Thursday, January 12, 2017

Spork Sisters Unite: Interview One, Melissa Stoller Author

Spork Sisters Unite!

Finding a supportive community in the publishing world

Interview One-

Melissa Stoller, Author

          The world of Children’s publishing, for a writer can be dark, full of lots of rejection as well as moments of joy in creation, and many many hours alone with your thoughts.  Something special happened for me last year.  One of my manuscripts found a home at Clear Fork Publishing. Not only did I win the lottery in finding a home for Egg, but I was gifted a new community in The Spork Sisters.
          Spork Sisters is a brilliant, lovely, supportive and creative group of women (now a couple men) who are adding their light and energy to the world, one story at a time. And I thought, I would share my great new fortune with you.

          The first, of hopefully many to be interviewed is Melissa Stoller.

          Welcome Melissa, and thank you so much for offering up your time to answer some questions about your experience in the Publishing world of Children’s Lit.

L.N.C- First, I would love to know about the three things you are most passionate about-

M.S.- I am most passionate about several things: my family of course (my husband, three daughters, and one puppy!), writing, reading, travel, creativity, making connections between people, and sharing ideas with children who will read my work. I hope that my books will bring smiles to kids’ faces, introduce them to exciting people and places (some historical, some modern, some magical), and encourage them to explore the world.

L.N.C- Tell me about you?  Where do you write/illustrate? How long have you been writing/illustrating? What do you most love to write/illustrate?  What is a challenge?

M.S.- I live in New York City! I love the energy of the city – inspiration flows around me day and night. I also relish being close to Long Island, where I am from originally. The beaches are among the best in the world and I have imagined several story plots while taking long walks by the ocean.

L.N.C- Where are you in the process of publishing? Is this your first publication?  If not, what was the first experience like? If not with Spork, how was it different?

M.S.- I am thrilled that Clear Fork/Spork is publishing two of my stories: The first book in my chapter book series, THE ENCHANTED SNOW GLOBE COLLECTION: BOOK ONE – RETURN TO CONEY ISLAND, is releasing April 2017, and my debut picture book OLIVE’S MAGIC PAINTBRUSH is releasing Spring 2018.

L.N.C- Can you tell me about the most magical moment in the process you have experienced…?

M.S.- The most magical part of the experience so far was when Callie emailed me to say she enjoyed my chapter book premise and wanted to see more. Much later, when she told me she wanted to publish my chapter book series, I actually started to cry!

L.N.C- What has been the hardest moment/aspect? (Marketing, School Visits, Editing)

M.S.- I am in the midst of the marketing process now . . . it isn’t easy and I’m learning as I go along!

L.N.C- What are you most excited about? (Marketing, School Visits, Editing)

I’m really looking forward to school visits! I am hoping to go back to my old elementary school. . . I have class pictures and lots of great memories to share!

L.N.C- Tell me about your book- Characters, location, problem, escalation, resolution.

I pitched THE ENCHANTED SNOW GLOBE SERIES as a cross between THE MAGIC TREE HOUSE book series and the BACK TO THE FUTURE movies. In the first book, RETURN TO CONEY ISLAND, 9-year-old twins Emma and Simon visit their grandmother for a sleepover. When they shake one of her snow globes, they are immediately transported to 1928 Coney Island. There, they encounter their great-grandmother and their great-grandfather who are supposed to meet on the Coney Island trolley according to family legend. When events conspire against the meeting, the twins must do something to make it happen, otherwise they might never be born.

This story is very special to me, as it is based on the true story about the day when my grandparents, Jessie and Jack, met on the Coney Island trolley!

 L.N.C- How are you taking over the world? (Blog, website, twitter, Facebook, interviews, school visits)

M.S.- Ha! I do feel like I am trying to conquer social media. I have a new website and I’m starting a blog called “This Writing Life:  Stories . . . Creativity . . . Connection” ( I’ve been active on Facebook and Twitter (@MelissaStoller) for a while and I really love interacting with the kidlit community…the most generous community imaginable. This is actually my first blog interview . . . thanks for asking me to contribute!!

L.N.C- Did anything change for you since signing with Spork? As a writer?  As an individual?

M.S.- Since signing with Clear Fork/Spork, I have joined this amazing group of writers led by the incredible Callie Metler-Smith. I am so happy to work with a publisher who is professional, hard-working, creative, and incredibly smart too! And Callie is so supportive of her authors and illustrators.

 L.N.C- Does the support from the “Sisters” inform on your overall confidence to try something new?

M.S.- I’m so thankful for my SPORK SISTERS group! It’s the most lovely and welcoming group of smart and talented writers. I love how we learn from each other and share tips about what to do and what not to do. The support I feel from this group has definitely given me the confidence to take more risks with my writing and to push myself out of my comfort zone. Long live the SPORK SISTERS!

L.N.C- What does it mean to have something like “Spork Sisters” in your corner?  Do you feel like the “Sisters” will be a benefit to you while you are in the publishing world?  If so, how?

M.S.- Absolutely! I know that my bond with my SPORK SISTERS will last . . . as we move forward with our publishing projects we have each other’s backs. We are actively working to promote each other and to help with marketing efforts. We have a Facebook group and we communicate on a daily basis, sharing this writing journey. I’m hoping that one day soon we’ll have a joint book release party to celebrate all our successes in person!

            Thank you Melissa. I think this adventure is magic and that this bond of Spork Sisters is growing.  I feel so blessed having been introduced to you.  And I want to thank you so much for sharing your time, energy and thoughts with me and my readers.  So much good luck to Melissa Stoller on your future projects!

You can find more information about Melissa  here:


  1. Great interview, Laura and Melissa! I enjoyed reading it and finding out more about you and your process. I love the support that we all have and the experiences we share, growing stronger each day on our journey! LOVE the idea of a group launch party!! Let's do it! 😀

    1. Thanks, Rosie! Yes, I really hope we can do a group launch and I am so excited to read your THREE books coming out this year!!

  2. Thank you for sharing this Melissa. I am truly inspired! Good luck.

    1. Thanks so much, Shirin! I am so happy to read your comment...wishing you the best of luck!

  3. Melissa, your success is a joy!

    1. Thanks so much, Beth! I am beyond excited and thrilled! And yes, filled with joy and gratitude!

  4. Interesting interview. Thank you Melissa and Laura for sharing some of the magic behind the Spork Sisiters and Melissa's book.

    1. Thanks so much for reading the interview...I had so much fun thinking about these terrific questions that Laura put together.

  5. Excellent interview Melissa and Laura - thanks for sharing. I'm so happy to have you both as Spork Sisters and friends. Your book sounds amazing Melissa. I can't wait to read it. I also look forward to working together!

    1. Thanks so much, Alayne! And I'm so excited for your chapter book, Siena the Cowgirl Fairy...releasing so soon!