JULY 18, 2018
“I Grew Grandma’s Tomatoes” and so much more…a moment with children’s writer and illustrator,
Pamela C. Rice.
Indie Beginning Podcast gets a slew of submissions that we go through, giving authors our complete and undivided attention. Sometimes, no matter how much we adore a book, IB has to turn it down for whatever reason. Pam Rice came across the IB desk, and as much as they adored her children’s book submission of " I Grew Grandma’s Tomatoes" the podcast felt they couldn’t do the story justice when visually it is stunning! How can you see that over an audio-book format podcast? Immediately ACNBooks snatched up the opportunity to feature Ms Rice and her work as an author and illustrator.
This week we will get to know a little bit about Pam Rice and her passion for not only writing children’s books, but illustrating them! Next week the author of I Grew Grandma’s Tomatoes will take over ACNBooks with a piece on being your own illustrator.
Creating children’s books is what Pamela C. Rice enjoys and since August 2015 she has released 12 books including When the Brown Bird Flies, The Painting Speaks, Aaron’s Dreams, and Rufus Finds A Prize. Each book is warmly illustrated by Rice and offers written artistic expression of her childhood experiences and inspirations that children will find fun, imaginative and educational.
Rice grew up surrounded by creative art and design, and believes that she is a person born to write and illustrate for children. Both Pam’s father and brother were in the field of design. Her father was a commercial artist, and her brother was in textile and artisan design. With over 30 years of independent and corporate experience in advertising, graphic design, and visual communications, Rice has earned high recognition and top accolades with over 30 design awards. She has made guest appearances as a lecturer at the Illinois Academy of Design and Merchandising and at Northeastern Illinois University. She has also taught at the University of Illinois-Chicago, in the Principal Scholar’s Program.
Pam has illustrated for various authors such as Anna K. Morris and Emma Young, to name a few. For many years Pam has developed her unique illustrative style, and is excited to create content that both parents and children can enjoy. She is currently working with a Peruvian friend and translator to bring more diversity and inclusion to her library of books.
What was the inspiration for I Grew Grandma’s Tomatoes?
The inspiration for the book was an idea of planting and how a few seeds could yield a plentiful harvest.
I read that you write and illustrate your books; which is your favorite part?
Because my life’s work has been art, graphics, advertising design and visual communications, I’d have to say illustrating…that’s the easy part and my favorite.
And for you which comes first? The drawings or the story?
When I’m coming up with the story, my mind automatically jumps to the visual. I believe that the visuals drives the story —for me.
What are you working on now?
I have a book called “Lizzy’s Purse”, that I’ve completed. I will probably release it towards the fall, because it’s season appropriate.
What drew you to children’s books?
For years, I have illustrated books for various authors. I realize that my style of illustration had developed and that people would recognize immediately books I illustrated. I also would send my niece stories of events and incidents I had when I was a child, and realized that individually they would make good material for book content. I will never run out of material to write about.
What does a typical work day look like for you?
Since I am still freelancing as a graphic designer, I’m always working on various projects from websites to exhibits.
What does your writing space look like?
In front of my laptop, wherever I am.
Out of all the books you’ve written do you have a favorite?
Because so many of my books are stories of life experiences as a child, most are my favorite. “Whistle Watch At Uncle Willie’s House”, “I Can Smell The Rain”, “Daisy’s Bright Idea:, “Aaron’s Dream”…On the inside back cover of most of these books I include a small paragraph that explains the reason for the story.
Is there anything about the writing life that you think is misunderstood by the public?
I have to write stories that are meaningful…stories children can relate to ‘from a child’s perspective’. Some children’s books can be too simple and trifling. My stories can be read and enjoyed by adults because I weave in ‘life lessons.”
What were some of the unexpected challenges you faced on your writing journey?
Because ideas come to me in pieces, I have to thread those pieces together, so the books eventually flows together. If that doesn’t happen, I usually ‘can’ the book OR just put it to the side.
Do you have anything today that is your author “kryptonite”? Examples: Coming up with new ideas, Book readings, book signings, marketing, public speaking, touring, etc. etc. How do you handle them?
I haven’t done any book readings. Marketing, yes. A few Podcasts, no touring. I’ve been asked to get involve with some book fairs, but I am not one to set up, sit around, and personally sell books. At some point I will. My ‘library’ has grown and selling and promoting a variety of books appeals to me more than just hitting the circuit with just one book. I’ve done the whole ‘exhibit ‘ thing with my paintings. I have had several one-woman shows with my art, and was in four galleries (Wisconsin, Chicago, Michigan)
For right now, my books have been on the ‘organic’ sell. Website, Social Media, local stores. I guess, in a way, still see it as a hobby.
I am in the process now of writing a book on African American ’adventurists’. I’ve selected some very interesting people who I know and felt their stories needed to be told. This is something I had been pondering for a while…a few people you may or may not of heard of. I’m hoping to complete by November.
What advice would you give to someone just beginning their career as a writer?
One needs a source to draw from, that’s important or you’re always going to run into writer’s block.
For more on Pam’s work in illustration check in next week! To get yourself a copy of one of her beautiful life lessons you can click the link here: