I’d like to use this “Author Spotlight” to introduce you to a fellow first time author Catherine Osornio. Catherine and I met at a recent education event in the Orange County area and I think you will enjoy meeting her.
Here is Catherine’s bio:
An avid reader since the age of five, Catherine Osornio never considered writing as a potential career until several years ago. While helping a friend develop her writing skills, Catherine was bit by the writing bug and hasn’t stopped since. Her work includes over 90 short stories for a private school’s early reader program, fiction and nonfiction stories and articles for Clubhouse Jr. Magazine, and numerous inspirational articles for a women’s newsletter. “The Declaration of Independence from A to Z” is her first published book.
What was your road to publication?
Although I had several articles and stories published in newsletters, magazines, etc. since beginning my writing career in 2003, I had only a pile of rejection letters to show for my manuscript submissions for picture books and middle grade readers. Back in 2007, my writers’ group decided to hold a “Book in a Month Challenge” where we had to write a book in a month. I took on the challenge, picked alphabet books for my genre, and then researched to find a publisher who was currently accepting unsolicited manuscripts.
After finding Pelican Publishing Company, I noticed they carried holiday alphabet books, but none on the Fourth of July. I studied the format Pelican used for their other alphabet books, followed that format to create my own manuscript about the holiday, and then sent that in. Several weeks later, I received an email stating they liked the manuscript, but wanted an emphasis on the Declaration itself. I took 3 months to research the topic, rewrote my manuscript, and then sent that one in. I heard back from Pelican about 7 weeks later saying they liked the manuscript and were sending me a contract. The book, The Declaration of Independence from A to Z, came out in January 2010.
Can you tell me a bit about your writing process? Do you plot or not?
It really depends on the project. Mostly I come up with an idea, do any research (if needed), and then start to write. If it’s a big project, like writing up a book proposal, I will create a rough outline. But mostly I let the story or idea develop in my mind.
Are you working on any new projects that you can tell us about?
I’m working on a middle grade mystery series and a YA novel that I hope to find a home for. I have a friend who is co-authoring these projects with me, so the process takes a little longer than normal since input is needed for rewrites, etc.
Describe your studio or usual work space for us.
My official work space is a desk in the corner of my living room. At this time it’s a bit messy since my kids like to use it as well for homework and computer games. I do have a laptop I use often, especially when the kids are using my main computer. I like the flexibility of the laptop, where I can go just about anywhere to write, but I still need my main computer for certain functions my laptop can’t handle.
What profession other than your own would you like to attempt?
I like to draw cartoons. I sometimes joke about making my own political cartoons since my kids are always telling me “Mom, you could do better than that!” when we read some of the online ones together.
What’s one thing that most people don’t know about you?
I have a bachelors of arts in cinema where my emphasis was on cinematography.
How do you juggle being a writer and a mom?
I used to homeschool, so I know how valuable any writing time needs to be. Now that my kids are in school, I use the time they are away to write. Sometimes things overlaps a bit, particularly if I have a very close deadline, but I try to keep my writing time separate as much as possible.
How would you describe your experience as a first time author?
Fun. Exciting. Unbelievable. Scary. It’s hard not knowing what to expect, especially at signings. Will anyone show up? Thankfully they have.
We here at Writing on the Sidewalk tend to procrastinate with our writing, where do you fit in Procrastinator or Proactive?
I probably lean more toward Proactive than Procrastinator, although lately that has depended on how tired I’ve been taking care of my family. I do much better if I have a deadline because I always shoot for getting assignments finished at least a week ahead. That sense of urgency helps me to organize my time more productively.
Writing on the Sidewalk