Caroline Starr Rose is a middle grade and picture book author whose books have been ALA-ALSC Notable,* Junior Library Guild, ABA New Voices,** Kids’ Indie Next, Amazon’s Best Books of the Month for Kids, and Bank Street College of Education Best Books selections. In addition, her books have been nominated for almost two dozen state award lists. Caroline was named a Publisher’s Weekly Flying Start Author for her debut novel, May B. She spent her childhood in the deserts of Saudi Arabia and New Mexico and taught social studies and English in four different states. Caroline now lives with her husband and two sons in New Mexico.
*American Library Association – Association for Library Service to Children
**American Booksellers Association
(A chatty version in first person)
I spent my childhood in the deserts of Saudi Arabia and New Mexico, camping at the Red Sea in one and eating red chile in the other. As a girl I danced ballet, raced through books about Laura Ingalls, Anne Shirley, Ramona Quimby, and Taran the Assistant Pig Keeper, put on magic shows in a homemade cape, and wrote poetry on a hand-me-down typewriter. Our house was open to all kinds of people, and family dinners often included exchange students, folks down on their luck, missionaries, or friends passing through.
At fifteen, I moved to Australia as an exchange student, where I camped in the Outback, climbed Uluru (also known as Ayers Rock), held a koala, and got bitten by an emu. My Vegemite advice? Spread it thinly on buttered toast.
Kangaroo heart to heart
I’ve taught both social studies and English in New Mexico, Florida, Virginia, and Louisiana, and worked to instill in my students a passion for books, the freedom to experiment with words, and a curiosity about the past.
Vacuum tubes can double as great alien outerwear
Now back in Albuquerque with my family, I write to honor childhood through the stories I create.
Is MAY B. your first book?
It’s my first published book. Four novel manuscripts + six picture book manuscripts x fourteen years = MAY B. My second book, one of those six picture book manuscripts, is called OVER IN THE WETLANDS. I published a chapter from my second novel manuscript as part of the anthology BEEN THERE DONE THAT. The rest of those manuscripts lead nowhere (but were a key part in my writing apprenticeship).
Will you read my work and give me feedback?
Yes, if you are interested in hiring me for a professional critique. You can read more about the process here. Otherwise, I don’t read or offer feedback on unsolicited manuscripts. I have an established group of critique partners I’ve formed relationships with over the years who both sharpen my skills and allow me to help them strengthen theirs. It’s a wonderful give and take built on trust and mutual hard work. I encourage you to do the same!
Any advice on getting published?
- Join a professional organization, such as SCBWI (the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators), RWA (Romance Writers of America) or ACW (American Christian Writers), where you can meet others pursuing publication and can learn from those who are already published. SCBWI has chapters in every state (and a number of international branches, as well). Through organizations like these, you can make personal connections, find critique partners, attend conferences, receive newsletters and get access to detailed information on agents, editors, and the like.
- Read everything. Then read some more.
- Understand it could take a long, long time (and many more manuscripts than you ever thought). Or maybe it won’t. Every book has its own journey as does every author.
- Remember you have something unique to say, and your writing can only improve if you keep at it.
- Find a critique partner or critique group.
- Read up on craft and the writing life. Some of my personal favorites are SECOND SIGHT by Cheryl Klein, THE WRITER’S JOURNEY by Christopher Vogler, THE FOREST FOR THE TREES by Betsy Lerner, and NOVEL METAMORPHOSIS by Darcy Pattison.
- Commit these four words to memory: endurance, patience, commitment, passion.
- This article, Advice for Publishing a Children’s Book, pretty much covers it all. Here’s another good one: How to Get Your Book Published. If you’re hoping for a magic formula, Avi’s words are a good reminder of the hard work the writing life requires. Jody Hedlund has wise advice for novice writers. Laurie Purdie Salas has one with frequently asked questions from KitLit writers. And here’s a list called the Young Writers Guide to Publications.