Alayne Kay Christian
Author of books
Owner of Blue Whale Press
When I asked Alayne for an interview, I wasn't expecting her to offer you, the reader, an opportunity to submit directly to her. So, here's a great big THANK YOU in advance from all of us.
THE DEADLINE IS SEPTEMBER 3rd
Read on as she shares about her life as writer and business entrepreneur.
* Tell us a little bit about yourself. Where do you live? What are some things that most people don’t know about you?
I was raised in Chicago, and I now call Texas home.
My husband and I once lived on our sailboat for three months and then followed that adventure by traveling the United States in a motor home for over two years. We’ve set wheels, or feet, on nearly every contiguous state in the country.
I have a background in quality control and manufacturing engineering. One of the most unusual and interesting jobs was inspecting railroad cars. I won’t go into a lot of detail about the work I did. Instead, I’ll share that quality and manufacturing engineering are both transferable skills for publishing. Since our goal is to provide quality books, my eye for detail is an asset. My knowledge of production efficiency and processes helps in the area of scheduling and development.
* Tell us about your newly released chapter book.
I am excited that Sienna, the Cowgirl Fairy has a new home with Blue Whale Press. The second edition of the first book Sienna, the Cowgirl Fairy: Trying to Make it Rain was just released. The second book Cowboy Trouble will be released late in 2019. Trying to Make it Rain recently won the Readers View Reviewers Choice Award. I’ll share a description of the book for those who aren’t familiar with it.
Sienna is not your normal cowgirl. She’s half human and half fairy! But Sienna wants nothing to do with fairies. When her ma sends her to fairy camp instead of cowgirl camp, she ain’t none too happy. Not only must she deal with cliquish fairies who reject her spunky spirit and outspoken ways, she must also noodle out how to help Mother Nature end the Texas drought. Can Sienna balance cowgirling with some tried ’n’ true fairy skills to both fit in and make it rain?
In addition to being delightfully entertaining, this book may help children learn tolerance with the message that people who appear to be different from you can be very much like you. It may also help children who are struggling with identity.
* Earlier this year, you became an editor at Blue Whale Press. Tell us about your new adventure in publishing.
Early in my writing career, I had written a picture book titled Butterfly Kisses for Grandma and Grandpa and my husband, who is experienced in starting businesses and operating them, decided that he would start a publishing company and publish it himself. After finding an illustrator, he contracted a designer, multiple editors and an intellectual property rights lawyer, and Blue Whale Press was born. Unfortunately or fortunately, his career took a sudden upturn combined with a corporate relocation, and he decided to put Blue Whale Press on hold for a while. My decision to find a new home for Sienna just happened to coincide with his retirement from the corporate world, and he invited her to Blue Whale Press. That’s when his old passion and dream reignited. He suggested that we would make a fantastic team in restarting Blue Whale Press. I thought about it, and he was right. Everything that my career path has resulted in has led me straight to Blue Whale Press as content and developmental editor. Our family enterprise combines Steve’s business savvy with my knowledge of children’s book writing, critiquing, and editing—and my desire to help aspiring writers and illustrators. We opened our doors to submissions and discovered some spectacular stories and talent. Our catalog is growing, and Sienna will have lots of good company in the near future.
* What other books are you working on for future publication?
Blue Whale Press has several books in development.
Porcupette and Moppet is a picture book by Nadine Poper. In this comical story about a bumbling predator and his bibliophile-prey, disaster is averted not by running and hiding, but by simply reading a book – a very important book. Alicia Young’s art brings even more life and humor to Nadine’s great story.
Randall and Randall is another picture book by Nadine Poper. In a very odd-couple relationship, this comical story is about a symbiotic relationship between two species that grows into an endearing friendship. This children's book entertains and educates young readers about ocean species. Polina Gortman will be working her magic as illustrator.
Another picture book, No Bears Allowed, by Lydia Lukidis is a sweet and funny story about a rabbit who is afraid of almost anything, but most of all, he is terrified of bears—gigantic, monstery BEARS! Tara Hannon’s illustrations are going to be fantastic.
Little Lost Pup (working title) is a picture book by Sarah Hoppe. This is not your ordinary pup story. It is a sweet and educational story about a little girl who finds a little lost pup on the beach. She spends her day wondering, Who will care for this little lost pup? And asking, “Will you care for this little lost pup?” But she finds that it will take a very special person to care for this very special pup. Milanka Reardon’s art will help tell this sweet story and make the surprise twist even more exciting.
Laurie Smollett Kutscera will illustrate her own middle grade book The Misadventures of a Magician’s Son. This wonderful story is about twelve-year-old Alexander Finn’s personal journey dealing with the death of his father and the extraordinary gift he left behind. Besides heart, it is full of adventure, magic, and fantasy.
Sienna, the Cowgirl Fairy: Cowboy Trouble—the next chapter book in the Sienna series—is on its way. This one is about Sienna’s struggle with learning proper ways so she can be her Aunt Rose’s flower girl. But that’s not her biggest struggle. Unless they want to do Billy Bob’s and his band of bullies chores for a week, Sienna and her friends must prove that cowgirls can do anything cowboys can do—and then some.
All these books are scheduled for 2019 release. Follow Blue Whale Press on Facebook and Twitter, as we will be revealing more details about them.
* Is there anything else you’d like your readers to know?
GET READY. . . GET READY. . . GET READY :>)
I’d like to offer a choice of two prizes. Anyone who comments on the Blue Whale Press Facebook page with a follow will be included in the drawing. The winner’s choice will be a signed copy of Sienna, the Cowgirl Fairy: Trying to Make it Rain OR a golden ticket to submit to Blue Whale Press and go right to the top of the slush pile. This means, even though we are currently closed to picture books and chapter books, you may still submit. It also means that your manuscript will be read before any other manuscripts waiting to be considered.
Make sure your Facebook comment is posted BY SEPTEMBER 3rd.
As mentioned, Blue Whale Press is currently closed to picture book and chapter book submissions. We remain open to middle grade and illustrator submissions. We expect to reopen to picture books and chapter books in November. We are not interested in young adult submissions at this time.
* Do you have any book signings coming up? We’d love to join in.
I don’t have any book signings coming up right now, but I will be doing a breakout session at the North Texas SCBWI conference in September. The description of the presentation follows.
Top Ten Reasons for Rejection (and what you can do about it!)
You’ve probably received them all: helpful and informative responses, critical responses, form letters, and the worst—crickets. Whether you are new to submitting or have been at it for a long time, rejections can leave you feeling perplexed, frustrated, and unsure of what corrective action you should take. This breakout session will walk you through the various reasons behind rejections from an editor’s perspective and give you some tips on how you can improve your chances of success.
I think early bird registration is still open.
Alayne Kay Christian is the content and developmental editor for Blue Whale Press and an award-winning children’s book author. She is the creator and instructor of a picture book writing course, Art of Arc. She has been a professional picture book and chapter book critique writer for five years. She has been a critique ninja for Julie Hedlund’s 12 x 12 picture book forum for three years. Alayne is a graduate of the Institute for Children’s Literature and she has spent the last ten years studying under some of the top names in children’s literature.
Alayne’s Website: http://www.alaynekaychristianauthor.com/
Blue Whale Press Website: https://www.bluewhalepress.com/
We enjoyed this tremendously!
Thank you for inviting me, Patricia.