I’m Erin Dealey, and I write books for kids. I’m a teacher, presenter, rhymer, blogger, and proud Drama Mama.

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TWO #kidlit authors + 6 Questions = Three Book Birthday celebrations…in a #pandemic!

March 9, 2021

We’ve doubled-the-fun this week with 6 Qs
for TWO #kidlit authors!

Meet Rosie J. Pova,

whose picture book, SUNDAY RAIN (Illus. Amariah Rauscher / Lantana Publishing) was released March 2nd!

A quiet, sweet story blending common themes of moving, imagination, and friendship.


Matt Forrest Esenwine is celebrating two Book Birthdays-

ELLIOT THE HEART SHAPED FROG (board book /Illus. Anna Kubaszewska / Rainstorm Publishing / Jan. 2021)

“Elliot is an adorable protagonist, and the perfect critter to reinforce colors and shapes with young readers as he searches for his perfect heart-shaped home.”

–author/ poet Michelle Schaub

ONCE UPON ANOTHER TIME (wonder and hush of the natural world / poetry / coauthor  CharlesGhigna/ Illus. Andrés F. Landazábal / Beaming Books / March 2nd)

in Children’s Exploration Fiction 

I paired these two because their books have things in common (see below) AND… both #kidlit authors celebrated a March 2nd Book Birthday!

Q 1. What are the challenges in launching a book (or two!) during a pandemic?

Matt Forrest Esenwine: There are quite a few – not the least of which is the fact that authors can’t visit any stores, schools, or libraries in person! True, we have plenty of online/virtual options, but students are so maxed out on screens these days due to remote-schooling (most are going over the recommended 2-hour limit for elementary-aged children), that it’s hard for adults to justify adding to their kids’ screen time. So that means an author has to work harder with online marketing – blog tours, social media, etc.

  • Any tips for those with Book Birthdays coming up?

Matt Forrest Esenwine: Be prepared! Know that it’s not going to be easy, and start planning your marketing efforts/promotions now, connecting with bloggers and reviewers, and knowing your virtual visits may very well be more limited than you think. (Working with a local bookstore to offer personally-signed copies is a great way to connect with people and offer something that consumers can’t get from Amazon or a box store.)

Q 2. Both of you have main characters named Elliott / Elliot. Since a tiny bit of each book is autobiographical, how is your Elliott / Elliot like you? How is he different?

Rosie J. Pova: My Elliott is spelled with two t’s so that’s the difference, but the way my character is like me is that he’s an introvert who loves to read, he daydreams and lives in fictional worlds with the characters he reads about. He’s also shy and has big imagination!

Interior art of SUNDAY RAIN (Illus. Amariah Rauscher / Lantana Publishing)

Matt Forrest Esenwine: Interesting question! I think Elliot and I are likely both Cancers. Although I’m not a big astrology kind of guy, I’m a poster boy for Cancers: very home-centered, domestic, sensitive, creative, loving. And I think Elliot, in his search for a new home, displays some of those qualities. However, if he was me, he probably would’ve brought at least half of what he’d found during his search over to his new home, ha!

Interior art–ELLIOT THE HEART SHAPED FROG (Illus. Anna Kubaszewska/Rainstorm Publishing)

Q 3. Both ONCE UPON ANOTHER TIME and SUNDAY RAIN invite readers to enjoy the wonders of the outside world. Were you an “outdoorsy” kid or an “indoors” kid?

Rosie J. Pova: When I was little, I played outside a lot, but I would still consider myself an indoors kid as that was my natural inclination. I am definitely an indoors adult, too!

Interior art–ONCE UPON ANOTHER TIME (coauthor  CharlesGhigna/ Illus. Andrés F. Landazábal / Beaming Books)

Matt Forrest Esenwine: Yes, very “outdoorsy!” I grew up in the woods – the road my childhood home is on is still dirt – so most of my playtime involved trees or animals. My folks were also big into hunting and fishing, so taking hikes and enjoying Nature were part of everyday life.

Q. 4 What surprises did the illustrator bring to the project?

Rosie J. Pova: One of the surprises was that my character had a pet in the art — a grey cat. The other was that he was carrying around a toy boat.

Interior art of SUNDAY RAIN (Illus. Amariah Rauscher / Lantana Publishing)

Q 5. What new projects are you working on now?

Rosie J. Pova: I have another book in the pipeline, The School of Failure: A Story about Success, that will release from Yeehoo Press in spring of 2022 and I’m eager to see the illustrations and cover for that one! My agent and I are also on submission with a few other manuscripts and I can’t wait for those to finds their wonderful homes.

Meanwhile, I keep busy teaching my online picture book writing classes, serve as a judge for Rate Your Story, and have my own picture book critique clients to help. In addition, I am deep in marketing and promotion mode so I’m actually quite busy which is a good distraction from refreshing my email a million times or waiting for updates from my agent…

Stay tuned!

Matt Forrest Esenwine: I feel fortunate that I sold a couple of manuscripts last year, so those are two projects that are at the forefront of my mind right now. One is a poetry project I can’t really talk about yet (it’s killing me to keep quiet!), and the other is an upcoming picture book due this fall, I AM TODAY, which is being published by my Don’t Ask a Dinosaur publisher, POW! Kids Books. I also have a poetry collaboration with David Harrison that we’re currently subbing, and a possible second collaboration with Charles Ghigna we’re talking about – so stayed tuned!

Q 6. How can readers support authors publishing in a pandemic?

Matt Forrest Esenwine: With our lives and economy in upheaval, it’s no surprise that spending has been down, and new book sales have taken a big hit…so if you can’t afford to buy an author’s book, leave a review of one of their books that you HAVE read!

Leave a review!

Amazon and Goodreads, in particular, are both popular places that potential buyers check out before purchasing, so even though you may not be able to buy a book from a favorite author, you can encourage others to buy from that author – and from an author’s point of view, that’s just as awesome!

Huge thanks and congrats to both Rosie and Matt for joining us today. 

To learn more about their work,

check out their websites:



And follow them on Twitter: 



Next up on the blog:
Julie Abery celebrates TWO “little” Book Birthdays!

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