Monday, August 29, 2016

Today, I'm happy to introduce Marilee Crow, my second Author Interview:

Please tell about your background.

I am a former gymnast, gymnastic center owner, special education one-on-one aide, and PE teacher. I am now retired. I have one daughter and a husband-best friend of 40 years.

How did you decide to become a children's writer and what steps did you take to make that happen?

I have always wanted to write. At twelve years old, I wrote my own Nancy Drew story. I played the guitar and I wrote songs at YMCA camps. I was discouraged by English teachers, especially in college. They told me I would never become a writer. So I pursued gymnastics, competing at the college level, then going on to coach and start a club with a friend. I never gave up that dream of writing, however. But owning a gymnastic center for 18 years gave me no opportunity to write. I put writing on the back burner. Competition and training was exhausting. I began to write again after we gave up our gym. I had some stories published in "Reading for Little People" and it spurred me on.

Tell us about your book(s), especially about the one you are promoting now.

I have always been drawn to the Holocaust. I read everything I could find on the children of the holocaust. I realized that there are not many books out for younger children on the Holocaust. It took two years to write a story that was fictional, but with true facts. I made sure the story was not scary, but left room for questions. My book, "Saving Ellie," is a story about Ellie Rose Sternberg. She is 8 years old and her life is turned upside down when the Germans invade Poland where she and her family live. She doesn’t understand why being Jewish has put her life in danger. This book is about her journey to safety and how she deals with having to leave her family. It's for ages 8-12.

Sample Review quotes:

"I think every kid in America should read it. The illustrations look like photos from the era, and the plot and characters are great."

~Amazon customer

"Simple words that leave a great impact. Such a touching story!"

~Chao-yang Tseng

"Saving Ellie is a gripping story that will not only hold the interest of a child, but an adult as well!"

~Sharon Stanley

"What a wonderful book! I so enjoyed it and learned a few things as well!! It tugged at my heart."


"This story brought me to tears. Marilee Crow brings truth to the Holocaust without bringing out the horrific details."


 It sounds like a very interesting, intense, and inspiring story.

What is a typical writing day like for you?

A typical writing day for me is between 10:00 p.m. and midnight. I do my best writing at night. During the day, I try to work on ways to promote my books.

What is the most difficult part of writing for children?

The most difficult part is coming up with a plot that will be interesting and will stay that way until the end of the book.

What do you enjoy most about writing for children?

I enjoy a finished product that I can be proud of. I have a lot of stories that aren’t quite finished because when I read them back, there is something missing. I always read my books onto a tape so I can hear the story back without looking at the text. I have found that listening to a story is way different from reading a story. I can see, then, if it works or fails to move me. If it moves me, I know I got it right.

Do you make school visits? If so, please describe a typical school presentation.

     Yes, I make school visits. I start by reading one of my books. Then I bring out a display that shows the steps I take to come up with a story and get started. I then involve the students. Together we come up with a story that has a beginning, middle and end. Finally, we have a question and answer time.
Do you have a website? If so, please give the URL.

Other children's books by Marilee Crow (from the Guardian Angel Publishing List):

Tell us about the marketing process for authors. What do you do to market and sell your books?

Marketing. That’s a tough one. I do school visits and Art in the Park events, as well as boutiques, and craft fairs.

What are you working on right now?

Right now I am doing research on the underground railroad. Specifically, the quilts that were made that held hidden clues for those on the run. I hope to create a story where a child is left on her/his own to make the journey to safety. In the meantime, I am writing a middle grade novel about a young girl’s journey to happiness after her parents divorce and her father remarries.

What is your best tip for aspiring children's book authors?

Write, write, write. You can’t get anywhere unless you put your ideas onto paper. If this is a dream of yours, don’t ever give up!

Thank you so much for sharing information on your book, writing life, process, and tips for success!
Saving Ellie, Marilee Crow, Holocaust, helping, escaping, separated from family, kindness of strangers, WWII, neighbors risking their lives and safety, Jews, children, relatives, journey to America

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