Author Spotlight: Kathy Temean

kathyTemean_headshotThe New Jersey chapter owes a lot to Kathy Temean who is an author/illustrator and recently retired as NJ SCBWI Regional Advisor. She is the author/illustrator of “Horseplay” and many magazine articles and artwork. Individuals, major corporations, and businesses have commissioned her artwork. Kathy is also the owner of Temean Consulting, a company that creates websites and helps writers and illustrators market themselves. She publishes a daily blog “Writing and Illustrating” that offers valuable tips on everything you need to know about writing for children. You can read interviews with agents, editors, authors, and illustrators in the field. Kathy writes MG and YA novels and illustrates children's books. “Yogi Berra” written by Tina Overman and illustrated by Kathy, released in September, 2013.

We grabbed Kathy for a quick chat and asked her to share what she’s up to nowadays, how she got started in kidlit and what words of wisdom she has for you.

Read to the foot of the post for a special bonus feature in collaboration with the awesome team over at  Nerdy Chicks Rule!

 

KTemean_books_270pxYou were RA for NJ for ten years and now you're retired from that role, what are you up to?
I have spent the last year playing catch-up with all the things that I had neglected around my house for the past ten years. Now that I am finally caught up, I have more time to focus on writing and illustrating and getting the revisions done on three books I want to submit to agents. 

 

How did you come to be involved with children's books and why?
I was working for a high-power company doing marketing and sales, when one night I tried to get up from my desk and couldn't take a step and ended that career. This was right after both my parents passed away, which was really hard on me being an only child. My father always wrote, but I was always involved in art. Suddenly, I had this strong desire to write. I wrote a lot at work, but never had any stories in my head until then. It started spilling out of me (day and night). I guess it was my way of grieving, but after a while it was so strong that I wondered whether I was possessed by my father. Maybe it was my writing muse.

Not being able to walk, I had to have my knee replaced, but it took me a year before I could walk right. Being laid up and not having a job, I wrote and illustrated and wanted to know everything about writing for children. There wasn't enough going on in New Jersey to help me get that job done, so I volunteered to help the NJSCBWI chapter. After David Caruba stepped down as Regional Advisor, I took over and put together all the things I knew I wanted and felt the members would want, too. I started running events to help writers and illustrators improve their skills and help them meet industry professionals to get feedback. In those ten years I learned so much, made connections, and many friends. I don't regret the ten years, knowing that I helped so many people. It is a good feeling.

 

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If you could give some tips to writers and illustrators at any level, what would they be?

1. This is a business full of rejection, so try to develop a thick skin. When someone says something negative, listen so you can weigh what they said, but don't let the comments drag you down. We are all on our own path. You will have highs and lows, successes and failures. Remember that everyone does.

I know many excellent writers and illustrators who are loaded with talent and haven't found their success, yet. Be open to trying new things and considering new places to submit. Don't put yourself up on such a pedestal that you walk away from small publishers who might open to your work and open other doors for you.

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2. Get yourself out there. Go to conferences, events, sign up to get critiques with editors and agents, join a critique group, read as many children's books of the type you would like to write or illustrate as you can, and network—get on social media sites, start a blog, get a website, join Twitter—just don't let the social media stuff over take your life (it can).

3. Make a plan on what you think you need to do to become successful. Believe me I know, life gets in the way, but you should always have a plan to strive for. You can adjust as you go along. Example: If you have four kids and you are the one who has to drive and pick them up to school and sports everyday, plus work part time, it might not be good to say you are going to write and/or illustrate three hours every day.

Don't set yourself up for failure. If you are one of those people in my example, perhaps you could decide you are going to write down things that you hear the kids say when they are in the car talking to their siblings and friends. That wouldn't take long to do and it would give you fuel for future book ideas.

4. Don't give up. You will have no chance in succeeding if you throw up your hands and walk away.

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BONUS FEATURE! We teamed up with the awesome folks over at Nerdy Chicks Rule, where you can read oodles more about Kathy Temean. Go  check it out! Click here.

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Thanks Kathy, and enjoy that retirement—Write On!

For more about Kathy, visit…
Website: www.kathytemean.com
Blog: www.kathytemean.wordpress.com
Follow Kathy on Twitter: @kathytemean