Monday, June 15, 2009

Craft, Career & Cheer: Lorie Ann Grover

Learn about Lorie Ann Grover.

Could you describe the best experience you've had working with an editor?

I have worked with amazing editors from Margarget K. McElderry, Little Simon, and Scholastic. However, the one who I hold first in my heart is Emma Dryden.

Emma found me in a slush pile back in 1999. She coaxed me out and told me that the picture book I had written really was meant to be a novel. Through revision after revision, she helped me layer my story like I was building up a sculpture on a wire armature.

I can actually remember her saying, "And now it’s time to name the main character, Lorie Ann."

Emma believed in my words and helped them to fly. Our first work together was Loose Threads (McElderry, 2002). I was writing about the death of my grandmother from breast cancer as Emma was recovering from her own mother's passing.

Then we moved onto On Pointe (McElderry, 2004), where she danced with me from one end of the novel to the other, even though she was never a ballet dancer herself.

Finally, we completed Hold Me Tight (McElderry, 2005), my most difficult novel where she ended up acting as a therapist in some measure as I faced ugly scenes from my past and tried to make sense of them. She was patient through my fears and tears and stood alongside me through the journey.

When Emma advanced at Simon & Schuster and I began to market my work outside of Margaret K. McElderry books, she remained my friend who celebrated each of my successes and supported my work with readergirlz. Her first response to our online book community as she stood by my side at our booth for our pre-launch at Midwinter ALA 2007 was: "This is smart. Very smart."

Emma Dryden is an editor who asked me question after question to make my work the best I could possibly make it. I count her my mentor and friend.

Why is your agent the right agent for you?

Oh, my agent! My agent that Emma Dryden recommended I pursue because I needed "someone who could be tender with my sensitive nature." Ha! Me, sensitive?

I've discovered it is true, and Elizabeth Harding at Curtis Brown, Ltd. is my dream agent for my sensitive self.

Oh, to have an agent who tells you, "Work on whichever novel you'd like next. Follow your passion."

And one who says, "Let me call and find out for you. They've had long enough to consider this."

She said, "Sure, send me your board books."

I said, "But I have about thirty dummies."

Her response: "Send them all."


Elizabeth is in my corner with me. And how wonderful is that? After ten years of working alone, I have someone by my side. It's as if I've teamed up with the biggest, toughest kid in the playground, who gets me a turn on the swing, or I'm walking down the high school hall with the most beautiful, popular girl as my bestie. And she is a beauty inside and out.

I've counted every day that Elizabeth has represented me as a blessing. And our relationship has only begun!

In your own words, could you tell us about your latest book?

I have three novels I'm hoping to place in the very near future. The first is about my experience living in South Korea in the 1980s. The second is my venture into prose. It is a fantasy concerning self worth and religious persecution. The third is a novel in verse about a horrible accident. I hope to announce sales of these and a few board books soon, soon, soon!

Cynsational Notes

The Craft, Career & Cheer series features conversations with children's-YA book creators about positive aspects of their creative and professional lives.

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