Day 19: Pansie Hart Flood

It seems being the youngest of seven children would give Pansie Hart Flood plenty of adventures to write about.  But it was the memories from summer visits with her Grandmother that penned her first trilogy.  The Brown Bookshelf is honored to spotlight Pansie Hart Flood during our 28 Days Later Program.

Tell Us About Your Path to Publication 

The journey to having my first novel,Sylvia & Miz Lula Maye published was surprisingly short. It was less than six months. I followed a traditional path of first researching publishers interested in receiving and reading manuscripts in my genre. Following submission guidelines was a “must.” I mailed submission packages to around thirty publishers and waited.  While waiting, I continued to write.

I ended up not signing with the first publisher that showed interest in my story because they wanted to make too many changes to my authentic voice. Carolrhoda Books (a division of Lerner Publishing), liked my story and my voice. They actually suggested the trilogy idea which allowed me to divide and elaborate one longer story into three.  Therefore, my first book deal ended up being three books: Sylvia & Miz Lula Maye (2002), Secret Holes (2003), and Sometimey Friend (2005).

 Where Did Your Inspiration Come From?   

The inspiration to write came from many different writers and people in my life. In middle school Langston Hughes, Nikki Giovanni, Gwendolyn Brooks and Maya Angelou captured my attention.  As for children’s books, authors like Jacqueline Woodson, Walter Dean Myers, Bill Cosby, Christopher Paul Curtis, etc…just to name a few, allowed me to believe that I could become a children’s author just like them.  These authors write realistic fiction about African Americans and what it was like experiencing life during a particular time and place. 

 Creating characters that can jump off the page, grab its readers by the hand and drag them into the plot of the story is one of many goals I aim to achieve.  A little, then sometimes a lot of humor, family matters and friendship are other important elements that I include in my stories.  Memories of my grandmother inspired me to write the initial story for Sylvia & Miz Lula Maye. A visit to the public library with my so (who at the time was around six years old), sprouted ideas for a young reader series called Tiger Turcotte.

 Let Us In On “The Back Story.” 

 The back story of how I signed a contract for a young reader series with the same publisher Carolrhoda Books, proves a very important lesson. Shortly after editors from Carolrhoda Books contacted me expressing interest in my Sylvia & Miz Lula Maye manuscript, the following question was asked, “What else have you written that we might be interested in reading?”  I am so glad that I continued creating stories and writing material while I was waiting to hear back from publishers about my submissions.  I answered, “Yes, I have written several stories that cater to young readers. The main character is a young boy named Tiger who is multi-racial.”

 The editors asked me to prepare and submit summaries about each story.  I did and they suggested the idea of creating a young reader’s series called Tiger Turcotte. Book one of this series is called, It’s Test Day! Tiger Turcotte (2004).  Book two is called, Tiger Turcotte and the Know-It-All (2005). Other books were in the making, however due to the economy and the children’s book market, they were killed.

The Buzz 

School Library Journal; Dec2005, Vol. 51 Issue 12, p146

Flood’s characters are likable, and the realistic dialogue lends an appealing ethnicity to this charming story about a loving African-American family.

 The buzz regarding reviews is that I do not make a list or keep tabs on reviews.  Having a school system select any of my books for summer reading lists, or recommended as required reading is a fantastic honor that I hold in high regard.  I was thrilled to learned that some of my books have AR tests and are e-books.

Thank you, Pansie!

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