Friday, July 3, 2009

Here's Crystalee

The VBT - Writers on the Move has a monthly Mystery Site Give-Away. Just leave a comment on the hosts' sites (schedule) during the tour, and you may be the lucky winner.

Also, July 10th is our Viewpoint/Hot Topic segment and Crystalee Calderwood will be hosting that segment at her site.

Crystalee is my VBT guest this week. Wednesday July 1, I introduced her book Angeline Jellybean. Today is Crystalee's turn. I interviewed Crystalee recently, and I'm repeating the interview here so others can share insights about this remarkable young author.

Vivian: Crystalee, I know you write other genres, but you seem to have an excellent grasp for children’s books. Where or how have you gained training in writing for children?

Crystalee: I never considered writing books for children until I was in grad school to get my MFA in Creative Writing. I was a poet at the time. I took a class called the Craft of Writing for Children and fell in love with the genre. A year later, I took a class in writing picture books. That class is actually where Angeline was born. I was “trained” in writing for children from a number of great, published and successful writers who were my mentors at school. I never would have been able to publish a book without my own initiative and doing my own research.

Vivian: Crystalee, we’ve known each other for a few years, yet when you submitted Angeline, you didn’t trade on that online friendship, never letting me know that Crystalee was the Crys I knew. But I immediately wanted Angeline Jellybean when I read it. What caused you to consider 4RV?

Crystalee: Well, first of all, thank you for immediately wanting it! That was a big compliment to me. I knew you worked hard on your books and also that you worked closely with your authors to make sure the finished product was as good as possible. I also figured that submitting to a small press would be the way to go in order to break into the publishing business. I wanted to submit my work on my own just to prove that I could do it. I didn’t want anyone to accuse you of showing favoritism or helping me get into the business, so I didn’t disclose my online identity to you at the time.

Vivian: Since Angeline Jellybean is a very short book, I won’t ask for a summary, but I would like to know how you would describe or characterize Angeline. All authors and illustrators know that characters do become real.

Crystalee: Angeline is really your average little girl. She knows what she wants, and she wants it NOW. She is strongly opinionated for her age. She is also, obviously, a very picky eater. She is pretty much the equivalent of me right now. Jellybeans are to her what chocolate is to me.

Vivian: Crystalee, can we expect any more children’s projects from you? Please, share what, if possible?

Crystalee: I have many picture books in the works, some of which aren’t finished. I also just completed my very first young adult novel, which is written in poetry. I hope to have a long life as a published author. I think my YA manuscript will be the next project sent out for submission.

Vivian: Finally, what else would you like readers to know about Crystalee Calderwood?

Crystalee: I never thought I’d be here at my age. Or at all, really. But I finally feel like I’ve found my passion in writing children’s books. I’m really a big kid deep down inside, so the joy that writing children’s books gives me is immeasurable.

Vivian: With Angeline as an example, you have a great talent for writing children's books. May you have many more.

Thank you so much for visiting with us today.

Learn more about Crystalee and Angeline by visiting the following sites:

Crystalee's Blog

Crystalee's Website

Contact her through

Crystalee's email address

Angeline Jellybean can be found through any bookstore,, and the 4RV Publishing online store.



Nancy Famolari said...

Crystalee does a wonderful job writing for children. I'm waiting for the YA novel in poetry. Sounds exciting.

Vivian Zabel said...

Crys is a very good writer, and I'm sure anything she writes will be unique.

Poet said...

Crystalee is a great writer and I've enjoyed reading her material.

Liana said...

Looks wonderful to read, even the colors of the cover look delicious!

Karen and Robyn - Writing for Children said...

Crystalee, I share your passion for chocolate, only I'm allergic to it!

I eat it anyway, now and then. :)


Donna M. McDine said...

Postively lovely interview. What a feather in your cap you didn't capitalize on your relationship with Vivian and your manuscript was accepted. Kudos!

Donna M. McDine
Marketing Manager, SFC Magazine
SFC: Families Matter Blog
SFC Magazine Website

Vivian Zabel said...

How I discovered the Crys I knew on W.Com was Crystalee Calderwood, a 4RV author, is a story in itself. She never told me. Her boyfriend let it slip on scroll (one of the chat options on W.Com). Otherwise, I don't know when or if she would have let me know.

It's been a delight to work with her.

kathy stemke said...

Thanks for another great post Vivian.

Congratulations on your great success Crystalee! Keep writing!

Vivian Zabel said...

Thank you, everyone, for stopping by. I'm sure Crystalee enjoyed the comments, too.

Crystalee said...

Thanks for the comments, everyone! I loved doing this interview with Viv and I'm glad she revisited it. :-)

Nancy, that poetry novel is on the backburner right now, but I promise I'll let everyone know if it gets published.

Rena said...

Good luck with your future projects, Crystalee! My boys & I love reading Angeline Jellybean. Neil loves all the references to the specific holidays.