Thursday, December 10, 2015

"Pandemic" - The 2015 Crystal Kite Interview with Yvonne Ventresca

In the Atlantic division, the 2015 Crystal Kite Award goes to "Pandemic" by SCBWI New Jersey member Yvonne Ventresca.

Author Yvonne Ventresca

Lee: Please tell us about your Crystal-Kite winning book!

Yvonne: Pandemic is a young adult novel about an emotionally traumatized teenager struggling to survive a deadly bird flu outbreak. The story is more about the experience during the disaster than the aftermath. I found it interesting to think about not only the practical implications of a contagious disease, like potential food shortages, but also about how fear would change social interactions. Dire circumstances can bring out the best and the worst in people and I wanted to explore that in Pandemic. 

LeeL How long have you been involved with SCBWI, and can you share what you feel you’ve gained by being a member?

Yvonne: I’ve been an SCBWI member since about 2002 and over the years I’ve attended over 30 SCBWI-sponsored events. Besides the opportunity to meet industry professionals, SCBWI gave me the chance to interact with other writers and illustrators. Those peer connections, the energy from other creative people, the encouragement and friendship we offer each other—that’s been a huge benefit of SCBWI. 

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

Yvonne: Author Richard Bach said, “A professional writer is an amateur who didn’t quit.” Persistence is definitely key in this business. Pandemic was my debut YA novel, but it was actually the fourth one I’d written. I received 151 rejections along the way to publication. It’s important to keep trying, because 152 may be your lucky number, too.

Lee: I love knowing that - thanks for sharing!

I also reached out to SCBWI New Jersey RA Leeza Hernandez to find out more about Yvonne and their region...

I met Yvonne when I first joined SCBWI back in the mid-2000s, and for as long as I can remember she has always been an active member—volunteering and participating in many of the varied events the New Jersey chapter has offered over the years—especially the summer conferences and fall craft weekends.

Her dedication to the craft (and to the chapter) is also evident through the workshops she has graciously given—from plotting strategies, to organizational pointers, to computer technology tips. Yvonne has always been kind and supportive to her fellow members and works diligently to hone her own skills, too.

We were thrilled when we found out Yvonne won the Crystal Kite for PANDEMIC. This award is much deserved and reinforces in such a positive way how much all her hard work and dedication has paid off. Congratulations Yvonne!

You can find out more about Yvonne at this website.

And learn more about SCBWI New Jersey here.

Congratulations again to Yvonne for "Pandemic" winning the 2015 Crystal Kite Award!


Carole said...

Yvonne is AWESOME, and Pandemic is such a great read/listen. I met Yvonne several years ago at SCBWI's New York conference, and we kept in touch over the years. She's been a great supporter and cheerleader, even when there wasn't much to cheer about, and like this blog post says, has always graciously shared her knowledge as she's made her way in children's literature. I feel goofy-proud to know her, and so thrilled that she won the Crystal Kite. I love how she combines great fiction with timely issues, as in Pandemic. Excited to see what's next from her. And, by the way, for Audible listeners -- they did a really nice job with the audio book.

Yvonne Ventresca said...

Thanks, Lee, for the interview! SCBWI has meant a lot to me through the years and the Crystal Kite was a very special honor.

Thank you to Leeza and Carole for the kind words!