Friday, July 26, 2019

Author Interview with Sarah Aronson & BOOK GIVEAWAY!!!

Today I bring to you an interview with author Sarah Aronson, who wrote a picture book called JUST LIKE RUBE GOLDBERG: THE INCREDIBLE TRUE STORY OF THE MAN BEHIND THE MACHINES (Beach Lane Books). I was especially drawn to this book because I find Rube Goldberg machines so fascinating to explore whenever I attend science fairs. So I really got into reading about the man behind these machines in this engaging picture book written by Sarah and illustrated by Robert Neubecker. In the book, Sarah wrote that Rube Goldberg didn’t draw machines that solved real world problems but they challenged people to think: “He drew comics to make us look closer. And question logic. And tickle the imagination.”

I see you hold an MFA in Writing for Children and Young Adults from Vermont College of Fine Arts. What ideas and creative techniques did you learn from this program?
Getting an MFA jumpstarted my writing journey--it was like working in a writing lab. The program offered me two years to try everything--to draft, reimagine and revise all kinds of stories with the help of master writers like Kathi Appelt--who pushed me to explore picture books as well as novels. While there, I learned to take chances--to practice the craft of writing with intention, to read like a writer. Perhaps more important than all the lessons and techniques and craft talks, I gained a supportive and encouraging community of writers. For me, community is essential! (That's why I co-founded the Novel Writing Retreat at VCFA. It's why I love teaching at the amazing Highlights Foundation and

No one writes alone. We all need community. We all need fellowship to help us discover our voices--to push us to do our best. To boost our confidence. We all need to feel safe as we take chances with our hearts.

How did you come to work with Beach Lane Books to publish JUST LIKE RUBE GOLDBERG?
The old-fashioned way!

When my agent read my first draft of JUST LIKE RUBE GOLDBERG, she sensed that it might work for Allyn Johnston. And we were so excited when she let us know she loved it. Allyn's feedback and direction helped make the story stronger and more fun. She pushed me to recheck sources and find my voice and intent in the story.

And then she and her team gave the book to Robert Neubecker. I cried when I saw his sketches--I love his vision and art so much! The whole process was so humbling and thrilling! When we open a picture book, we inhabit the book through the art first. To see my words with those's amazing!

How did you research Rube Goldberg’s life and decide which parts of it to use in the picture book?
You might say this book was 50 years in the making. I have loved Rube Goldberg machines since I saw the Breakfast Machine in Chitty Chitty Bang Bang!

To find the narrative, I read lots of articles and books. I listened to video of Rube and his granddaughter, Jennifer. I visited the machine contest and heard Jennifer talk about Rube.

I learned that I love doing research! I love digging for stories. I am a curious person! It is so much fun finding more about a person or topic you care about!

If you could create the Rube Goldberg machine of your dreams, what would this machine accomplish?
My sensible self says an office cleaning machine! (Right now, mine is a MESS.) But the breakfast machine still calls to me. Check out the human Rube Goldberg machine the readers at Quest Academy made--to return Rube Goldberg to the library!

What books/authors did you enjoy reading when you were younger?

My first favorite book was The Carrot Seed, by Ruth Krauss. I still adore this perfect 101 word story of determination.

As a young reader, I faced some struggles learning, so it took me a few years to feel confident reading. I owe my love of books to a very determined teacher (Thank you, Mr. Sigley), who helped me find the stories that would make me a reader. The first book was HARRIET THE SPY. I was convinced that Harriet was Jewish like me--since she wore glasses. Later, I also liked books with open endings, like THE PEARL, by John Steinbeck. I read a lot of Dickens when I lived in England. And of course, I loved books about girls by Beverly Cleary and Judy Blume.

It's interesting to me now that I never yearned to become a writer, although I certainly kept a journal and wrote stories when I was a girl. I became a writer after being dared to write! That night, I noticed that my daughter was reading ESPERANZA RISING. My son was reading BUNNICULA (probably for the 30th time). I began reading everything they were reading--with an eye for story. What I discovered: I loved these books! As an adult, I still understood the heart of these young protagonists. I still remembered what it was like to feel different.

Any upcoming projects you’d like to talk about?
I will soon be announcing a brand new picture book project--but you'll have to stay tuned!

I am working on two new PB ideas as well as a new middle grade novel that takes place in Chicago!

What I can say: I love writing stories! Every day, I welcome inspiration. Curiosity and reading lead me to stories. Walking by Lake Michigan makes my brain swirl. When I put down my phone and listen to the world, I always find something! Our creative community is supportive and encouraging. I am so glad that writing found me.

BOOK GIVEAWAY ANNOUNCEMENT! Readers, Sarah is super generous to offer a copy of JUST LIKE RUBE GOLDBERG to a lucky winner. 

Here are the details:

To enter, you must do at least one of these two things:
1. You can leave a comment on this post. That will get you one point.
2. You can re-tweet my Twitter post found @CynthiaSociety. That will also get you one point. 

If you follow me at this blog, you get an extra point. If you follow me on Twitter @CynthiaSociety, you also get an extra point.

The more points you have, the higher the chances of you winning the book. A winner will be picked randomly. The contest will end on Friday, August 2. If the winner doesn't respond to my attempts to reach out to them on social media, I will pick another winner.


Linda Mitchell said...

I love the IDEA of this book. Chitty Chitty Bang Bang grabbed my creative mind as a kid, too! Oh, the idea of a flying car. I spent many hours planning and building boats or houses that were completely self-contained. LOL. I have had the benefit of taking a class with Sarah and I love her sense of play and enthusiasm. I couldn't be more tickled about this book and can't wait to share it in my middle school library.

Liz A. said...

That cover is great. Sounds like a great book.

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