INTERVIEW WITH —

AUTHOR, KAREN PATRICIA NESPOLI

Karen (top photo)
Dr. Kennedy (bottom photo)

Karen Patricia Nespoli, Ed. D, is a passionate children’s author who loves writing stories that make children smile and get excited about reading. When she is not writing children’s stories, you can find her baking chocolate chip cookies or collecting shells along the shores of Long Island, New York. 

Karen’s debut picture book, Gertie Saves the Day, is an Amazon Best-Seller, Literary Titan Gold Award winner, and the Purple Dragonfly Children’s Picture Book Award winner. Karen proudly co-authored Two Wins for Wiley with her daughter, Caitlin, who is an acupuncturist. 

Dr. Caitlin Kennedy, D.Ac, L.Ac, Dipl.Ac, earned her Doctorate in Acupuncture from Pacific College of Health and Sciences. Caitlin has a private practice on Long Island. 

Caitlin collaborated with her mother to co-write Two Wins for Wiley. Caitlin’s knowledge and experience as an acupuncturist helped shape the story. Since surviving ovarian cancer at a young age, Caitlin is passionate about women’s health, fertility and helping children with acupuncture. She is the drive behind the story which can be used to teach children about acupuncture.

Where do you live?  Massapequa Park, New York 

Do you remember the time you actually said, “I’m an author!” What was that feeling like?

It was on launch day for Gertie Saves the Day. I was being interviewed on Facebook when I said the words “I’m a published author!” It was the best feeling. I was holding my book in my hands and realizing my dream of being a children’s picture book author had come true. 

Where do your ideas come from? My ideas come from everywhere. I can see or hear something that will spark an idea for a story. I keep a notebook filled with ideas for stories. The idea for Gertie Saves the Day came from my love of Groundhog Day and Two Wins for Wiley came from my daughter who was looking for a children’s book to help children understand acupuncture. 

How do you clear your head?  I live close to the beach. It always helps me to walk along the beach to clear my head. When it is too cold for the beach, I like to walk through the nature preserve. 

How do you select the names of your characters? I usually begin with a character study to help me get to know my characters. Once I complete the study, I try a few names until one stands out. If I am really stumped, I can use a list of names and narrow down my choices. 

How do you handle rejection? This is a great question. Rejection is part of the job. I have learned that not everyone is going to like your writing or your story. To me, rejection means that the publisher or agent was not a match for my manuscript. I think the real key is not to take it personally. If you get feedback, see if there is something in the feedback that is worth trying with your manuscript. 

How many picture-book rough drafts do you have?  Will you keep them on the shelf or try to edit them? I have between 20-25 drafts. Part of my writing process is to write a draft and then put that story on the shelf for a few weeks. While that story is on the shelf, I use my writing time to revise and edit other drafts.  

Talk about your book(s):  Two Wins for Wiley – Wiley is his baseball team’s best hitter. With the play-offs around the corner, the pressure is on for Wiley to practice hard and play his best. But there’s one big problem. Wiley suffers from frequent stomach aches, and they’re only getting worse. When his coach suggests that he tries acupuncture, Wiley must make a difficult decision. He can either face his fear of needles and get better for the big game or risk losing the play-offs as he watches from the sidelines. 

Writing a picture book about acupuncture was a different ball game:

  • My storyline needed to be tight.
  • The wording/technical jargon had to be age-appropriate.
  • The scope of what we were going to discuss had to be smaller.
  • I wanted it to have a fun element that appealed to children.
  • The story had to show different scenes and have engaging illustrations.

This book was co-authored with my daughter and she was a great co-author. I would write and she would revise and help me accurately express acupuncture in terms that children would understand.  Her expertise and experience helped with the illustrations as well. We are both very proud of this book and it has been well received by children and acupuncturists. 

Gertie Saves the Day – Gertie desperately wants to win the Groundhog Day Competition. She wants to predict if there will be six more weeks of winter. However, Jeff declares that he is going to win the competition and discourages her for being too short to have a shadow. Gertie gives it her all during the competition, but is her determination enough to win the role of this year’s famous groundhog? Winner of the Literary Titan Gold Award and the Purple Dragonfly Children’s Picture Book Award.

As a child, I was the first one to the television to find out if the groundhog saw its shadow on Groundhog Day. I have always been fascinated by the fact that groundhogs were able to help farmers decide when to plant their crops. I took my fascination into my own classroom where we read books about groundhogs, learned about shadows, created groundhog puppets, and predicted whether the groundhog would see or not see its shadow.  I wrote the story over a period of years; with each revision, it became a stronger story. 

Tell us about your publishing experience: After several years of trying to gain a contract with a traditional publisher, I decided to work with Miriam Laundry Publishing. Her program is amazing. I learned so much in one year about writing for children, editing, revising, working with illustrators, publishing, and marketing. I value the experience. Her team is knowledgeable, professional, helpful, and very supportive. It was a great experience.

What’s next for you? I want to have one of my books traditionally published. I want that experience of being traditionally published. I will focus on learning about agents, and publishers and improving my pitches and queries. I want to submit at least 1 manuscript a month to a publisher. I will also continue to do my author visits, participate in author showcases, and write more drafts. 

One last question, tell us something that no one knows—something about you that isn’t posted anywhere on your website or social media. Something that no one knows about me is that I love adventure. I have been tandem skydiving, I love rollercoasters, and I recently tried curling. It is not as easy as it looks!

Karen’s Contact Information:
Website: https://karennespoli.com
Twitter: @drkarenn
Instagram: @drkarenn

Karen, best wishes to you and Dr. Kennedy!

The winner of February’s FREE book giveaway is Ashlee Holler! CONGRATS!

MY next free book giveaway is March 1st.

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Interview with

Karen Nespoli

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