This Halloween week for a special treat we have two “Author Spotlights.” Our second spotlight is on author and fellow San Diego SCBWI member Barrie Summy, whose book “I So Don’t Do Spooky” is being released this week. I had a chance to hear Barrie share her path to publication at our December meeting last year and she shares a little of that path with us today.
Here is a brief bio:
Barrie Summy was born in Toronto, Canada where she grew up on a steady diet of tobogganing and books. Now, she lives in San Diego with her husband, their four children, a dog, and two chameleons.
What was your road to publication?
My original goal was to publish a Nancy Drew mystery. I was really hooked on Nancy Drew when I was a kid and had vowed to my sister that I would write one when I grew up. Which I did. Which was duly rejected.
After wallowing for a little while, I decided to ditch Nancy (it still pains me to say this!) and invent my own detective. And, thus, Sherry (short for Sherlock) Holmes Baldwin was born.
While I was working on I SO DON’ T DO MYSTERIES, I attended a “Writing the Breakout Novel” workshop by Donald Maass. In a quivering, quaking voice, I pitched my story to him as he signed a copy of his book. He suggested I send him the manuscript when it was done. I did. He passed it on to Rachel Vater, who is now my agent. I did a rewrite with Rachel before she sent the manuscript out. After about a month, it was bought by Wendy Loggia of Delacorte Press/Random House Children’s.
Skipping over all the gnashing of teeth and angst and sleepless nights, that, in a nutshell, is how it happened.
Can you tell me a bit about your writing process? Do you plot or not?
I plot. Heavily. Which isn’t to say I don’t wander from the plot, but I do like my outline! Maybe if I weren’t writing mysteries, I’d plot less. But I’m afraid I’ll forget about a clue or a red herring or even a suspect if I don’t have an outline.
Are you working on any new projects that you can tell us about?
I just handed in the galleys for Sherry’s fourth case, I SO DON’T’ DO FAMOUS. It’ll be out May 2011. And I’m working on a new idea with a slightly older protagonist. There’s humor. There’s paranormal. And there’s a mystery.
Describe your studio or usual work space for us.
Ha! I wish I had a studio. I usually work in a big chair in the living, with Dorothy the dog at my side. Or at the kitchen table with Dorothy at my feet. I also write a fair amount in my car while waiting for children at piano or swim or water polo or singing. When I’m really behind schedule, I rent a hotel room for the weekend. And that’s probably the closest to a studio I get!
What profession other than your own would you like to attempt?
What’s one thing that most people don’t know about you?
I was engaged three times, but only made it to the altar once.
How do you juggle being a writer and a mom?
Poorly! I always feel like I have way too much going on. I think what saves me, somewhat, is that I’m a night owl, and I don’t need a ton of sleep.
Was it difficult coming up with a follow-up for your first book?
No, but that’s only because it was a series. If not, it probably would’ve been tough!
We here at Writing on the Sidewalk tend to procrastinate with our writing. Where do you fit in—Procrastinator or Proactive?
I procrastinate to the point that it’s so uncomfortable I can’t take it anymore. Then, I’m proactive!
To find out more about Barrie and her books including her newest release, be sure to checkout her site at www.barriesummy.com.
Writing on the Sidewalk