EA: Hi Stacy! I've had such a great pleasure featuring your books, and I'm pretty excited about your newest--SUN!, a companion to EARTH!. And I understand there's more to come, too--how exciting! Last interview, we talked a lot about your writing process and ideas, but tell me, how did you decide on a series of fun, factual science-based picture books?
SM: I didn’t set out to write a series. But EARTH! was well received, and the publisher asked if I wanted to do more. I took about half a second to think about it before screaming “YES!” I love the idea of entertaining, humorous science books. Laughing and learning are two of my favorite things. (Dark chocolate and coffee are also two of my favorite things.)
Does your writing process differ with fact-based books? How so?
When working on the OUR UNIVERSE series, I start with research. I read, read, read all about my subject. I check out websites, books for adults, and books for kids—whatever legit sources I can find. Then I need to give my subject (my main character, my protagonist, my hero!) a personality. That’s the hard part. Who is Sun? Who is Moon? Who is Ocean? Once I’ve completed these few steps I can actually begin writing. And that’s, of course, followed by some intense editing. Not everything I’ve learned finds a place in the book. Deciding what to cut is excruciatingly hard.
What's your favorite sun-based fact? Was there anything you were surprised to learn?
Solar flares! Sun rotates on its axis. But Sun is not solid, so his middle and poles rotate at different rates. This causes a bit of a swirly mess (scientists use bigger words to describe this), and about every eleven years* Sun’s magnetic poles flip. North becomes south. South becomes north. This violent change sends dangerous, awesome solar flares (or solar storms) into the solar system. These flares can be devastating to satellites and space stations. We’re fairly safe on Earth thanks to our atmosphere. However, the flares do have potential to mess up radio signals and communication on Earth.
*It should be noted that solar flares can occur anytime. They’re just more frequent during “solar maximum.”
That is seriously so cool. So then, tell us a little about what's coming next.
Next up is MOON! EARTH’S BEST FRIEND. That will be available in June, just in time to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the first moon landing and moon walk. We also have DUDE, I AM OCEAN in 2020. Fingers crossed that we will get to explore other planets too.
What do you hope kids will take away from your books?
I hope I’m inspiring future astronauts. Is that too much to ask? Imagine, twenty years from now, as a space shuttle is set to take off from Cape Canaveral, an astronaut turns to mission control and says, “I want to thank Stacy McAnulty for her books about science and space.” Kidding!!! Kinda. I really just want readers to say, “Whoa! I didn’t know that.” And then for him/her to pester a teacher or librarian for more books on the subject. I hope these are gateway books to more learning and discovery!
Another lightning round!
Earth. (Second place is Mars because I think that’s the planet humans will explore next.)
-favorite subject in school?
Art and math. Art because I got to be creative. Math because it made sense to my number-loving brain.
Thanks Stacy! I'm looking forward to this and many more books down the road!
Stacy McAnulty is...well, "In no particular order... I'm a wife, mother of 3 kids and 3 dogs, author, daughter, sister and stepsister, aunt, friend, Twitter addict, mechanical engineer (currently inactive), inconsistent blogger, Packers fan, two-finger typist, concerned citizen, book-buying enthusiast, reluctant volunteer, minivan driver, pancake flipper, snooze-button hitter, and coupon clipper." There you have it. Learn more at stacymcanulty.com