I must say, NEVERSINK is unlike many novels I've read. Wolverton has created a world in which arctic animals rule their own, literally from their government to their history and more and the characters are quirky and fun. For instance, there's a scholarly walrus who has an opinion on everything and Ruby, a hummingbird who's very critical. Life is just fine until owls threaten their way of life and it's up to Lockley to stop an owl invasion.
Young readers will love the animal adventure and fall in love with the characters. Not to mention get a good laugh. As part of the Neversink blog tour, I was fortunate enough to snag an interview with the creator of this unique middle-grade novel, Barry Wolverton.
A little about the author: Barry Wolverton is the first human ever granted access to the walrus library at Ocean’s End, where he conducted extensive research for NEVERSINK, his first book. In addition to Walrus he speaks Chicken, although actual chickens don’t appear to understand him. He lives with a moderately overweight cat named Charlie (who understands him but doesn’t listen) in Memphis, Tenn. Visit him at www.barrywolverton.com.
Tell us about your path to publication.
It was so long I wore through many pairs of shoes. After piddling with the story for a few years, I got serious about finishing a draft in 2005, and by the spring of 2006 was pleased enough with myself to shop for an agent. I was offered representation by Jen Rofe of Andrea Brown.
I rewrote the book for her first and she spent most of 2007 trying to sell it, without success. I spent 2008 rewriting the book using notes given to me by an editor who had really liked Neversink, just not enough to buy it. In early 2009 we re-submitted to that editor, who passed again, but Jen put together a new list of editors for the new and improved manuscript.
If memory serves, by the fall of 2009, all had passed except three. In one day Jen got three emails — two passes, and one incredibly enthusiastic response from Jordan Brown at Walden Pond Press. Of course, instead of simply buying the book, they made me, a completely unknown aspiring author, submit to a partial rewrite trial-by-fire, which completely ruined all my holidays between Columbus Day 2009 and Easter 2010, including President’s Day. But boy, was Easter great that year.
Every writer has probably heard the "don't use talking animals" advice from editors and publishers. What made you persist?
Blissful ignorance! I had no idea what I was getting into, until Jen signed me and promptly said, “The hardest thing about selling your book is that it has talking animals. And even worse, birds.” But by then it was too late to turn back.
What's a typical writing day like for you?
Sadly, a typical day is going to my full-time job and trying to squeeze in writing time on my lunch break or before work. I’m always too tired after work. I do most of my fiction writing on weekends at a coffee shop.
What was the inspiration for NEVERSINK?
My first job out of college was writing ad copy, just like Don Draper of Mad Men. Except I drank Diet Coke and didn’t smoke. I was asked to create a mascot for a new brand of marshmallows that was to be called Puffins. The project was aborted, but years later I was living in the DC area and visited the wonderful aquarium in Baltimore. They have an auk exhibit, and when I saw these amazing birds in person I remembered Lockley, the tea-drinking puffin I had created a decade before. And when I looked into it, I was amazed to find that despite having their own publishing imprint, puffins were virtually unrepresented in children’s lit.
A big thanks to Barry Wolverton for taking the time to share his story with us. I'm always amazed at how long it takes to see a story evolve from idea to publication, but Neversink was worth the wait!
Want to win a copy of NEVERSINK?
To enter giveaway, please leave a comment below.
Optional Extra Entries:
+1 Follow this blog
+1 Like my Author Page at Facebook
+1 Follow me on Twitter
+1 Have a confirmed email subscription to The Book Bugz and/ or Lori's Newsletter
(please let me know in the comments about your extra entries)
Giveaway closes at midnight on Wednesday, April 11th.
Be sure to visit the other stops on the Neversink Blog Tour...
Tuesday, 3/27 – Guest Post at Nerdy Book Club
Wednesday, 3/28 – Guest Post & Giveaway at Cari’s Book Blog
Thursday, 3/29 – Interview & Giveaway with Teach Mentor Texts
Friday, 3/30 – Review & Giveaway at Buried in Books
Saturday, 3/31 – Guest Post at Buried in Books
Saturday, 3/31 – Review & Giveaway at Icey Books
Sunday, 4/1 – Review & Giveaway at The Haunting of Orchid Forsythia
Monday, 4/2 – Review & Giveaway at The Write Path
Tuesday, 4/3 – Guest Post with The Other Side of the Story
Wednesday, 4/4 – Interview with There’s a Book
Thursday, 4/5 – Interview & Giveaway with National Children’s Book ExaminerFriday 4/6 – Author/Editor Interview at Another Gray Day