Thursday, November 27, 2014

The 2014 Crystal Kite Winners: THE 13th SIGN by Kristin Tubb (SCBWI Midsouth)

And now our Crystal Kite Spotlight illuminates THE 13th SIGN by Kristin Tubb!

A member of SCBWI Midsouth (Tennessee/Kentucky), Kristin's novel won for the Kansas, Arkansas, Tennessee, Kentucky, Missouri, Mississippi and Alabama division.

Award-Winning Author Kristin Tubb

I contacted Kristin to find out more...

Lee: Please tell us about your book! 

Kristin: Here's the jacket copy: 

"What if there was a 13th zodiac sign? You’re no longer Sagittarius, but Ophiuchus, the healer, the 13th sign. Your personality has changed. So has your mom’s and your best friend’s. What about the rest of the world? What if you were the one who accidentally unlocked the 13th sign, causing this world-altering change, and infuriating the other 12 signs? Jalen did it, and now she must use every ounce of her strength and cunning to send the signs back where they belong. Lives, including her own, depend upon it." 

Kirkus called it "the ultimate astrological fantasy." I like to say it explores the question: do you control your personality or does your personality control you? 

Lee: What a cool concept - and it's quite the hook! How long have you been involved with SCBWI, and can you share what you feel you've gained by being a member?

Kristin: I've been an SCBWI member since 2002. If it's okay, I'd like to share the speech I gave when accepting the beautiful Crystal Kite statue to fully express my feelings about SCBWI: 

When I found out The 13th Sign won the Crystal Kite, I posted a teary, grateful message on Facebook, and realized that I needed to explain what “SCBWI” stood for to my non-writing (sane) friends. So, I dutifully spelled it out for them: “SCBWI stands for the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators.” But it occurred to me that SCBWI stands for SO MUCH MORE. 

SCBWI stands for: Study Craft Because kids Want Intense. 

Kids want real stories. Study your craft here and give them the gift of a deep, meaningful story. A life-changing story. 

Before The 13th Sign came out, I was at a party. One of my husband’s friends said, “Oh! You had another book come out? Is this another children’s book, or is it a real book?” 

I know, right? SCBWI stands for: Smile with Confidence Because this Work is Important.

Sometimes, the only place kids can find truth is in a story. Give kids the truth. It doesn’t get more real than the truth told to a child. We’re all here for the same reason: we have a need to tell a story to a kid. SCBWI means never having to walk this path alone. 

So most of all, SCBWI stands for: Shout and Cheer Because We’re In it together. 

Lee: Yay! Do you have any advice to share with other children's book writers and illustrators?

Kristin: Other than join SCBWI? :-) Reading and studying current children's books would be at the top of the list. Join a critique group would rank high as well. But I suppose besides those (because most SCBWI members have done these things, I'm guessing), I'd emphasize studying the craft of writing, truly and diligently and continuously. Not just to get published (although yes, that's a goal). Study craft, always, because our readers deserve our very best effort.

Thanks, Kristin!

I also connected with Associate Regional Advisor Courtney C. Stevens (since Kristin is the Regional Advisor for SCBWI Midsouth) to hear the inside scoop on Kristin's win. Here's what Courtney wrote...

I'm not sure that I even know where to begin. Kristin is a gem. She's a fabulous leader, who somehow manages to balance her writing career and organizational responsibilities at the highest levels. Ultimately, she loves people and the power of story. Those two things come across when you read her work and when you interact with her. I am honored to be her ARA and her critique partner. She has enriched my life, the life of the region, and the life of readers in a powerful way. Seeing her win a second Crystal Kite, and be recognized by our beloved organization, made me stand and cheer and cry tears of joy. It is always fabulous to see greatness rewarded.

I could share many details about SCBWI Midsouth (approximately 500 members, conferences and retreats that sell-out, high PAL membership percentages, healthy critique groups, online visibility), but none would completely describe the atmosphere of children’s writers and illustrators in Kentucky and Tennessee. Our leaders are generous with their time, wisdom, and encouragement as they plan events, and the region has benefitted and grown from their consistent leadership and vision. Our members cheer for each other’s success, cry on each other’s shoulders, and get together in many of our cities to talk about life, rather than just writing/illustrating. We're friends. We've made events out of being friends because this business of publishing a book is far less scary when you are shoulder to shoulder with excellent people. I can’t speak for everyone, but I know I am a published author today because of SCBWI, and specifically, because the men and women in my region pushed me forward and surrounded me with hope.

Thanks to Kristin and Courtney, and Cheers to Kristin on The 13th Sign winning The 2014 Crystal Kite Award!

You can learn more about Kristin and her books at her website here.

And find out more about SCBWI Midsouth (Tennessee/Kentucky) at their regional website here.

Illustrate and Write On,

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