Monday, December 13, 2010


Alisa Libby is the author of two phenomenal historical fiction novels entitled, THE KING’S ROSE and THE BLOOD CONFESSION. She is also an expert researcher!

I first met Alisa Libby at the New England SCBWI conference in Nashua, New Hampshire in 2009. I had signed up for her workshop because I thought it would help me with an idea I had been/am banging around in my head; her class was on researching history/events in order to write a historical fiction novel. The class was about weaving in those details—making the facts feel integral to the story rather than merely dropped in.

Alisa is a great presenter! (She says that she’s nervous, but no one else would know it!) And MAN! Does this girl know her stuff! She is an incredible researcher—the scope of it is amazing while the details of it are…well, just as amazing!

Alisa inspired me that day, so I bought both of her books; I have a teenage daughter that *loves* historical fiction. She devoured both of Alisa’s books immediately and has since deemed them hers—not mine! So, because of that meeting a year and a half ago, and my daughter’s enthusiasm for her books, I asked Alisa if she would be kind enough to contribute something for Mentor Monday. She said, “Yes!”

Here is Alisa:

I would love to share with you a blurb about my mentor for your blog! Without further ado, here you go:

My Dad was an artist. We were always involved in some project: playing musical instruments, building model airplanes, catching fruit flies and putting them on slides for my microscope. Most of all, we talked about the creative process: the frequent frustration punctuated by moments of elation. My father carved the head of a cat out of a block of stone, a herd of horses from a block of wood. He created a model violin so small you could fit it in your pocket. I watched all of this in astonishment – a miracle of art and creation taking place in my very own home. He read all of my stories and poems and offered advice and critique. We commiserated over the difficulties of getting the beautiful images in our heads to translate onto the page (or wood, or stone, or canvas). He had a wonderful ability to find humor in the midst of these trials, and he taught me to be excited about the creative process itself – the actual act of sitting down and writing – instead of focusing solely on the final product. My father died over 12 years ago, but I still carry these lessons with me. I often think of him in moments of frustration, inspiration, and elation.

Many thanks,
Thank YOU, Alisa!

Monday, December 6, 2010


A *big* Mentor Monday welcome to the multi-talented Liz Goulet Dubois! She an author/illustrator, a master blogger, and toy designer. She writes plays, directs them, and does incredible stage sets for them. She is also into product licensing and takes part in writing a group blog entitled The Licensing Nook (and website) about the ins and outs of the business, as well as some just really cool stuff! If that weren’t enough, have you ever seen those hilarious FRED products? Liz designs a number of their over-the-top fun stuff! She does it ALL, I tell you! And she does it all well!

Liz's writing and art work focus mostly on younger children. She is an award winning illustrator from Highlights Magazine and has iillustrated several pre-school books. She has written some as well and does the paper engineering for her pop-up books. Her Fred Products seem to turn up in Rachel Ray's magazine (as well as others) a lot! Liz seems to have creative toes in all kinds of ponds. (But she would never write as weird of a sentence as that last one!)

I first met Liz at the annual SCBWI Whispering Pines Writers’ Retreat in Rhode Island. I took to her immediately, and we have since become great friends. I have a ton of respect for her. She is the real deal—professionally and in ways that matter even more. I could say that Liz has been a mentor to me in learning the ways of the business of children’s lit; once I got serious about publication, I listened carefully to her nuggets of wisdom—the dos and don’ts of navigating the pubbing world. This very website/blog is here because she...uh...suggested...I put it up. She is honest and forthright but always thoughtful and kind. And, let me tell you, she is just chock full of wisdom. Finally, Liz is a good friend—the best! I feel blessed to know her! Truly, I do.

Okay. Enough gushing from me! Without further ado, here is Liz Goulet Dubois’s Mentor Monday submission:

Mentor Submission
By Liz Goulet Dubois

Without question, my first and best mentor was my mom. I don't remember a time when I wasn't encouraged to try anything artistic. I always had ideas on things to make, sew, paint, build, etc. and she always gave me the supplies and pointed me in the right direction for getting started. Just as important, I think, was her ability to step back and let me figure things out for myself. That's a very subtle quality- the ability to NOT help too much!

In junior high and high school, my art teacher was Brother Marty. I was able to sail through most of the usual required lessons, and he was the one who let me go to the next level by devising different kinds of art for me to do.

By senior year, I was already painting on canvas and writing and illustrating my own books, and it was these extra things that likely got me into RISD, the one place I really wanted to go. In college, I had two teachers who were very supportive and also allowed me to pursue my own vision in art. David Niles, one of my illustration teachers, and Amy Kravitz, my animation teacher, were both instrumental in allowing me to develop my own style of art. They were instructors that could tell intuitively when to help, but also allowed the space to allow for blooming.

Thanks SO much Liz! It was a pleasure to have you here at Mentor Mondays!