Interview of Nancy Carty Lepri
Children's Author of "Tiny Angel"
with J. Aday Kennedy
Nancy Carty Lepri
Blog Address: http://nancycl.webs.com/apps/blog/
Website Address: http://nancycl.webs.com/
Nancy Carty Lepri is a North Carolina transplant having been born and raised in Massachusetts. Two years after her marriage to Art Lepri, they, along with their three-month-old daughter, Danielle, moved to FL where they lived for six years until transferring to LA for five years. Moving back to MA, they settled on Cape Cod where Nancy worked as an editorial assistant for a publisher, and continued her studies.
Nancy earned an AA degree in Visual Art from Cape Cod Community College, and a BA in Liberal Studies, with a concentration in writing, from Western New England College.
She is also a certified editor.
Before completing her degrees, she freelanced as a reporter for several local newspapers.
After moving to NC in 1995, Nancy continued freelancing for local, national and international trade magazines, taught online writing and art courses, illustrated children’s books, started, but not completed, four mainstream novels, and wrote her children’s chapter book, “Tiny Angel.”
... Interview ...
Aday: How long have you been writing and submitting picture books?
Nancy: This is actually the first children’s book I have written. I have illustrated several over the years, though I started writing “Tiny Angel” before I left MA in 1995, but other things got in the way of completing and submitting this manuscript.
Aday: I read at your site that you are hoping this will evolve into a series. Will each book follow the same theme or will they change? How many books are you planning on writing?
Nancy: I plan to write a book for each child characterized in “Tiny Angel” giving me three additional books, which I may expand on further if I find the books are well accepted. Each child has their own differences and problems, and I want to touch on all of them. And, each child will also have their own guardian angel to guide them as well as maybe frustrate them, but they will learn a valuable lesson from them as well as gain much-needed confidence.
Aday: What will be your method(s) for promoting/marketing Tiny Angel?
Nancy: I have set up three blogs to promote my book, and they are mentioned on Facebook, Goodreads, JacketFlap and MySpace. I plan to contact a few local schools as well as my library to promote Macy’s story.
Truthfully, having mostly been on the other end of publishing dealing with editing and such, I never realized marketing and promoting was so much work!
My main focus is on writing my next book in the series, and I’ll need to carve out some time to do in-depth research, but if you have any suggestions, I’m open to them!
Aday: Do you plan to illustrate all the books you write? How would you react to a publisher that wanted to use a different artist?
Nancy: I would like to illustrate all my books if possible. I had a bit of a challenge with “Tiny Angel” for I went through an emotionally hard time, having just lost my dear mother, and it seemed like I had an “artist block”.
But my main concern is getting my story out there, so if a publisher suggested another artist for my book, I’d say, “Go for it.”
While I find illustrations are helpful, they have to enhance the text, not detract from it, and I’d want the best illustrations possible. If I was to go with another artist, I’d be thrilled to work with and meet someone else.
Aday: Where besides your blog and website can we see your illustrations?
Nancy: At this point the only other places my illustrations are available are on my Facebook page and JacketFlap.com. I’d be more than happy to submit to other venues, but I’d need to research to find where they would be accepted.
Aday: What advice would you give someone that writes and illustrates their own work?
Nancy: I’d say NEVER GIVE UP! Believe in yourself too. Find a good critique group. I have been working with several authors for many years and they have helped me get through the writing angst. I couldn’t have accomplished all I have without their guidance and candor, and I am very thankful for their advice.
Also, you have to develop a thick skin. Writing and illustrating is so personal—you’re trying to sell a part of your heart and soul—and not everyone is going to like or accept what you do. Try not to take it personally, and realize everyone has different tastes, likes and ideas. If you get rejected, keep trying. There IS a publisher out there who will take a chance on you and give you the break you’re looking for. I could paper my office with all the rejection slips I’ve gotten, but you only need one acceptance.
Aday: How does your writing and illustrating process unfold? (do you write the entire book first? Draw and write simultaneously? Draw enough to get a visual of the characters?)
Nancy: I started writing “Tiny Angel” many years ago, as I mentioned above, and left it and went back to it many times. I’ve also rewritten it many times, which drove me crazy, but I remember one of my college professors commenting, “It’s not the writing that’s hard, it’s the rewriting and rewriting and rewriting.” You get the picture.
I also made the mistake of writing by the “seat of my pants” …sitting down and writing without any plan or outline, which caused a lot of chaos in my work. My first draft was too long and too involved and I could have made several books out of that draft, but I’ve since acknowledged I need to plot out my story before I sit down to write it.
With regard to illustrating…my wonderful publisher had seen my previous work and gave me the go-ahead to illustrate “Tiny Angel”. As I mentioned, it was a difficult time for me and I came up with several illustrations, none of which satisfied me, but we finally decided on a finished product. If I hadn’t been filled with grief, I probably would have completed an illustration for every chapter. Hopefully with my next book, I will have gotten my drawing muse back!
But to answer your question…the writing come first, then the illustrations are completed after the text is done and approved.
Aday: Good luck with Tiny Angel. I wish you success with the series.
Nancy: Thank you so very much! I am excited to have had the opportunity to have this book published. The story is very close to my heart, and I have dedicated this book to my mother, Emily Carty. She instilled the love of reading in me at a very young age as well as the desire to write. This is my tribute to her.