Sunday, April 21, 2024

Q&A with Nancy Viau




Nancy Viau is the author of the new children's picture book Splish, Splash! First to Last. Her other books include Pruett and Soo. She lives in New Jersey.


Q: What inspired you to write Splish, Splash! First to Last?


A: As I was searching in bookstores for unique counting books, I realized there were none on the shelves that featured ordinal numbers. Counting using FIRST, SECOND, etc. is such a terrific lesson for PreK - 2nd Grade because it involves logical thinking, ordering of objects in a group, sequencing, and math.


Q: What do you think Michelle Hazelwood Hyde’s illustrations add to the story?


A: Michelle did a fabulous job with the illustrations. I love every one of them! The colors she chose (blues, greens, turquoise, and an occasional orange) make you want to jump into the sea and join the friends.


I especially love how the animals' expressions clearly match what I was trying to get across in the text.


Q: How did you come up with the particular sea creatures to include?


A: Well, it was an adventure, that's for sure! When I first wrote this story, it featured bugs on the beach. It actually won an award sponsored by SCBWI (Society of Children's Book Writers and Illustrators). I submitted it and had no bites, so I stuck it in a drawer and let it marinate. By marinating, I mean I forgot all about it.


A decade later (!), I dug it out, and changed the characters to dinosaurs. Who doesn't love dinos on the beach, right? Well, no one, apparently. Back to the drawer it went.


But the thing is... I kept returning to it, and after revising it for the umpteenth time, I submitted it to Schiffer. The editor loved it and asked if I'd be willing to change the characters to those who live near and around the Gulf Region. They were extending their distribution in the area and thought my book would be a great fit.


Q: What do you hope kids take away from the story?


A: I hope they see counting in a new light with a subtle reminder that although we all are different, when we bring our unique talents to a group, everyone benefits. 


Q: What are you working on now?


A: I always have three or four picture books in various stages of being polished and ready to go.


In addition, I'm about a third of the way through a middle-grade novel, but I'm procrastinating because I've heard that editors are not actively searching for contemporary MG. Maybe by the time I get around to finishing it, that will change!


Q: Anything else we should know?


A: Check out this page on my site that lists where I'll be promoting Splish, Splash! First to Last. If anyone is nearby, I hope to meet you!


I am also booking author visits to schools for Fall 2024 and beyond. I absolutely enjoy channeling my inner child while educating and inspiring K-6 students.


Thanks so much for reading this insider info about my book! I'm "counting" on you to introduce it to your favorite young reader.


--Interview with Deborah Kalb. Here's a previous Q&A with Nancy Viau.

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