From now through the end of 2020, I’m interviewing the authors and illustrators of the debut group Perfect 2020 PBs. Today, I’m chatting with the talented Nanette Heffernan, Author of Earth Hour, illustrated by Bao Luu and releasing from Charlesbridge in January 2020.
Congratulations on your-soon-to-be-released debut picture book! What exactly is “Earth Hour”?
Earth Hour is an annual lights-out celebration sponsored by the World Wildlife Fund for Nature
(WWF), that unites people across the planet against climate change. On a Saturday night near the
equinox in March, all over the world, at 8 :30 p.m., lights fade to black for this special event. In
Sydney, homes and restaurants—and even the famous Sydney Opera House—turn out their lights.
An hour later Tokyo goes dark. Two hours later it’s Beijing’s turn. Thousands of famous
monuments, from the Taj Mehal to the Eiffel Tower to the Golden Gate Bridge, unplug for the
How did the idea for this book come to you? Do you remember your “lightbulb” moment?
I first learned of Earth Hour while driving over the Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco, CA one
evening. The bridge went dark. When I found out it was for Earth Hour I was an instant fan. That
night the concept for the book was born, but it wasn’t until many drafts and 4 years later that my
wonderful editor, Julie Bliven, from Charlesbridge offered to publish the book.
So, have you always been a “writer”? And what other fields have you worked in?
I’ve considered myself a writer since elementary school. As a sales and marketing executive I’ve
written every thing from sales brochures, to websites, to advertising copy. Yet it wasn’t until I made
the decision to become a full-time writer that I got to write what I truly love, children’s literature.
But my marketing roots go deep—I love sales and marketing—so I am also an author marketing
coach and founder of Authors Posse. Debut groups are for debuts, Authors Posse is your forever
What do you like to write about, in general?
I love to write picture books about the environment and sustainability. I also love MG boy humor.
Can you describe a typical day in the life of Nanette?
Coffee. Hike with the dog. Tend the garden and chickens. Write or work on marketing for 5-6
hours. Help the kids with homework. Read for 2-3 hours. Repeat.
What feeds your creativity as an artist? Or helps you out of that “funk”?
Hiking. Lots and lots of hiking. 20-30 miles a week.
Any advice you can offer other creatives?
Being a creator is a tough business. So every day check in with yourself and make sure you are still
enjoying it. If you aren’t enjoying it then it’s time to reevaluate why you became an
Looking back over your writing career thus far, what was the most pivotal moment?
I will never forget when I got “the call” from my agent. I was waiting to see my oncologist for my
first round of chemotherapy for breast cancer. It was the absolute best call I could have gotten at
Oh my goodness! Yes, what a ray of hope! Your career was born…and now 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?
More eco picture books with a hint of humor. I LOVE funny picture books.
Wonderful, Nanette. Are there any promotional events we can look forward to meeting you at?
I’ll be touring the entire West Coast for the launch of EARTH HOUR. Also hopefully Denver and
Boston and maybe even as far as New York!
And in the meantime, where can we find out more about Earth Hour?
You can learn more about Earth Hour here: www.earthhour.org or www.NanetteHeffernan.com/books or www.earthhourthebook.com . During Earth Hour everyone, young and old, can make a pledge to do their part to help the environment. If you’ve made an Earth Hour pledge I hope you’ll share it with me at www.earthhourthebook.com (pledge page coming January 2020)
Thank you, Nanette! Here’s wishing you every future success.
These days, preorders are vital to a new author’s career. To support Nanette and her beautiful book, preorder Earth Hour through any of the following retailers: