Wednesday, December 14, 2016

Interview with Tara Cattie Luebbe and Mentorship Contest Announcement

profile-picTara Cattie Luebbe will host her Writing With the Stars mentorship contest early next year where authors and illustrators can apply to be mentored by an established author or illustrator. Tara's debut picture book is set to release Spring of 2018, but she's been involved in picture books as a former bookstore owner and gained a retailer's eye for what sells. She kindly shared some of her experiences about her time as a bookstore owner that you can read about on my site (link below). Enjoy getting to know Tara a bit, then check out her awesome contest for un-agented picture book writers/illustrators. Good luck to all who apply!
Tara, you had a baptism by fire in searching out good children’s lit with your oldest son who’d finished all the Harry Potter books by first grade. It sounds like keeping up with his book appetite is what prompted you to open your toy and bookstore. 
I think I got into picture books like a lot of writers, I had kids. My first born was a voracious reader and so I spent a lot of time looking for new books to keep him satisfied. He did not like to read one book over and over, he always wanted a new one. He went on to read all the Harry Potters by the end of first grade. I was blessed to have two more sons after that, and they are all equally avid readers, which makes me so happy. 
Because my background was in retail buying, I followed a dream and opened a toy and book store. My store catered to children 0-6, so the only books I sold were picture books. My selection was very different than the chain store down the way. I spent hours at market buying new books and searching out the best picture books from smaller pubs, foreign pubs and the wonderful backlist. As an indie, I had no requirements to carry anything from a corporate office. If I didn’t like the book, I didn’t carry it, even if it was a huge seller elsewhere. It was a highly curated collection reflective of my taste.