December 7, 2009

Slush Pile Warrior - Gayle C. Krause

In this latest edition of Slush Pile Warrior, I'm pleased to present Gayle C. Krause. Slush Pile Warrior is a recurring feature which focuses on the trials and tribulations of pursuing publication.
Gayle is the author of Rock Star Santa. I've read it and it is a very enjoyable Christmas book. It's like a modern day Night Before Christmas and I think it would make a great addition under the Xmas tree this year. Without further adeiu, here's Gayle.

Please tell us a little a little about yourself

A Scrantonian at birth, I grew up on the West Side of Scranton, Pennsylvania in a section called Tripps Park. I was a super energetic, creative young girl, always gathering the neighborhood children in organized activities of one kind or another, which involved singing, acting or creative play. This natural leadership and creative energy led to a career as a teacher at a Career and Technical Center in upstate New York, where I guided young men and women in finding the key to successful Early Childhood and Elementary teaching careers. I served as Team Leader for the Education Department, Director of the Pre-K Laboratory School, and an instructor in the Early Childhood Education department of a local college.

As a Master Educationalist I’ve taught children’s literature, creative writing, storytelling techniques, and acting. My years as a creative role model for teens and pre-school children has led me to my new career as a children’s author. My current picture book, ROCK STAR SANTA, is available during the holiday season from the See-Saw (Pre-K -1st grade) and Lucky (2nd-3rd grade)Scholastic Book Clubs.

How many submissions do you have out there now?

This changes every week. I currently have an environmental rhyming picture book out at several publishers. I’m working on perfecting my query and polishing my Tween/YA novel as I am hoping obtain an agent in the near future. So my focus these days to sub to agents, though I am also working on two science related picture books.

How do you research where to send your manuscripts?

Verla Kay’s Blue board, CWIM, Publisher’s Marketplace, and Children’s Writer.

What was your biggest submission goof? What did you learn from it?

I’d say when I first started to write seriously I submitted the second book of a trilogy for publication consideration, hoping it would stand on its own because I felt it was better written than the first book. (obviously, it was my second manuscript) This was my first mistake. Live and learn!

I received a two page kind rejection with encouragement to revise, but not as I expected. The editor’s quote: “You have a 5-6 book series disguised as a single story. When you have revised it you may send it back.”

Her comment both encouraged and overwhelmed me. To this day I have not tried to break the story into 5 books, but it still lingers in the back of my mind. Someday I will.

What I took from that first editor’s comments was that I have a gift for storytelling.

Why do you want to be a writer?

To incorporate my creativity into tangible words so children and young adults may find new concepts to learn in a pleasurable medium. And so children can enjoy reading and exploring new worlds as much as I do.

What is your favorite style of writing? Why?

That is a close call. I enjoy integrating history in fiction. I have written three YA historical novels and one is currently brewing in my head.

Besides the high fantasy novel I mentioned above, I also have written a 2-book MG parallel world fantasy, a science fiction novel, and I have two YA WIPs, both paranormal. (Don’t worry….no vampires or werewolves!)

But I enjoy rhyming. It sings in my head. All of my picture books are fantasy-oriented. Most are rhyme. When I get an idea for a picture book it most certainly always comes in rhyme.

What is the most frustrating thing about being a writer?

Seeing more and more publishing house closed to unagented submissions. And getting form rejections back two years after I sent the manuscript out. (I’m NOT kidding.) By then I have no idea what manuscript even was.

What is the most rewarding thing about being a writer?

Seeing the children’s faces as you read your story to them in school and library presentations. A close second would be the euphoric feeling you get from seeing your work published.

What is the most important thing you’ve learned about writing?

I’ve learned that when I’ve completed my manuscript and I’ve shared it with beta readers or critique groups I find I am NOT finished with it. I then put it away for a period of 3 to 5 months. (I work on something else at this time.)

When I return to it with fresh eyes I’m better able to revise for a tighter, more professional manuscript based on feedback given.

Have you been published? If so where?

Yes. I have various articles published in the SCBWI National Bulletin, Chicken Soup for the Kid’s Soul 2, Fandangle Magazine, Stories for Children Magazine and Anthology, Volume 1, Diversion Press Meanderings: A Collection of Poetic Verse Anthology, The Blue Review, Kidzwonder Magazine, Hopscotch for Girls, and Boy’s Quest.

My debut picture book, ROCK STAR SANTA, was released from Scholastic Book Clubs in December 2008 and will be available again for the Christmas season 2009. (See the Scholastic flyers the children bring home from school)

How can people find out more about you?

My website is
I have a blog.

Last month Realm Lovejoy interviewed by at She did a great drawing of me, too.

I was the guest author at the ICL Website discussing seasonal picture books last December 2008, and the interview is on the site.
I was featured in Authors on the Verge, Cynthia Liu’s website last year.

Is there anything else that you would like to share?

My affiliations in the world of children’s writing are varied. Besides being an SCBWI member, I am the founder of the Cliff House Writer’s Group, and I host an annual writer’s retreat every fall. I’m a member of The Poet’s Garage, the Wayne County Arts Alliance, a past member of the Historical Novel Society, a graduate of two Highlights Foundation Workshops, and I participated in two Rutgers University One-on-One Children’s Literature Conferences, where I met my editor at Scholastic.

My new endeavor, “First Peek Critique” Service, can be found at my website:, where I offer critique services for rhyming picture books. Further information may be obtained by emailing me at


Kristi Bernard said...

This is a great interview. Thank you for sharing.

Kimberly Michalski said...

Congrats and good luck with the new book. :)

Susie Sawyer said...

Great interview, Kevin! I'm so proud to have worked with both you and Gayle. I'm planning to put "Rock Star Santa" under the Christmas tree, along with "If I Could Be Anything." :)

Thank you, Gayle, for letting us get to know you better. Best of luck to you with future books!

Susie Sawyer

Kevin McNamee said...

Thank you for stopping by and thanks again to Gayle for the great interview.

Michael Sullivan said...

Thanks again for another Slush Pile Warrior, Kevin! Thanks, Gayle, for sharing your successes and lessons with us. Congratulations to both of you on the rockin' publications (present and future, of course).