to an enthusiastic audience, which is the best. But everyone can visit libraries, book shops, etc. Read to your children, other people’s children, your pets, yourself ?.
Now, back to your debut: How did the idea of Bedtime Daddy come to you? Do you remember your lightbulb moment?
The idea came to me from my husband’s (Bedtime Daddy) and my experience of putting our children to bed every night for ten plus years. All the excuses that my main character uses are excuses my children have used to postpone bedtime. At the time, I was also reading funny memes and parenting articles about putting children to bed. I thought it would be hilarious to write a how-to, role reversal story about a child putting a parent to bed. BEDTIME DADDY was born. Although it was first called How to Put a Grown Up to Sleep, but a very wise critique partner pointed out that putting someone to sleep has two meanings. So version 6’s title changed to BEDTIME DADDY. It also became a pivotal line in the story.
Your dream of publishing your very first picture book is about to come true! What’s next? What do you still hope to accomplish in the future?
I hope to publish ten books in ten years ?. I have a number of polished manuscripts that I am currently submitting and I plan to write many more. Also, I am currently working on a chapter book which started out as a PB idea which I have extended. I plan to finish the first draft by the end of 2019 ?. Then revise, submit and get it published.
Any promotional events we can look forward to meeting you at?
I plan to launch my debut picture book BEDTIME DADDY in June 2020 in Perth Western Australia. But if you can’t make that one, I would love to meet readers anytime they are visiting Australia. I’m happy to do personal book readings and signings, so do reach out!
I am a member of the 2020 Debut Crew, which is a group of authors and illustrators that have debut picture books coming out in 2020. Here’s our website: https://2020debutcrew.weebly.com/
You can also find me on:
Thank you, Sharon! Here’s to all your future success!
These days, preorders are vital to a new author/illustrator’s career. To support Sharon Giltrow and her new release, preorder Bedtime, Daddy through any of the following retailers:
Sharon Giltrow grew up in South Australia, the youngest of eight children, surrounded by pet sheep and fields of barley. She now lives in Perth, WA with her husband, two children and a tiny dog.
When not writing, Sharon works with children with Developmental Language Disorder.
Sharon was awarded the Paper Bird Fellowship in 2019.
Her debut PB Bedtime Daddy, is due to be released May 2020 through EK books.