QueryTracker Blog

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Thursday, April 2, 2009

Interview with Author Dotti Enderle

Dotti Enderle is one of the most engaging people I know. She is approachable and dang funny, which is a plus for a children's author. I met Dotti a year ago at a Romance Writers of America meeting. What struck me immediately was that Dotti doesn't write romance. Why was she there? Because writing is her job. She is active with local writers' groups because of the workshops and contacts. Dotti rolls up her sleeves and immerses in the business. She works at her craft, which is reflected in the quality and number of books to her credit.

Dotti has sold 30 books. 19 are in print. 8 more are coming out in September of 2009. Her work has been published by Random House, Flash Light Press, Pelican Publishing Company, Llewellyn, Upstart Press and ABDO Publishing Company.

The cover above is from Llewelln's New World's Magazine. More about Dotti can be found on her website.

My son's favorite book by Dotti is GRANDPA FOR SALE (Flashlight Press).

If you have children, this picture book is a must. Awards for GRANDPA FOR SALE include:

  • Storytelling World Resource Award Winner 2008
  • Teddy Children's Award Winner 2007
  • North Texas Book Festival Winner 2008
  • Arizona Grand Canyon Reader Nominee 2009-2010
  • Indiana Young Hoosier Nominee 2009-2010
  • Borders Original Voices selection, Oct. 2007
My favorite is MAN IN THE MOON, a novel published by Delacorte Press. "Set in rural Texas in 1961, one restless girl finds hope for her ailing brother and faltering family in the form of a mysterious drifter. " (quote from Dotti's website)

Dotti was gracious enough to take a break from her revisions and answer some brief questions for the Query Tracker Blog.

Because she had done a blog tour, my questions for her were basic. I'm including the links to the stops on her blog tour so you can read more about her by clicking the links following the interview.

Mary Lindsey: Thanks for agreeing to an interview for the QT Blog, Dotti. How and when did you begin writing?

Dotti Enderle: I started writing seriously in 1995. I sold lots of magazine articles, stories and poems. So that's when my "writing" career began. My career as a book author came much later and has been more enlightening. My first book was published in 2002.

ML: Please tell us about your road to publication.

DE: I landed my agent in December 1999 after a referral from a good friend. It was two years later, September 2001, that we made my first sale. That book turned into an 8-book series called Fortune Tellers Club.

ML: What is one of your favorite stories about your career so far?

DE: I think the funniest has to do with my school presentations. I read THE COTTON CANDY CATASTROPHE AT THE TEXAS STATE FAIR, then I touch on a little Texas trivial, asking the kids simple questions like, "What's the state bird? The state flower?" They call out the answers in unison. When I get to "What's the state motto?" there's always a short pause, then someone inevitably shouts, "Don't mess with Texas!" Um.no. Two years ago I did an author visit in San Antonio. When I asked about the state motto one girl yelled, "Remember the Alamo!" Only in San Antonio.

For the record, the state motto is "Friendship."

ML: What is your most recent sale?

DE: My agent is working on a contract for me right now, but since it isn't signed yet, my latest sale was for a 6-book series called The Ghost Detectors that I wrote for ABDO Publishing.

ML: What is the hardest/least favorite part of being a writer?

DE: Revising. It seems to take longer than writing the first draft.

ML: What is the most rewarding part of your job?

DE: Seeing my work in print.

ML: What is your advice to new or unpublished writers?

DE: Read! Read! Read! Both how-to books and the genre in which you wish to write. I once heard that you have to read 1000 books before you can write just one. That's so true. My biggest lesson came when I took one of my favorite books, WHEN ZACHARY BEAVER CAME TO TOWN by Kimberly Willis Holt, and dissected it. I made note of when she used description within dialogue. What strong verbs she used. How she painted a scene so we could visualize it. This was when I began to see my own writing weaknesses. I don't think a million how-to books could have taught me that.

ML: Thanks for taking the time out to answer questions, Dotti. Best of luck with your upcoming projects.
To read more about Dotti's writing process or her experiences as a writer, check out the interviews from her blog tour:

If you have questions for Dotti, feel free to post them in the comments. She will post answers in the comments section some time over the weekend.

Mary Lindsey writes paranormal fiction for children and adults. Prior to attending University of Houston Law School, she received a B.A. in English Literature with a minor in Drama.

Mary can also be found on her website.


Susie Bramble said...

Thanks for your interview, and for being willing to answer questions.

How long does it take you to write and revise a children's picture book?

Do you think a children's book writer needs an agent, or is it possible for them to sell directly to a publisher?

How hard is it to break into the MG market?

Stina said...

I really loved the advice in the last point about dissecting books. Thanks for the great interview, Mary.

Jack Baker said...

Hi Dotti,

Who is your agent? She must be good. Where do you get your inspiration? The blog tour sounds fun, do you ever have to do book tours in person?

Mary Lindsey / Marissa Clarke said...

Great questions. Dotti will answer them when she gets back in town. :)

Suzette Saxton said...

What a fun interview! It must be a great feeling to see your books published and to see your face on a magazine.

Are there any books that you know of to guide writers of picture books?

How much time do you spend each day writing/revising/networking?

Thanks for being with us here on the blog!

Suzette Saxton said...

I just have to add that I LOVE the cover of Man in the Moon! Who is the publisher? I can't wait to read it.

Suzette Saxton said...

Um... yeah. Now I see that the interview states it is from Delacorte Press. Wow, is it beautiful!

Dotti said...

Susie, it depends on the picture book. I can write the first draft in an hour, but then I have to distance myself, run it by my critique group, then distance myself some more. Usually it's not ready to go for a couple of months.

And needing an agent depends on what market you're pursuing. If you want to get in with the big houses, then yes, you'll have better luck with an agent. But there are many small, wonderful independent houses that will publish you without one.

I think the MG market isn't that tough. Just make sure your work is polished.

Dotti said...

Hi Jack,

I'm represented by the Erin Murphy Literary Agency. And yes, she's quite good.

I really don't know where my inspiration comes. I just write. I'm never at a loss for ideas. I'm just lucky, I guess.

I did a book tour a couple of years ago. It was fun. And I do lots of signings in the Houston area (my home) every time I have a new book come out.

Dotti said...

Suzette, I'm sure there are many great books out there for picture book writers, but I highly recommend Picture Writing, by Anastasia Suen. Anastasia also has some excellent writing workshops that has led her students from novice to published. Here's the link:

As for writing time, I don't have set schedule. I just write when I need to. Today I received a contract to write two classic adaptations, and they're both due by the first of June. So you can guess that I'll be working all hours of the day on those.

Dotti said...

And Suzette, I agree, MAN IN THE MOON has a beautiful cover. It's my favorite cover so far.


Mary Lindsey / Marissa Clarke said...

Thanks, Dotti for answering our questions. Good luck with your new projects!

Suzette Saxton said...

Thanks so much, Dotti! You are so sweet to answer all my questions. I would love to know who your favorite small presses are.

Best of luck with your adaptations and your writing career!